Dear Suffolk Scouters,

Hope that you have been able to get out and enjoy the recent Winter Wonderland.  Vaccines seem to be rolling out well, and the awful levels of Covid 19 illness receding. Let’s hope, that together with a promised change in the weather to something more Spring like, Scouting can look forward to a return to face-to-face meetings in the near future.  In the meantime, Scouters from across the Eastern Region are busy working on a new programme hub. It will share programmes and activities that have proved successful and popular at Colonies, Packs, Troops and Units from across the East. You’ll be hearing more about this great resource very soon.

Census and hardship funding

Census deadlines are approaching fast, and the County deadline for submitting returns was Sunday 14th February. Submissions are needed earlier this year, as HQ need to process requests to the Recovery Fund. Please make your DC aware if you are in need of hardship funding to keep your Group/Unit running. A County Hardship Fund is available, and you can get more details from your DC about how this could help your Group/Unit.

Deputy County Commissioner – Programme

I am very pleased to announce that, following a successful time as Suffolk’s first County Youth Commissioner and latterly heading up the County’s Programme team with successful initiatives such as the #AdventureContinues Programme, Ollie Smith has now been appointed Deputy County Commissioner for Programme. Please join me in congratulating Ollie. Ollie is committed to improving the access to programme ideas, and will be focusing on ways to support district teams and leaders to run programmes that lead to top awards. You will be hearing more about a new digital programme hub very soon.

Adult Recruitment

The last twelve months have proven a tough time for all, and this creates change. We have seen some adult volunteers, after a period of reflection, decide that it was time to leave the movement. Equally we have seen many parents more actively involved in their children’s Scouting activities and a few have subsequently signed up. Where the County Growth team have worked with District and Region teams, we have seen great recruitment results, and these are being replicated across the rest of the Eastern Region. A team has now been put together from across the Eastern Region to instigate a region wide adult recruitment drive which aims to support you grow adult volunteers for your Group. More news will be coming shortly.

Mandatory Training

The District Commissioners and I are pleased to see that Suffolk has very few people who have not completed their mandatory training. For safety we have 95% compliance, and safeguarding 96% compliance. GDPR and executive training are also doing very well. We’d like to thank everyone for their hard work in ensuring such a good result, making us one of the most successful counties in the UK. However, we need to work with those who have still not completed the training, and support them in this.  If you haven’t completed your training and need assistance, please speak to your DC or line manager. We hope to reach 100% very soon.

Zoom Caution

In a recent scout Zoom meeting (not in Suffolk) an uninvited individual was let into a meeting inadvertently and proceeded to “Zoom Bomb” the meeting by intervening and verbally abusing participants. The meeting was closed, no major harm occurred.

It is easy to protect your meetings from uninvited guests by following some basic guidelines.

  • The host should use the most up-to-date version of Zoom.
  • Use a different password for each meeting using alphabetical and numerical characters.
  • Send the password separately to the room ID, preferably through a separate channel.
  • Change your meeting settings to allow only signed-in users to join.
  • Operate a waiting room this will allow the moderator to not admit anyone not recognised.
  • Do not allow screen sharing.
  • Lock the meeting.

You can read more about using Zoom safely for virtual meetings here. The Zoom blog offers additional advice about security.

National Volunteer Vacancy

Are you a First Aid Trainer with the enthusiasm to influence national training policy. A volunteer is needed to advise HQ on first aid training. You can read more and apply here. Closing date 7th March.

Best wishes

Mark Pearson

County Commissioner – Suffolk