Steps towards a Safe Return

This page brings together all of the support and communications the County Team has collated to support Sections and Groups in returning to face-to-face Scouting.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with us at questions@berkshirescouts.org.uk and we will put you in touch with the right person to help. You will also find the updates from Scout HQ at www.scouts.org.uk/coronavirus, with some of their resources also highlighted below.

We have created a short-term County Plan to target our activities in six key areas...
  1. Volunteers: To support methods to encourage and help all of our existing leaders return to full time Scouting once allowed and as they feel confident to do so, and also to support recruitment methods for new volunteers to fill any vacancies where this does not occur.
  2. Young People: To support methods to encourage and help all of our existing young people members to return to full time Scouting once allowed, and also to support recruitment methods to back fill gaps and increase the size of existing sections
  3. Programme: To support leaders with a wide range of imaginative and easy to deliver programme ideas through ‘lockdown’, socially distant Scouting, and then back to full Scouting phases
  4. Meeting Places: To support Groups and Sections considering how their meeting places (both inside and outside spaces) can be changed to be operational for ‘socially distant’ Scouting, with strict procedures for minimisation of contamination etc. in accordance with Scout Headquarters guidelines
  5. Compliance: To ensure that adult volunteers have their mandatory training up to date, that POR requirements for activity and nights away notifications are adhered to, and that Districts and Groups are adhering to the requirements of The Scouts Framework.
  6. Finance: To support Groups in maximising their potential income, as well as setting up funds within the County for genuine hardship and supporting Districts to do likewise.
Catch up on our "Steps Towards a Safe Return" email newsletters

Volunteers

Tips to value our existing volunteers

Many of our volunteers have put in great efforts over the last few difficult months, on top of everything else in their lives. It's a great time to make sure they know they are appreciated!

Many people will appreciate a quick personal email, phone call or text message to know that they're appreciated. As a manager, you know your team best and some ideas here may help you find some other ways to recognise them:

Here are a handful of specific ideas to help you make your thanks personalised:

The Scouts also run a formal system of Awards for Good Service for adult volunteers. These begin at a District level, so it would be best to speak to your District Commissioner in the first instance. Most awards are connected have a required length of the service, but the Commissioner's Commendation can be used more flexibly. If you need any help with Awards for Good Service, feel free to contact Mick Stocks, Chair of the County Awards Advisory Group.

Retaining and supporting existing volunteers
Recruiting and managing volunteers in Scouting

Becky Eytle, our Volunteering Development Officer, runs recruitment workshops to support local teams with approaching this area. We will be running these during the Autumn, but feel free to get in touch beforehand with any specific needs or questions.

New to online meetings? New or existing volunteers

There are many more specific ideas in the programme links above. Some general pointers might also help:

Induction for new volunteers

Induction for new volunteers can be organised virtually and forms an important part of their scouting journey – perhaps even more so when face to face meetings are not in action. Catch-ups can be organised over online channels and online resources used.

Your District Appointment Secretary will be able to help with how the appointment process works locally. If you're unsure who to speak to, approach your District Commissioner in the first instance.

Using local Facebook Groups to recruit volunteers

Using social media to get the word out there that you have specific vacancies for volunteers can work well. There are lots of local Facebook groups (e.g. community noticeboards, ‘gossip girl’ groups, ‘what’s happening in…’, etc.) – and a couple of well-pitched posts using simple posters from the Scout Brand Centre can help to drum up some interest.

Case study: Recruiting volunteers in Kennet District

In March, the District team wanted to try out this approach, so set about this by:

    1. Identify local Facebook Groups which are community noticeboards, gossip girl, "what's on", or other local interest groups. Be careful to identify only those groups relevant to the local area, and groups that are are open to posts offering volunteering opportunities. A simple way to do this is to search for an area (e.g. "Newbury") within Facebook, then click on the Groups tab and see what comes up. It's also worth trying this for specific local areas (e.g. "Greenham", "Wash Common", etc.)
    2. Get a short list of the top volunteer vacancies together for Groups/Units in the area, and phrase it in a short line like "Monday evening Beavers (6-8 year olds) in central Newbury" or "Wednesday evening Explorers (14-18 year olds) in Kintbury."
    3. Put the post together with an informal and approachable message, avoiding Scouting jargon - and keeping it framed positively. We used:"We're looking for fun people to get involved with some Scout Groups around Newbury. You don't need to have been involved before and we welcome people from all backgrounds. We'd love any help you can offer, and a couple of specific vacancies are..."
    4. Offer an easy and informal way to get in touch. Some people might be OK with emailing, but if they're seeing this on Facebook then the easiest way is for them to use Facebook Messenger to get in touch. Make sure whoever's posting this is happy to receive messages, that their privacy settings allow this from people they don't know, and that they will respond quickly. We used a sign-off phrase to encourage contact:
      "Drop me a message if you want to chat about how you could get involved."
    5. Add a good on-brand image or two to the post. At the moment more than 2 posts would appear cluttered, so 1 or 2 would work best. You're welcome to use local images if you have permission to do so, but take a look at the guidance for what makes a good image (p17).It might be easier to use images from the Scouts Brand Centre. To make things easier, we've added these to our own Dropbox folder which you're welcome to use.
    6. Post the messages at a time which is likely to get a good number of people seeing it - early/mid-evenings are often good times for these sorts of Facebook Groups. Some Groups hold posts for moderating so they might not appear straight away. You might want to think about posting to multiple Groups at different times so that there's a gradual trickle of the publicity rather than it all landing in someone's notifications all at once.

    A screen shot of how our post is below. Given that we posted this in early March, the timing wasn't great just before lockdown. Nevertheless it generated about 10 enquiries for volunteering roles, and 5-6 of these were arranging to meet up with a specific Scout Group just as face-to-face Scouting was suspended.

    If you've got any questions or feedback, please get in touch with Pete Jeffreys, Deputy County Commissioner.

  • Young People

    Do you know which young people are planning to return?

    It's a good idea to get in touch with each of your families to understand their thoughts about the return of face-to-face Scouting. Some families might be keen to start as soon as possible, others might need some reassurance about the plans in place, and some might prefer to stay away for health reasons. 

    You might find it helpful to have a few of these conversations...

    • How have you got on with joining in with our online sessions during lockdown?
    • How are you feeling about coming back to Beavers/Cubs/Scouts/Explorers?
    • We'll be meeting outside and in smaller groups to start with - let me tell you how this will work...
    • We might need to alternate face-to-face meetings with online sessions to help us get everyone back under the current restrictions.
    • A few things will be different to make sure we maintain social distancing - things like dropping off and picking up will need to be at a distance. For our meeting place, that means...
    • We'll have hand sanitiser with us, but of course your child is welcome to bring their own in their pocket too.
    • As we'll be meeting outside, we won't need to wear masks as we'll maintain social distancing, but if your child would be more comfortable wearing one then they're welcome to.
    • We've got some great activities lined up. For example in the first few weeks we'll be...

    Find some template letters from Scout HQ which might be helpful for sending out emails, or using phrases from.

    How can I boost the number of young people in my Section?

    You might find that the numbers returning give you some spaces. For example young people might have moved up, people might not be comfortable returning yet, or you already had a few spaces you wanted to fill.

    Here are a few ideas to help you out:

    • Bring a friend night (make sure extra people book with you in advance and you've got their details to comply with Track + Trace requirements)
    • Use social media to get the word out there that you have space. There are lots of local Facebook groups (e.g. community noticeboards, ‘gossip girl’ groups, ‘what’s happening in…’, etc.) – and a couple of well-pitched posts using simple posters from the Scout Brand Centre can help to drum up some interest.
    • Getting in touch with families in the waiting list for your Group, or getting in touch with nearby Groups if they’ve got people on waiting lists who you might be able to help out sooner
    • We're running a Recruitment Workshop on Thursday 22nd October at 8pm. This will be an online workshop and will cover recruiting adults as well as young people.

    Our Local Development Officer, Kim Williams can help you with filling spaces in your section. Get in touch for a chat or if you've got ideas you need a hand with.

    Recruiting young people through schools

    Kim Williams (Local Development Officer) has lots of experience of recruiting young people through schools as part of growth projects. Although this was before Covid restrictions, there are still opportunities where Kim can help you with this. For example:

    • Schools have always been happy to send out paper flyers to children, and over recent years more of them have preferred to send them out electronically in their newsletters or through parent communication systems.
    • Schools or PTA-type organisations may often have a Facebook Page or Group, through which we can do some targeted recruitment.
    • Depending on how the return of all schools goes in the new term, we might be able to run assembly-type activities for specific classes or year groups, either in person or virtually. This is an area on which we will be led by the school's risk assessment about what is possible.

    We find that it is best to be clear up front about which age groups we have spaces for, and this helps to target the right children in the school. There's no value in generating lots of enquiries to sit on waiting lists, but if we know that there are spaces for 8-9 year olds in Cubs then it helps us to approach years 4 and 5 in primary schools. This also helps to manage parents' expectations about demand in the area.

    Feel free to get in touch with Kim for a chat about how we could help.

    Retaining young people through smooth transitions between Sections

    Although face-to-face Scouting was paused from mid-March through to late-July, young people have continued to get older and for some this might mean that they are ready to move onto the next Section.

    Some Groups have continued to move young people on during lockdown, either by young people joining both online meetings or by marking the occasion by an online celebration of them moving up.

    Transition between Sections always needs to be done carefully to make sure that the young person and their family feel supported for them to stay in the new Section beyond the first few weeks. This often means planning for young people to move up in small groups with their peers, encouraging them to attend both Section meetings for some time, and working with parents to understand any additional needs. All of this is still possible in the different way we are now able to run face-to-face Scouting activities, but some extra thought or planning might need to happen to make it successful.

    Scout HQ published a great blog post in January 2020 which gives plenty of food for thought on transition generally, and specific examples and ideas for each move: Beavers to Cubs, Cubs to Scouts, Scouts to Explorers, and Explorers to Network and 18+ options.

    Not sure where to start? Have a think about...

    • Checking the dates of birth of the young people in your Section. There might have been a few more birthdays in the last few months than you realise!
    • Look at friendship groups and other peer groups which you know about in the Section. This might help you to plan the transition in phases such as every half term.
    • Have a chat with the Section leader of the next age group up and down: Beaver leaders talking to Cub leaders, and so on. This will help you to understand for example when the next Section will have spaces to make the movement as smooth as possible for everyone.
    • Plan your method of moving up. Many groups like to use ‘ceremonies’. These can still be achieved but remember to risk assess them if you are planning to do them face to face. For example, you should avoid moving young people between sections on the same night but you could create small activity groups that include a few members of each section and arrange a mini moving up ceremony within that activity group.
    • Consider what the change in section numbers means for your programme, e.g. does it now mean that you need to run parallel groups?  If you are running your section via multiple groups meeting in parallel, think about how to mix your linkers across the groups, remembering that the link will work better if existing close friendship groups are maintained.
    • Arrange to speak with the parents/carers of young people due to move up - both from your section, and to your section. Scout HQ has lots of information to help with this: Scouting for all, as well as reasonable adjustments, and a really helpful parent/carer conversation framework.
    • Use the opportunity to reward the young person moving on with the Moving On Award: Beavers to CubsCubs to ScoutsScouts to Explorers, and Explorers to Network.

    Programme

    Risk assessments (activities)

    As you start to plan your return to face to face Scouting, don’t forget you need to complete written risk assessments and get these approved by your line manager (GSL/DESC) and the Executive Committee, and then by your District’s nominated approvers (see the Framework for getting back together safely document).

    You will also need parents written consent before restarting any activities.

    Please be sure to also read the excellent resources that are available on the Scouts website before you start the process as these should be your primary reference documents.

    You might also find these FAQs on Risk Assessment helpful and there is a good 10 minute video that will walk you through how to complete one.

