October 2020 Newsletter from the DC Team

Date: 5th Oct 2020 Author: Ben Pearson

Since our last Newsletter at the very beginning of September, we have had our District All Leaders’ Meeting and also our District AGM. We have also seen a significant number of sections and Groups resume at least some face-to-face scouting.  We’d love some news updates and photos from groups that are meeting both virtually and face-to-face.

So far, the Covid Approval Panel have processed and approved covid RAs covering a total of 20 sections across 8 of our groups plus the Explorer Unit.  We know how demanding the covid safety rules are, and we also appreciate how much work it has been for the leaders in these sections and groups to prepare the paperwork – and then safely attempt their first face-to-face sessions. We are delighted to hear about the great benefit to the young people, and their enjoyment of what can be offered face-to-face, even with all the extra social distancing and hygiene measures that must be in place.

We hope that those sections that have not yet managed to get back to face-to-face Scouting can transition to it as soon as possible; whether weekly, fortnightly or monthly, the benefits of face-to-face for the young people and adult team, are immeasurable. The role of Scouting at Home, Zoom, and other virtual methods also remain crucial – and we all know only too well that Amber could turn back to Red for all of us, should the situation require it.

In this month’s Newsletter – we’ve changed the order so National HQ items are at the end  (but please note several very important items on the current rules, some of which were previewed in last month’s DC News)

  • Our District

    • District All Leaders’ Meeting

    • DC Team Changes

    • District AGM – and introducing our New Executive Committee

    • Other District Hellos and Goodbyes

    • Submitting your Covid Risk Assessment (quick reminder)

    • Walter Davies Campsite – now available for day visits

    • District Vacancies

  • GLMW News

    • Appointment of Nisha

    • Latest GLMW Newsletter

  • National Scout HQ Updates

    • Covid RA Updates

    • Safety Updates: Written Risk Assessments & Activity Notifications

    • Training Updates

Our District

All Leaders’ District Meeting

Thank you to everyone who attended the All Leaders’ Meeting on Wednesday 9th September. We had over 60 members attend which is an amazing commitment from you all.  The videos and slides from the meeting and all the links are accessible here https://www.ealingandhanwellscouts.org.uk/news/article/all-leaders-meeting-wednesday-9th-september

DC Team – Ben Pearson

(Heather writes) Perhaps the most significant recent announcement, as we look ahead to what the coming year’s challenges are likely to be, was the news of Ben Pearson’s plan to make a break for the hills (of Hitchin) in April 2021 – NOOOOOOOOO! But seriously, as was clear from the many warmly appreciative comments during the AGM, Ben’s contribution to E&H Scouting has been hugely significant and positive, both over the whole of his time as a leader here and most recently (and indeed simultaneously with several other roles) as DC since early 2018 when a team-approach to the role of DC was newly forged. (More on the plans for what we will need to have in place by April 2021 in the Vacancies section below)

District AGM – 23rd September (Zoom Meeting)

We were pleased to welcome over 40 members to our first Virtual District AGM, and were also delighted to be joined by County Commissioner Richard Williams. The booklet of reports had been sent out in advance with additional oral contributions on the night by the Chair, Jonathan, the Treasurer, Louise, the DC Team – both Heather and Ben, our  President Anthony and the County Commissioner Richard. A copy of the AGM booklet in full is available via the District website https://www.ealingandhanwellscouts.org.uk/news

New District Executive Committee

We are delighted that the Chair, Secretary and Treasurer are all willing to serve another year (Jonathan and Louise, as mentioned above, plus Jackie as Secretary) – all three Officers were confirmed at the AGM. The elected members of the District Executive for the coming year are: Ali Hall, Mary Power and Rosanna Elliott, and the  DC Nominated members for the coming year are Anthony Philips (President) and Mary Harpley. In addition, at their first meeting, the Executive intends to co-opt Mary Rabey as a further member. The ex-officio members remain DYC Rob Scoynes, DESC/joint DC Ben P and joint DC Heather Jones.  We are very grateful to both new Marys for joining the team and bringing a new non-uniformed perspective to us.

