To all our leaders and supporters across Birmingham,
Suspension of Face to Face Scout meetings and activities
As I’m sure you will be aware in light of the current Coronavirus situation, the Prime Minister issued a statement yesterday evening that everyone in the UK should now avoid any non-essential travel and contact with others.
The Scout Association has instructed us to immediately suspend all face to face Scout meetings, weekly activities, camps and events until further notice. This applies to all Young People and adults until further notice and includes all meetings, events, camps, both at normal meeting places and pre-arranged away from normal HQ events.
The health and well-being of all our members is of the upmost importance to us and we will continue to follow official guidance and put the safety of everyone involved in Scouting, both young people and adults, at the heart of our decision making. We do not currently know how long this suspension will last but we will contact you all as soon as we can reinstate face to face Scouting.
Please can you ensure that the communication to cancel our face to face meetings and activities is made in a timely fashion to all parents /carers of your Young People and to any adult volunteers who may not have seen this communication.
In order to help Leaders with their planning, the County Senior Leadership Team met yesterday evening and has taken a decision to postpone or cancel all County Events that were due to run between now and 30th April 2020, including all County training courses, sectional events and our County Awards evening. The County AGM on 18th May will also be postponed. Details of new dates will follow as further guidance is provided by the Government, Public Health England and Headquarters and we’re able to form a clearer view. Further information regarding those events that are being postponed can be found at the end of this email. Our District Commissioners will be following a consistent approach and will be able to confirm details of any events, activities or meetings that are impacted locally.
Tim Kidd’s email yesterday evening also advised that Headquarters have cancelled the St George’s Day event at Windsor, Scout Fundays and Gilwell 24.
Where we have District or County meetings planned that can be held using audio or video conference facilities, we will look to take advantage of the technology and enable the meetings to be held as planned.
I have asked our event leads for all of the events that are being either postponed or cancelled to contact participants over the next few days to advise them accordingly and, where events are being cancelled, to make arrangements to refund any monies that have been paid. We have agreed a consistent approach across the County and each of our Districts that where we have had to cancel events we will refund deposits that have been paid by Groups or individuals in full – however please do bear with us as it may take some time for us to gather all of the information and process payments.
Our working assumption regarding events due to take place later in the year is that they will be held as planned, however we’re also monitoring the situation closely and will take any decisions regarding these events in a timely manner so that we can (a) help leaders plan effectively, and (b) minimise any financial impacts that cancelling the events may bring.
How you can continue to support your young people while Scouting is suspended
Please do keep in contact with the parents of Young People while face to face Scouting is suspended, and where possible see if we can find ways of engaging with your members. We are already seeing some imaginative ideas for running virtual meetings or providing activities that our members can to at home. If you’ve got examples of ideas and resources for ‘remote’ Scout meetings please let us know and share information, photos etc. so that we can share them more widely via the County Facebook page.
For those Groups using OSM, we’re advised that they are are adding a new feature in the next week or so to help with virtual or remote Scouting – click here for more details.
Please remember that Birmingham County offers free Gold Level subscriptions to all sections within the County. If you have not yet taken advantage of this, please contact Jamal Syed and he will send you the discount code and instructions.
Staying in touch
As we all get used to a ‘new normal’ over the coming weeks, the biggest thing we can do is to communicate between each other and with our young people via their parents and carers. While this situation is going to be challenging for us all, it’s also an opportunity to show how Scouting can come to the fore and support our members and their families. Please ensure you keep everybody up to date so that when we’re all able to re-start Scouting activities, we’ve not lost contact with our Young People. (This is a good time to refresh your contact lists and ensure you have up to email addresses for all your parents and carers).
Over the next couple of days we will be arranging conference calls for GSLs and District Teams within each District to check in, discuss any issues and raise any questions that they have – so please let your GSL know if there’s anything you’d like to raise.
…and ‘Thank You’
Can I please say a big thank you in advance for all of your efforts during this challenging time and for being professional, creative and all round great at what you do!
County activities that have been either postponed or cancelled
|21 Mar – County Team Day||Cancelled|
|29 Mar – Faiths for Fun||Cancelled|
|29 Mar – County Awards Evening||Postponed|
|9 Mar – Getting On Training||Cancelled|
|04 Apr – First Aid Training||Cancelled|
|05 Apr – Programme Support Day||Postponed|
|07-09 Apr – SWAP Camp for Explorers||Postponed|
|14 Apr – Ongoing Safety Training||Cancelled|
|25 Apr – Getting Started Training||Cancelled|
|26 Apr – Poland Jamboree Parents Meeting||Postponed|
|30 Apr – County Executive Meeting||Will be held remotely|
|18 May – County AGM||Postponed|