Dear parents and carers

I hope you all had a great half term break despite the weather. It certainly went quickly for me! This new term brings with it different challenges to the last with a new lockdown on its way, albeit slightly different this time with schools still open which has created a little uncertainty around Scouting.

We’re due to hear from The Scouts nationally any time now, however I met with our team of volunteers over Zoom yesterday and we’ve made some decisions and put a plan in place, regardless of the outcome of the national direction.

In a nutshell, I am suspending face to face Scouting once again. I’ve done this to protect our members and do our bit to help keep each other safe. To avoid uncertainty and further disruption we have agreed that we will now not meet face to face again this year as even if the lockdown does end in early December, we’d only have a couple of weeks until Christmas if we were allowed to meet which wouldn’t make for a particularly good experience for our young people – especially as we’d likely still have to maintain small groups of members at a time and run an alternating week on week off programme once again. We therefore aim to be back together in January, circumstances permitting. This wasn’t an easy decision to come to, but after much discussion and debate, we feel it is the right course of action.

But it’s not all doom and gloom! We have planned a full programme of online activities in a slightly different format to last time so we hope everyone will be able to join in with us. We’re going to continue with the event invites via Online Scout Manager as the feedback has been very positive, so look out for the invite emails each week with the Zoom details for the meetings, including what you will need and times, which may differ from what you’re used to and will include ‘extra’ sessions for special occasions. If we get a move on, you should receive a package in the post from us which will have items and resources you will need for the meetings, clearly labelled and telling you what date to open them… no early peeking!! I hope to be able get this organised by next weekend and posted out this time next week for you. They’ll also be a much bigger emphasis on Group activities and themes that all sections are sharing, such as Remembrance. Keep an eye on emails, the website and of course the Facebook group.

We are very aware that nearly a third of the Group were due to change sections this week or next as the young people moved on in their Scouting journey. We’re really sorry that it won’t now work as we had planned, however, we think we have a good idea to help… kicking off with this Tuesday (tomorrow) we will be hosting a special Zoom meeting for Beavers and Cubs at 6pm to 6.30pm ish. This joint meeting will be hosted by the Beaver Leaders and the Cubs Leaders together, coming to you live from the hall with two challenges for you all to complete. You’ll need a few sheets of A4 plain paper and coloured pencils, pens or crayons. A tape measure will be handy too, but not essential. Parents will get an email invite and Zoom link later today or early Tuesday morning.

For the Cubs moving up to Scouts, the Scouts, the Scouts moving on to Explorers and the Explorers, the team are putting the finishing touches on the plan for you, look out for emails from Kate and Ben.

We hope that this joint approach to meetings will help everyone get to know the leaders in the sections they’re heading to, as well as bringing the sections that little bit closer to each other, making transition in the future even easier.

I know that none of us wanted this and we were all getting back in to the swing of face to face meetings once again with all the measures in place, but I hope you understand why we’ve done this. I’m 99% sure that nationally Scouting will go back to red and face to face won’t be allowed from Thursday anyway but the trustees and I have a duty of care to our volunteers and members and I’d hate to find out that we were the cause of anyone becoming ill when it is avoidable.

I’m certainly looking forward to the next six weeks or so with the range of different activities we’ve got in mind and hope you’ll all be able to join in and enjoy them with us.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do get in touch.

Best wishes

Craig

Group Scout Leader

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05/11/2020: Following the change in readiness level by The Scouts, we are now back at at RED. There will be no face to face meetings until January 2021 at the earliest. Please visit our Getting everyone back together safely page for more details.
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