    There are three broad areas to consider:

    • Your meeting place, whether that be an outdoor area at your normal meeting place, or somewhere different like a park
    • How you will deal with the Covid specific risks to minimise the risks of disease transmission
    • Your activity. You should continue to risk assess each activity as you would do in ‘normal times’

    The following tips might help you in building your risk assessments:

    • Involve a wide range of people, as different people will see different hazards.
    • Make sure all stakeholders including young people, parents and leaders are all aware of how you intend to manage your risks
    • Your risk assessments must be documented in writing
    • Whilst sharing ideas is to be encouraged, remember that risk assessments must be specific to each activity in each location.
    • Keep things simple
    • Only propose control measures that are practical for you to implement. They must be realistic.
    • If you’re not sure what to do, or haven’t done risk assessments before, ask your GSL or other experienced leader for help.
    • Allow plenty of time to reflect on your assessments and keep them under regular review. If incidents do happen, take the opportunity to review the control measures that you have in place.

    It may be worth a Google search for certain activities as many National Governing Bodies (e.g British Canoe Union, British Mountaineering Council, Archery GB, etc.) have issued their own advice that you could incorporate into your RAs.

    Berkshire Scouts @home Challenge Award

    Details of our County @home Challenge can be found by clicking on the links below:

    For OSM users our county badge is in the OSM system.
    • Within Badges / Core, click on [+ Add Badge]
    • Scroll to Berkshire Scouts@Home Challenge, click on [+ Add Badge to My 'Core' Area]
    Beaver Programmes on a plate

    Here are some ready made programmes on a plate (on-line and outdoors) that you can download and use with your Beavers.  Each programme has elements that can count towards the County @home challenge

    More will be added soon.

    Don't forget to complete your written risk assessments!

    On-line  - Variety night

    Outdoors - Variety night

    Cub Programmes on a plate

    Here are some ready made programmes on a plate (on-line and outdoors) that you can download and use with your Cubs. Each programme has elements that can count towards the County @home challenge

    More will be added soon.

    Don't forget to complete your written risk assessments!

    Outdoor - Fires and cooking

    On-line - Ugandan adventures

    Scout Programmes on a plate

    Here are some ready made programmes on a plate (on-line and outdoors) that you can download and use with your Scouts. Each programme has elements that can count towards the County @home challenge

    More will be added soon.

    Outdoor - Bean Can Burners and Frisbee Golf

    Outdoors - Cane Pioneering

    Outdoor - Fires and bananas

    Outdoor - Trangia cooking

    Don't forget to complete your written risk assessments!

    Explorer Programmes on a plate

    Here are some ready made programmes on a plate (on-line and outdoors) that you can download and use with your Explorers.  Each programme has elements that can count towards the County @home challenge

    More will be added soon.

    Don't forget to complete your written risk assessments!

    Outdoor - Fires and cooking!

    Online - Three little words mapping and string art

    Programme support webinars

    We've recently held some on-line forums to help leaders consider their return to some face to face scouting. You can listen to the recordings by clicking on the links below:

    Beavers: video version and audio version

    Cubs: video version and audio version

    Scouts  (no recording available)

    Scouts: video version and audio version

    Where can I find more programme ideas?

    A good place to start is with the National HQ website which has a range of ideas for socially distanced scouting

    Social media is another good source of information in particular the 1st Virtual Scout Group Facebook page has lots of ideas.

    For a more local set of ideas, leaders should join the County Facebook forums for each section.

    Beaver Leaders in Berkshire

    Cub Leaders in Berkshire

    Scout Leaders in Berkshire

    Explorer Scout Leaders in Berkshire

    Berkshire County's @home Challenge, International Join In Award and Project Africa Global Awareness programme all have a good range of activities suitable for on-line or socially distanced programmes too.

    Guidance for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme

    We want to support young people to continue to work towards their DofE Awards (and other Top Awards).

