January 2021 Newsletter from the DC Team

Date: 17th Jan 2021 Author: Heather Jones

Hello and Happy New Year from Ben and Heather ,

What a challenging year we’ve just experienced – and, sadly, we’re far from being out of the woods just yet. Nonetheless, there are reasons to be cheerful (as Ian Dury put it) and we can begin to imagine a post-vaccination future where we will get to provide our young people with the full ‘hands-on’ version of scouting we all love and value so much.

Here’s a quick summary of this month’s Newsletter

  • Presentation of Awards

  • Census

  • New Deputy District Commissioners

  • District Beaver Leaders – looking ahead

  • Explorer Belt

  • Walter Davies update

  • St George’s Day

  • Addressing training gaps, and Using Compass to check your own records

Presentation of Awards

It was great to be able to recognise and thank so many of our fantastic volunteers at our most recent District Awards evening, held via Zoom Webinar on Monday 4th January – and all certificates, medals and woodbeads were then despatched the following week. The list of all the recipients of Long Service Awards, Good Service awards and Wood Beads will be on the District website by Monday 18th along with the video.


The next census is nearly upon us and the relevant dates are detailed below.  This year will be a challenge for us all as we try and get a handle on what our actual numbers, with our young people and adult volunteers, are after 10 months of very little normal Scouting.  HQ has supplied different templates that we can pick and choose from depending on what our Scouting has been like; nothing at all, virtual only, or face-to-face when we could.  Visit https://www.scouts.org.uk/volunteers/running-things-locally/census/ for all the information.

Official instructions, with access passwords, have already been sent out by HQ – these should have reached every section leader by 15th January. (Please shout if you should have this information and you haven’t)  We need all Groups to have completed their figures in the census system by 6th February please. The District then has until 12th February to check these, add District-level info and submit our full Ealing and Hanwell return to County in time for their deadline for onward submission to National HQ.

There is a Census 2021 Support Q&A on 18th January 7:30pm-8:30pm https://www.scouts.org.uk/events/2021/census-2021-support-qa/

“ In what has been a tough year, we know there are challenges for Groups/Units when it comes to completing Census in 2021. In this session we’ll reveal the key pressure points and answer your questions to support you to report your youth members accurately and to help you complete the additional funding section in Census 2021.”

If you use OSM, you will have the option to automatically pass your Youth Membership data to the Census reporting system if you opt in to use it. You will then simply need to check your adult membership data and complete the other census questions. This year, the questions will include the ability to flag if you need support with membership fees.

(NB: There will also be a second census in October as we adjust to the new timetable for 2022.)

New Deputy District Commissioners.

We are delighted to announce that Mandy Combes and Nisha Patel have both agreed to join the DC Team as Deputy District Commissioners.  Mandy will be responsible for supporting and developing the 6-14 age group and Nisha will be responsible for strategy and development.  We will be looking for some of our existing cub leader team to take over from Nisha in her ADC (Cubs) role.  More on these changes to follow.

We still have a vacancy for a DDC for the 14-25 age group so please get in touch if this is of interest to you.  There are also vacancies within our Brigantia Explorer Scout Unit.

District Beaver leaders – looking ahead

At the recent meeting, on 11th January, attended by representatives from 8 of our 10 Groups, Beaver leaders across the District were delighted to hear that Tash (9th Ealing) has agreed to take over from Mandy as the main District Beaver Leader – helping to facilitate co-ordination across all the District’s Beaver sections. The Leaders agreed to pencil in an activity day (or possibly 2 days) for the Beavers at PACCAR in late June; this event will be booked in with PACCAR – but without us committing any great amount of time to detailed planning until it becomes clearer what the conditions and regulations are going to be like during the summer term. Meanwhile, the Leaders  are also looking into the possibility of arranging a District-wide virtual event for the Beavers (for example a ‘meet the exotic animals’ Zoom)

Explorer Belt Expedition – update from Rob Scoynes

There has been great interest in an Explorer Belt expedition within the District. After a second Zoom meeting (on 13th January), the decision has been taken to hold a summer 2022 expedition to Argentina. It is not too late to join the expedition as a participant.

The Explorer Belt is one of the top awards in Scouting and a lot of members’ favourite; it’s an international expedition where you get the chance to explore a different culture and take in all the country has to offer.  The expedition is open to those aged 18-25, so open to anyone who will be over 18 come the date of the expedition in summer 2022. Contact me on r.scoynes@ealingandhanwellscouts.org.uk  to find out more.

It is a ‘hands off’ expedition for leaders, but if there is anyone wishing to help out as a leader or volunteer in any capacity, please do email me at r.scoynes@ealingandhanwellscouts.org.uk

Walter Davies – latest news from Ben Douglas

On a fresh 12th December 7 district members came to Stoke Poges to continue work on the caving complex, first job on the list was to clear the water out of chambers so work could continue. Once this was completed the main task for the day was to reinforce 2 chambers with more concrete around the outside of the walls which had previously been dug out. We were also able to start putting roofs on the lower part of the chambers.

The next stage once we’re allowed to meet again will be to put the next pipe sections in so the brick layer can then complete the chambers. We’re looking good and progressing well my thanks to everyone that has helped out so far and they’ll be a couple more working days to complete the work

The aim is to complete the caving complex within this camping season coming, so please come and help so we can achieve this.

St George’s Day 2021

St George’s Day is approaching and we would like to put together a small organising committee who can start developing our plans for the day….whether virtual or in person (we are hopeful that some sort of outdoor face-to-face event will be permitted).  Please get in touch if you are interested – ideally we would like representatives from all four youth sections.

Using Compass, and checking your own records

Have you ever had a look to check if your own record on Compass is accurate and complete? (Compass) Is your role full or still provisional?  Are you in a long-standing Wood Badge role but not yet completed your Wood badge? Perhaps you’ve switched roles, or taken on a 2nd one (or more)?  Are you unsure about training/validations? Would you like some help or support on what to do next? The New Year is a great time to make a fresh start – so why not take the chance to access the guidance via the national website (Training), plus the GLMW webpage which gives lots of handy shortcuts here  You can also link up with the local support on offer from your GSL, Training Adviser,  Local Training Manager and District Team.  We certainly don’t want to lose any volunteers, but the required training is crucial – it isn’t an optional extra. Hence it’s not possible for us to allow a Leader to continue in a role if they aren’t making timely progress with the necessary training for that role. So please  check if you have any training gaps, and if you do, please take action to address this – including asking for help if unsure. It’ll be well worth it!

Yours in Scouting

Heather and Ben

DC Team, Ealing & Hanwell


Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls