Firstly, I want to wish you all a Happy Easter. I hope you have had the opportunity to take some time to relax, reflect and enjoy the sunshine despite the current challenging circumstances.
You will have all seen the recent communications from Tim Kidd, UK Chief Commissioner and Matt Hyde, Chief Executive for The Scouts regarding the financial position of the association, what that means for future of Scouting and for you and your Group.
The outcome of this discussion was that whilst it is fully appreciated that Scouts are not currently meeting face to face, you will understand that there are fixed costs and overheads that need to be paid on an ongoing basis. These include insurance, legal cover, employees and programme. It is for that reason that full membership fees will need to be paid for 2020/21.
The County trustees have met with District Commissioners, who in turn have held meetings locally to understand how we can all support one another during these completely unforeseen circumstances. We are well aware that some Districts and Groups are more financially secure than others and therefore, each group will be treated on an individual level, with all circumstances taken into consideration; this will be a conversation to take place between Group Scout Leader and District Commissioner.
As a County, we are committed to continuing to provide free modular training, subsidised events and international adventure. We also have fixed costs, which are paid for out of our annual levy. That said, in order to support groups in the year ahead, understanding the impact of the National decision on individual Groups, our Trustees have agreed to freeze the County levy, meaning there will be no increase for 2021. We are also extending the offer of Online Scout Manager to September, to encourage more groups to partake in Scouting from Home.
Looking ahead to 2021, we are already busy planning our programme and training events, as well as expanding our corporate partnership network. All of this is in preparation for when we can once again meet face to face, we will be ready to hit the ground running.
On behalf of the Executive Committee and Senior Leadership Team, thank you for everything you are doing to keep our young people engaged in Scouting. There is no manual for an event such as this one, we have had to improvise and be creative, which has proven to be a challenge but one which you have all risen to.
We will continue to update the Information Hub www.gmwscouts.org.uk/coronavirus with ideas for badges and activities, plus any additional information sent through from Headquarters.