Other District Hellos and Goodbyes

Laura Belmostefaoui is having to stand down as ADC Beavers due to new work and study commitments. We are hugely grateful to Laura for her terrific contribution as ADC Beavers over the last few years – working to create a strong and excellent team of District Leaders. We are currently exploring how we can fill this role moving forward – but if anyone is interested in applying please contact us on DC@ealingandhanwellscouts.org.uk.  As with other roles, job sharing options are always available.

Submitting Your Covid Risk Assessment

Please see previous Newsletter for links to the National guidance and helpful videos. A summary of the features of Revised Amber is also included below, in the National HQ section of this Newsletter

The District Approver Panel  continues to meet (via Zoom) on a Tuesday evening any time there are new Amber RAs to be considered.  If you are ready to apply to move to Amber, or want to meet at a new location not already covered under a previous submission, please confirm your draft with your Group checkers and then email a copy to our dedicated email address covidapproval@ealingandhanwellscouts.org.uk so we can precheck it. The Approval Panel will review the documents and feedback. When finalised, we will invite you to submit it via the HQ process for formal approval.  We will also confirm which named Approver to enter on the form.  (As and when the Readiness Level shifts to Yellow, we will of course consider and approve Amber to Yellow RAs in timely fashion)

Walter Davies Campsite – NOW AVAILABLE AS A LOCATION FOR SECTION MEETINGS (Free 1st visit per section!)

The Amber RA for our campsite was approved by GLMW, and the Explorers and 7th Hanwell have already enjoyed a first session there.

Sections are warmly encouraged to book a session at Walter Davies – perhaps to take advantage of better daylight by moving one week’s meeting to a Saturday or Sunday. There’s plenty of space for different batches simultaneously, as long as staggered arrival and departures are managed. The central toilet block will of course be available, but NOT the Lair.  Please note that the Zip Wire and Crate Stacking are not available for the time being.

You will need to read the Walter Davies RA, and also attach a copy of it to your own location specific Covid RA in order to bring your young people to the site for a session (the work done on an RA relating to other locations should mean very little extra work – simply apply the same principles and add the new location)

District Vacancies

The DC Report at the AGM identified some of the key vacancies on the District Team – in particular a Campsite Manager.   The Campsite Manager is a key role in moving the campsite forward

We are also now looking to plan for a new DC and DDC team from April 2021 onwards.

The new shape of things from April onwards will need to be tailored to those who are willing to step forward spontaneously (hello – this may be you, you know!) OR to answer the call.

It’s not a question of trying to find a new Ben P clone to work with Heather. (Indeed, it’s worth mentioning that Ben and Heather learnt from their own experience that a team of 3 has many advantages over a team of just 2). Also, while Heather is certainly hoping to be part of the new team for the remainder of her 5 year appointment as DC (and possibly thereafter in a different District role), the whole approach is likely to need to shift considerably. The likelihood is that we will be looking to build a strong team of DDCs (in addition to – or instead of – joint DCs) and to carve up specific areas of responsibility to make each role more manageable for a team of job-sharers – particularly if those involved are keen to want to retain at least part of an existing leader role (similar to what Ben and Heather did  over the last few years).

What happens next  Ben and Heather have made a start – having exploratory conversations with some of the individuals already known to us  – but we need further help in identifying who else we should be talking to, in order to build the team we’ve outlined above. You may like to find out more on your own behalf OR perhaps you can think of someone in your Group – uniformed or non-uniformed – who might be a good person for us to speak to? General calls to action like this often don’t have much of a response rate – but we have to get the word out. (and even if your first reaction is ‘no way’, please don’t close the door – you’d be surprised how differently you might feel about a new challenge once you’ve let it ‘sit’ for a while).

It bears repeating – there is no ‘District’ distinct from all of us, rooted in our Groups. It’s together that we ARE the District – and we know that we can do so much more when the District team is strong and able to support the groups fully.

GLMW News

GLMW Appointment – Congratulations to Nisha Patel, our ADC Cubs, who has recently agreed to take on an additional County role as part of the Media and Communications Team.

Latest GLMW Newsletter (October)

The latest GLMW News – just out –  is available here https://www.glmwscouts.org.uk/news/article/mx-news-october-edition

National Scout HQ

Covid RA Updates – Confirmation of ‘revised’ Amber (as announced on 3rd September)

Revised Amber has the following key features:

  • Indoor Activities are  allowed (although outdoors preferred and encouraged)

  • Group size: 15 young people and up to five adults (carers will not be counted in these numbers)

  • Young people must stay in their batch (no 2nd session with different batch on same day) but adults can move between batches at the same time, i.e. across the 25m spacing and/or attend  a section meeting at a different time on the same day

  • Adults who are delivering activities do not need to wear a face covering.

  • Scouts and Explorers (including Young Leaders) are required to  wear face coverings indoors

  • All young people need to maintain 2m social distance from each adult, and also from each other where possible (The phrase ‘where possible’ reflects an understanding that young ones will make mistakes – but we are still asked to plan all our activities and games with 2m social distancing built in)

Use of QR code Posters

Those who have Scout HQs will need to follow the guidance and print out/display a QR poster (at every entrance/exit). The display is compulsory at all scout premises. But encouraging the scanning of this poster (by all over 16s who enter the building) is IN ADDITION to the existing requirement to take a full register and have all contact information available if required for Test and Trace purposes.

Those who meet at a community or church hall (or the grounds adjacent to such a hall) should note and use the QR poster put up by the hall’s owner. The property owner may require its use, and that will be a matter for your group to agree with your landlord.

But aside from such landlord requirements, the use of the App and ‘reading’ the QR code is not compulsory as such (indeed, not all devices can read the code).  We do, however, recommend that as a minimum, at least one ‘Leader in charge’ should scan the poster’s code per session. (Re meetings held in the grounds immediately outside a building – the position seems to be ONLY to ‘scan’ if an adult enters – eg to get equipment, to escort young people to the toilets)

Safety – The changes, as discussed during our All Leaders’ Briefing on 9th September, are now ‘live’

  1. Written Risk Assessments (not part of the COVID 19 RA Approvals system!) – written RAs for everything we do must now be phased in- please get your new systems in place and GSLs please liaise with all section leaders. This will be required by 1st January 2021. We discussed it at the All Leaders’ Meeting so visit https://www.ealingandhanwellscouts.org.uk/news/article/all-leaders-meeting-wednesday-9th-september for links and more info.

  2. Activity Notifications – All adventurous activities or meetings away from the normal section HQ are reported to the DC. Please have a look at the notification form already available for use  via the District website, and please start to use this where applicable  https://www.ealingandhanwellscouts.org.uk/members/activity-notification (we will be assessing workability further as we go along – and there will be more on this to follow).

  1. Revised Online Safety module (see below under training).

Training Updates

  • Module 1 & Safety and Safeguarding (S&S) training modules are no longer credited on completion of Module 1 – Essential Information.  New adults in roles that require S&S will now have to complete Module 1 and the separate S&S training.

  • 3 years not 5 years The expiry of S&S training is now after 3 years, not 5. In some cases, leaders may notice that their S&S training will need to be renewed sooner than they had thought (expiry dates have been updated on Compass)

  • Executive Members’ Training Module 1 – Essential Information for Executive Committees has been replaced. Executive Members are now asked to do the same Module 1 as everyone else PLUS a small Executive  ‘top up’ mini-module (this same ‘top up’ will also be very useful for leaders who are ex officio trustees)

Next HQ Webinar/Briefing for All members. Don’t forget to join the next all member online meeting tomorrow – at 7pm on Tuesday 6 October. Visit https://www.scouts.org.uk/events/all-members-online-meeting/ for more information. (hopefully there will also be a recorded version afterwards for those who can’t log in ‘live’)

Yours in Scouting

Ben and Heather

DC Team, Ealing & Hanwell

dc@ealingandhanwellscouts.org.uk

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