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

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 21st July  (password required 1rhr^24V)

Cubs 16th July  (no password required)

Scouts  (no recording available)

Explorers 20th July (Password required w7.1$UM5)

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.

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, etc).

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 been unused during the ‘lock down’ period. Note: additional cleaning and hygiene measures are required during this period:
Scout HQ – ‘Reopening Scout buildings’ (difficult to find online!)

There are many different things to consider in planning for a safe return to face to face Scouting. This link is a key starting point:
Scout HQ – Framework for getting back together safely

A useful source for general guidance and support:
Scout HQ – Getting everyone back together safely

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, 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. During Amber status, particular attention must be given to facilities that might be used during outdoor activities, eg: toilets, kitchen, stores, etc;
  • 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 section Activity RAs.
  • The meeting places RA for Amber status 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. Note: 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:
    Scout HQ – ‘Reopening Scout buildings
  • All Scout meeting places should already have risk assessments and checklists in place to help keep users safe. See example checklist:
    Scout County – ‘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, etc).

Helpful guidance for the maintenance of Scout meeting places:
Scout HQ – Keeping our building safe and secure

See also (14.0 Cleaning; page 20):
NYA – Managing youth sector activities and spaces during Covid-19

Groups are reminded of the County checklist provided to support trustees:
Scout County – ‘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 these and for access to drinking water, and equipment, etc. Note: the need for access to drinking water can be reduced by members bringing their personal water bottles to the activity. Having external hand washing/sanitizer facilities may help in observing that hand cleaning is completed on entering and exiting the building;
  • 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’;
  • 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.
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, etc).

Guidance on hiring Scout owned meeting places:
Scout HQ – What to do when our building is used by others
Scout HQ – Working safely with the public

Campsites and activity areas

Guidance for reopening campsites and activity areas:
Scout HQ – Getting Scouts back to the great outdoors

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:
Scout HQ – Helping other get back into the great outdoors

Transport (including minibuses)

The following link is general advice regarding transport:
Scout HQ – Getting everyone there safely

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.

Thinking about moving to Yellow (planning ahead)

The current status for face to face Scouting is Amber and the relevant guidance must apply until The Scout Association changes the status. However, it makes sense to be prepared and be making plans for when indoor accommodation can be used.

Here are a few points to consider in advance of moving to Yellow status:

  • A full RA for indoor meeting places (all areas) will be required before buildings are used under Yellow status. The Group RA will need to be approved by District and any District owned meeting places (including campsites) will need to be approved by County.
  • A thorough cleaning of meeting places should take place ahead of using indoor accommodation.
    Public Health England – ‘Cleaning in non-healthcare settings’;
  • A cleaning regime routine 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.

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.

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