    To help young people to complete their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE), the Scouts and the DofE have provided flexibility to programmed rules, to help young people to achieve their awards during the pandemic. HQ guidance outlines permitted activity at each readiness level, incorporating flexible programme changes. You can find out more by visiting:

    Berkshire County DofE contacts:

    • County DofE Adviser – Peter Christmas
    • County Administrator – Karen Thurlow
    • Assistant County Commissioner (Explorer Scouts) – Phill Wood
    • Deputy County Commissioner – Simon Pickett

    You can download the full guidance here DofE guidance

    If you have a DofE related enquiry, in the first instance email programme@berkshirescouts.org.uk

    A code for keeping safe

    Leaders might like to create a keeping safe code in conjunction with their young people. Attached is a template for a keeping safe code that you might like to use. The template is fully editable to suit your needs and can be adapted for different sections by using the logos on the second page of the template.

    Moving up arrangements

    Although face-to-face Scouting was paused from mid-March through to late-July, young people have continued to get older and for some this might mean that they are ready to move onto the next Section.

    Some Groups have continued to move young people on during lockdown, either by young people joining both online meetings or by marking the occasion by an online celebration of them moving up.

    Transition between Sections always needs to be done carefully to make sure that the young person and their family feel supported for them to stay in the new Section beyond the first few weeks. This often means planning for young people to move up in small groups with their peers, encouraging them to attend both Section meetings for some time, and working with parents to understand any additional needs. All of this is still possible in the different way we are now able to run face-to-face Scouting activities, but some extra thought or planning might need to happen to make it successful.

    Scout HQ published a great blog post in January 2020 which gives plenty of food for thought on transition generally, and specific examples and ideas for each move: Beavers to Cubs, Cubs to Scouts, Scouts to Explorers, and Explorers to Network and 18+ options.

    Not sure where to start? Have a think about...

    • Checking the dates of birth of the young people in your Section. There might have been a few more birthdays in the last few months than you realise!
    • Look at friendship groups and other peer groups which you know about in the Section. This might help you to plan the transition in phases such as every half term.
    • Have a chat with the Section leader of the next age group up and down: Beaver leaders talking to Cub leaders, and so on. This will help you to understand for example when the next Section will have spaces to make the movement as smooth as possible for everyone.
    • Plan your method of moving up. Many groups like to use ‘ceremonies’. These can still be achieved but remember to risk assess them if you are planning to do them face to face. For example, you should avoid moving young people between sections on the same night but you could create small activity groups that include a few members of each section and arrange a mini moving up ceremony within that activity group.
    • Consider what the change in section numbers means for your programme, e.g. does it now mean that you need to run parallel groups?  If you are running your section via multiple groups meeting in parallel, think about how to mix your linkers across the groups, remembering that the link will work better if existing close friendship groups are maintained.
    • Arrange to speak with the parents/carers of young people due to move up - both from your section, and to your section. Scout HQ has lots of information to help with this: Scouting for all, as well as reasonable adjustments, and a really helpful parent/carer conversation framework.
    • Use the opportunity to reward the young person moving on with the Moving On Award: Beavers to CubsCubs to ScoutsScouts to Explorers, and Explorers to Network.
    Dealing with first aid and incidents

    Accidents will happen and you should continue to ensure that you have suitable first aid cover in place for each of your activities as part of your normal risk assessment process.

    We are aware that a number of First Aid certificates will have expired during lockdown and in the absence of courses being available, Headquarters have confirmed that qualifications that expired during lockdown can be extended for up to 6 months from the point that we move to ‘green’ status.

    The County are currently working on plans to deliver some elements of first aid training on-line and we will update this guidance in due course.

    Specific guidance on dealing with first aid incidents can be found in the HQ guidance document, knowing what to do if something goes wrong. Leaders should additionally check their activity first aid kits to ensure that they are up to date and contain appropriate PPE and sanitiser. Where sections are operating a number of activity groups at the same time, a first aid kit should be available to each activity group.

    Leaders should also take care to ensure that their contact details for parents or carers are up to date and that their in touch arrangements include an assessment of what would happen in the event that a young person needed to be picked up from an activity.

