Dear Suffolk Scouters,

After many months of Online Scouting and all the challenges that Suffolk Scouts have faced over the last year, it is great to finally start to return to face to face scouting. We are of course only part way on our journey towards getting back to normal scouting. Hopefully, we will have the opportunity to experience some nights under canvas later this Summer. If you haven’t yet started face to face meetings you can read more about the return to scouting here.

Return to face to face Scouting

Over two thirds of sections across the Country have an approved Covid risk assessment and your District will have informed you on what you need to do when re-starting.

1.     For those starting for the first time, you need to have submitted your Covid risk assessment through Smart Sheets for sign off by the District. Parents will need to give their explicit consent to the restart.

2.     For those re-starting having previously done face to face in autumn 2020, if your Covid risk assessment has been reviewed, and doesn’t require material changes, you should notify your District that you intend to return. Any parents who did not give explicit consent previously must do so.

3.     For those re-starting having previously done face to face in autumn 2020, if your Covid risk assessment has been reviewed and required modification this must be submitted via Smart Sheets for approval. Any parents who did not give explicit consent previously must do so.

If in doubt about returning to face to face please contact your District Commissioner or Deputy District Commissioner who will be happy to advise and support you.

With our return, please ensure that mandatory training is up to date in your Group and its Executive. Suffolk continues to lead the way and we are now 97% compliant across the County. If you are having problems completing your training please speak to your line manager. 

Programme Hub

The return to face to face Scouting is great news for young people and volunteers, who will be looking forward to enjoyable face-to-face activities. It is most important to acknowledge that the continued easing of restrictions in May and June will only take place if we are all running Scouting and other aspects of our lives safely, sensitively and in the spirit of the guidance. The Suffolk Leaders survey last Autumn fed back that a central place to access socially distanced programme ideas was needed. This has been built; it is called the Programme Hub and can be found via the East of England Scout website East Of England Scouts. What’s more, you can also add your programme ideas to the Hub. It takes a couple of minutes to add a programme idea, and sharing these will help others across the County. You’ll be hearing more about the Hub very soon!

Zoom and Teams Geeks needed

Our fantastic training team have been finding new ways to continue and restart training for leaders and volunteers. They are looking for hosts who can support online training by admitting candidates and hosting the online meetings. If you feel you could help, please contact Jenny Roe our County Training Manager,

Module 10a training (First Response)

As you will know the First Response training has been delivered over the last few months using an online format. More dates for this mandatory training are being added over the next few months and these will be sent to Local Training Managers, District Commissioners, and advertised on Facebook and the Website. Dates for completing 10b (The practical element) will be announced soon. You will need to complete 10a before undertaking 10b.

Recruiting Volunteer – Leaders, Helpers, Washer Uppers, Cooks, Tent Putter Uppers … …

The last year has been quite a challenge for Groups and many have lost helpers and leaders. Scouters and helpers in Suffolk are dedicated and imaginative volunteers, but recruiting a few more would help reduce the burden on the rest of us. The Eastern Region are preparing materials to help you with your recruitment. These materials will soon be available on our website. Headquarters have also prepared some kits to help with recruitment.

Recruitment ready – Kit 1 (Bear Grylls)  –  Let Bear help you recruit new volunteers. Attract future makers and dream builders with these great resources featuring our Chief Scout.

Recruitment ready – Kit 2 (Ambassadors)  –  Let our Scout Ambassadors help you recruit new volunteers.

Recruitment ready – Kit 3 (social media campaign)  –  Create a digital recruitment campaign in half an hour with these brilliant, ready to use resources.

Get recruitment ready – Kit 4 (Recruitment made easy)  –  Need an extra pair of hands? Personalise these resources to create a quick and simple campaign of your own.

Get recruitment ready – Kit 5 (The Four Week Challenge)  –  Hundreds of groups are using the four week challenge to recruit new volunteers. Try it today!  

All the the kits include instructions, videos and posters/leaflets that can be personalised. 

With many parents having experienced helping with Scouting over Zoom calls over the past 12 months, now is the opportune time to ask them to volunteer for your sections and executives. We are already hearing of positive results of groups successfully making those requests. 

Recording of shooting and tomahawk throwing qualifications and training on Compass

To enable greater oversight and support for running these activities in the County, we are asking that any adults who hold qualifications to lead shooting or have had training to run tomahawk throwing have the details recorded on their Compass profile in the Ongoing Learning section. Enter the name of the qualification/training and the date it was completed. Please record these details on Compass by 31st May this year.

Leigh Foster-Green ACC (Water Activities)

Renewal of Promise

And finally, like you I will be renewing my promise this weekend. As we make our promise it will be a time to reflect on the last twelve months, to appreciate what we have learned, how we have changed, been resilient and been supportive of each other. 2021 is a time to re-build, continue to adapt and change to build an even bigger and better Scout movement in Suffolk. I would like to personally thank you for being brilliant Scouters, giving up your time, in challenging times, to ensure that young people continue to be better citizens with skills for life that you have taught them.

Best wishes 

Mark Pearson

County Commissioner – Suffolk