Dear parents & carers
Thank you so much to everyone that has given feedback on last week’s update, from completing the quick questionnaire to messages of support and understanding. Your help has been invaluable in our ongoing work to bring everyone back together safely. I am still working through emails, so if you’ve sent me a message and haven’t yet had a reply, please do bear with me, I haven’t forgotten about you and will get back to you. Also, the questionnaire is still open if you haven’t yet responded: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=3vS0pt9ehkm7YqND8ATIOU1T7fW_vRdEpbaTst5YIHpUOEhWVDMwQ05GUE03RVFPQThVR0NOUVNKUC4u
That’s actually what I need to talk about this week – communication. Getting us all back safely is as much about communicating as it is about controlling the virus itself, as without clear communication, explaining all our part in hygiene and the measures we need to put in place, there’s no chance we can prevent and control any spread. Last week I said that we were ready put a revised INTOUCH (The Scout’s name for how we communicate) system into place as soon as we’re back together. This week I want to explain a little more about it and another little task that I really need all parents to do to make it work.
We have a single phone number to contact any and all of our leaders. Mainly for use during programme events and activities, but can be used at other times if you really need to speak to one of our volunteers (please remember that they may be at work or otherwise busy themselves, so won’t necessarily answer immediately, but you can leave them a message). This number works while we’re out and about as well as at the hall or at home. When you ring it, you will get a menu and can choose who you want to speak to, or if you know who you want, ignore the message and dial the extension number directly. Each section has a specific extension number – 613 Beavers, 614 Cubs, 615 Scouts, 616 Explorers or 611 for me. Until we return to face to face to activities, this number will only come through to me. All the added features will go live the day we get back.
The text message system through Online Scout Manager is going to be really important to us once we return to face to face activities. This will allow our leaders to get in touch with you (or all of the section/bubble at a time) quickly and efficiently. It won’t cost you anything, however (and this is the bit where I need your help) your primary contact mobile number needs to be up-to-date in Parent Portal. Please log in and check it: https://www.onlinescoutmanager.co.uk/login.php
Facebook group – facebook.com/groups/11thfolkestone
The Facebook private group page is key to our communications as messages are posted there regularly. Please make sure you have signed up (please do answer the joining questions as it makes it so much easier to ensure you’re a genuine person!) or, if you’re not on Facebook, let me know so we can make sure you don’t miss out on important information.
Email remains the best communication method for non-urgent/critical messages or information. All leaders have an @11th.org.uk email address with their first name in front of the @, e.g. craig@, jacqui@, ian@, kate@, ben@ (that’s all the section leaders and me – trying to avoid spam by not putting the whole address together!). There is also the fantastic chat function on the website which we’ve been testing for the past month or so and seems very popular and effective.
Website – www.11thfolkestonescouts.org.uk
Our website will be essential during our return to face to face activities. There is a page – not live at the moment – that will have everything you need to know about the programmes, procedures, risk assessments, frequently asked questions, etc. for all sections and will be updated regularly as the central point of information. Before attending any face to face sessions, I ask that you check that webpage beforehand. We’ll be launching that page next week and will be the focus for our parent information Facebook Live event on Thursday 23rd July (7pm).
The parent information Facebook Live event on Thursday 23rd July at 7pm until 7.30pm is a chance for me to explain what we’re planning to put in place (our current plans at least!) and have a dialogue with members to make sure it works for everyone and we all feel as safe as possible. I’ll be asking for ideas, input and to know concerns you may have so the team and I can work on making this as successful as possible. Please do try to join us.
So, as a quick summary:
- Single phone number for all sections – goes live only when we return
- Text message system for urgent/important updates to all – please check your mobile number in Parent Portal (contact 1)
- Facebook group – have you signed up?
- Email/chat for less time critical and the bulk of information – is you email address right in Parent Portal?
- Website – will need to be checked before every meeting once we return
Finally, to assist you in planning, the earliest we’re aiming to return to some form of face to face Scouting for all sections is week beginning 10th September 2020. This may change, but it certainly won’t be any earlier. Hopefully that all makes sense and is useful information for you to know. As always, my thanks for your continued support.
Group Scout Leader