    Meeting Places

    Reopening Scout meeting places

    Note: Reference to Scout ‘meeting places' includes internal (buildings) and external areas at Scout headquarters as well as areas used for activities away from the headquarters (eg: parks, outdoor facilities, etc).

    There are many different things to consider in managing a safe return to face to face Scouting. This link is a key starting point:
    The Scout Association (TSA) – Framework for getting back together safely [September 2020]

    General guidance, in addition to guidance for meeting places, can also be found at:
    TSA – Getting everyone back together safely
    Berkshire Scouts – Steps towards a Safe Return

    From TSA [3 September 2020]: “Indoor activities are now allowed, but outdoor activities are preferred and should be encouraged”.

    Particular care should be taken when using meeting places as part of the Amber stage of face to face Scouting – especially if the meeting places have not been used during the ‘lock down’ period.

    Note: additional cleaning and hygiene measures are required during this period:
    TSA – ‘Reopening Scout buildings

    This national guidance is of a general nature and should be treated as a guide. In the event of any conflict between any applicable legislation (including health and safety legislation, TSA, NYA, etc) and this guidance, the applicable legislation shall prevail:
    UK Government – Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities

    The following sections are provided as part of the Short Term County Plan to provide additional things to consider when preparing to use meeting places and for ongoing management.

    Risk assessments (meeting places)

    Note: Reference to Scout ‘meeting places' includes internal (buildings) and external areas at Scout headquarters as well as areas used for activities away from the headquarters (eg: parks, outdoor facilities,etc).

    Groups are encouraged to prepare and submit risk assessments (RAs) well ahead of using meeting places. This will allow time to revise submissions if required and not delay planned returns.

    Some key considerations for RAs:

    • Groups (managed via the GSL and Chair of trustees) must carry out a risk assessment for meeting places – especially buildings that have not been used during the lock down period.
    • The meeting places RA must be readily available to all section leaders so that the relevant parts are included in the Activity RA. Alternatively, section leaders can append the meeting places RA to the section Activity RA.
    • The meeting places RA does not have to be submitted for external approval (because the relevant risks will be in the submitted Activity RA) but should be approved by the Group trustees and recorded in Minutes. District owned meeting places (including campsites) will need to be approved by County.
    • Groups will find the following checklist helpful in forming or reviewing meeting places RAs:
      TSA – ‘Reopening Scout buildings’.
    • All Scout meeting places should already have risk assessments and checklists in place to help keep users safe. See example checklist:
      Berkshire Scouts – ‘Scout Group Trustee Checklist’ [document 3.03; November 2018].
    • Groups using rented/hired meeting places must request a meeting places RA from their ‘landlord’. They should work with the ‘landlord’ to agree a version that reflects the Scouting use and then present it in a similar way to that explained above for Group meeting places.

    See also:  Programme – ‘Risk assessments (activities)’.

    Keeping Scout meeting places clean and safe

    Note: Reference to Scout ‘meeting places' includes internal (buildings) and external areas at Scout headquarters as well as areas used for activities away from the headquarters (eg: parks, outdoor facilities, etc).

    Helpful guidance for the maintenance of Scout meeting places:
    TSA – Keeping our building safe and secure [v2; September 2020]
    TSA – Finding a safe place to meet [v3; September 2020]

    See also (14.0 Cleaning; page 20):
    NYA – Managing youth sector activities and spaces during Covid-19 [v1; 15 June 2020]

    Groups are reminded of the County checklist provided to support trustees:
    Berkshire Scouts – ‘Scout Group Trustee Checklist’ [document 3.03; November 2018].

    Some considerations for keeping Scout meeting places clean and safe:

    • Groups should consider, at this time in particular, their cleaning regime including kitchens, toilets and hand washing facilities, as well as protocols for use of drinking water, and use of equipment, etc. Note: the need for access to drinking water can be reduced by members bringing their personal water bottles to the meeting/activity.
    • Disposal of waste (paper towels from hand washing, etc) following an activity should also be considered, eg: sacks so waste can be taken away after each activity session.
      Public Health England – ‘Cleaning in non-healthcare settings’ [updated 15 July 2020];
    • All premises signage should be up-to-date and relevant to current circumstances, eg: consider having a cleaning rota posted on the toilet door (similar to that seen at motorway service stations, etc) to help keep track and show the cleaning regime.
    • Now that restricted indoor meetings can take place [TSA; 3 September 2020] it is important that indoor First aid kits and boxes are checked and stocked to meet the latest advice. See:
      TSA – Knowing what to do if something goes wrong (First Aid guidance; page 7) [v2; July 2020].
    Hiring Scout meeting places for third party use

    Note: Reference to Scout ‘meeting places' includes internal (buildings) and external areas at Scout headquarters as well as areas used for activities away from the headquarters (eg: parks, outdoor facilities, etc).

    Guidance on hiring Scout owned meeting places:
    TSA – What to do when our building is used by others [v2; September 2020]
    TSA – Working safely with the public [v2; July 2020]

    Campsites and activity areas

    Guidance for reopening campsites and activity areas:
    TSA – Getting Scouts back to the great outdoors [v3; September 2020]

    The following link is also referenced by The Scout Association:
    Outdoor Industries Association (OIA) – Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    Guidance for reopening camp sites to third parties:
    TSA – Helping other get back into the great outdoors [v3; September 2020]

    Transport (including minibuses)

    The following link is general advice regarding transport:
    TSA – Getting everyone there safely [v2; September 2020]

    Note: Minibuses, along with other transport, “are permitted if social distancing measures can be maintained but should be avoided where possible”. The County advises that minibus use should be avoided until much clearer advice is available, eg: seating arrangements, etc.

    Other useful guidance when managing indoor meeting places

    Note: Reference to Scout ‘meeting places' includes internal (buildings) and external areas at Scout headquarters as well as areas used for activities away from the headquarters (eg: parks, outdoor facilities, etc).

    • A cleaning regime should be put in place – keeping in mind that cleaning will be required between every section Meeting.
    • Declutter indoor accommodation as much as possible, eg: furniture and equipment around the main hall, and elsewhere, should be removed to limit the amount of surface area that could become contaminated – this also creates more floor space and reduces the amount of cleaning required.
    • Can ventilation be improved, eg: check all windows open easily and safely. Note: fire door regulations must remain in place.
    • Restrict access to stores to designated leaders to help maintain the cleaning of equipment before and after use.

    Finance

    Gift Aid

    On Thursday 25th June, we hosted a webinar to support Scout Groups in claiming Gift Aid. This was hosted by Pete Jeffreys (Deputy County Commissioner), and led by Tony Phillips (GSL, 73rd Reading) and Marc Brunel-Walker (GSL, 1st Crowthorne). Resources are all online, including slides, two detailed support guides, a recording of the webinar, and links to other support resources.

    Potential funding for local Scouting

    The COVID-19 pandemic has created a period of uncertainty for various organisations. There are now a number of alternative funding packages that youth organisations may now be eligible for. Each package aims to support these organisations throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. The criteria varies for each funding scheme, so we would recommend checking the details to see what your Group may be able to apply for. The packages Scout HQ have identified are available online.

    Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Grant

    The Government announced support for all venues with a rateable value, claimed through the local authority as part of the RHL Grant. This is relevant to Scout Groups and Districts which manage property or land.

    We know that everyone in Berkshire who was eligible and applied got the full £10,000 grant. This has resulted in an additional £660,000 of income to Scout Groups and Districts.

    There are no additional reporting requirements for this grant, and it is for the relevant Trustees to decide how best to use the grant. We strongly urge you to put a plan in place to ensure the money is used wisely rather than going unused in a bank account. Possible uses could include: supporting families in hardship, undertaking improvement works on property, outreach activities to engage your Group with local communities, providing financial support for volunteers to gain new skills for example in adventurous activities, or other areas which fit with priorities as a Group/District.

    How to get involved

    Register interest in volunteering or join our youth programme