Last Updated: 12 April 2021
In Greater Manchester West, we’re doing all we can to support local Districts and Groups during this time. Continue to check this page regularly for updates, as we will be continuously adding to it.
On behalf of the whole County Team we want to thank-you in advance for all your efforts in ensuring Scouting continues for the young people across our County.
Current Readiness Level
Readiness level: AMBER
This means: Section meetings can take place outdoors and indoors. No residential activities.
Maximum group size:
- Activities involving young people: no limit on group size but remain as only one section meeting independently of others. Indoor activities will be limited by the size of the location given social distancing remains.
- Scout Network programmed activities (non social): 15 people maximum.
- Adult activities (non-social) with no young people present: check local government guidance
Note: Where small sections may struggle to be viable to operate independently they may join with another section at this time.
Note: The number of adults present should be limited to those who are required to be present to support the activity. It’s important to remember that we’re still in the middle of the pandemic and we all have the duty to make sure we’re following the letter and spirit of the guidance.
Note: Activities (including those away from your usual meeting place) should be planned to minimise risk by limiting travel at all times. Check the guidance on planning activities in terrain zero. Trips should only take place where the outcomes can not be achieved locally and must be in a COVID safe manner.
Further updates including residential activities in the UK and larger group sizes are expected to be announced in the coming months. These dates will follow the governments roadmap – they’re subject to the vaccination programme continuing at the same rate and the rate of infections reducing across the Country.
Please continue to follow all COVID-19 restrictions while meeting with your group. If you’ve had an AMBER risk assessment approved by your District, this will still be valid – but we encourage you to review your risk assessment before meeting again.
If your AMBER risk assessment hasn’t been approved yet, we’d recommend you start the process, detailing risks for both indoor and outdoor activities. Don’t forget that before meeting face-to-face, all adults will have to have their mandatory safety and safeguarding up to date.
You can view full guidance on ‘Getting everyone back together safely’ by clicking here.
The County Office will be operating remotely. To contact us, please email email@example.com and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.
For more virtual and socially distanced programme ideas, please click here.
At Home Challenge Badges
We have created VIRTUAL AT HOME CHALLENGE BADGES for Beavers, Cubs and Scouts to support you in ensuring young people have the opportunity to work towards their Chief Scout Award. These badges are made up of requirements that can be completed at home from the existing challenge badges. These badges are optional, and the certificate are available to download below to congratulate young people on their achievements whilst working towards their Chief Scout Awards. Click here for more information about the badges.
Online Scout Manager (OSM)
Online Scout Manager (OSM) has developed a new badges at home section to enable young people to achieve badge requirements virtually, for more information click here. Our OSM Champion has also created a Quick Guide to OSM Badges at Home and a Parents Introduction to Badges at Home.
Scouting at Home Activities
The Scout Association have pulled together some inspiring indoor activity ideas to keep kids learning new skills and having fun now that schools are closing. Take a look at scouts.org.uk/the-great-indoors and feel free to share the activities with your team, friends and family. We’ll be posting activities to do in #TheGreatIndoors on social media over the coming days, weeks and months.
Share your Scouting at Home programme ideas with other leaders across the Country by sharing them with HQ. Click here to share your ideas
Duke of Edinburgh
The Duke of Edinburgh have released some activity ideas for young people who are not able to take part in the usual activities that form part of the award this summer. For more information about #DofEWithADifference – please click here.
The Great Indoors Challenge Badges
Finished your At Home Challenge Badge? Why not completed The Great Indoors Staged Badges designed by HQ. Click here for more information and to sign up.
Most importantly stay connected on Social Media where we will be sharing lots of Programme Ideas from The Scout Association and other organisations:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GMWScouts or by searching Greater Manchester West Scouts
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/GMWScouts or by searching @GMWScouts
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/GMWScouts or by searching GMWScouts
The Training Weekends scheduled for March, June and October 2020 have been cancelled.
Please remember you should not be taking part in any virtual or face-to-face meetings with young people until your SAFETY and SAFEGUARDING training is valid and updated on Compass.
Meanwhile, mandatory training modules can be complete online by visiting the links below:
(we recommend that all volunteers use the online course in the interim and then they should attend a face-to-face safeguarding course at the first available opportunity following the end of the suspension of scouting activities)
Once you have completed one of these mandatory training modules, send your certificate (print and scan over or simply screenshot) to your Training Advisor or Local Training Manager who will update your Compass training record.
Additional E-Learning that is also available can be completed using the link below:
AUTISM AWARENESS: https://members.scouts.org.uk/supportresources/4862
HQ have issued clear guidance about holding virtual meetings on different platforms. Please click here to view this guidance in full.
he Scout Association are providing one free Zoom Pro licence to each group/district/county to use for virtual meetings. For more information, click here. In addition, HQ have released a recording of their webinar about running virtual meetings on Zoom, click here to watch (Password: 8I%7de#9)
Our County Team, Executive Committee and District Commissioners will meet regularly throughout the suspension period to coordinate a plan to best support our volunteers across Greater Manchester West. We will be meeting using Microsoft Teams on Office 365 and Zoom. We recommend other than Zoom that you use Office 365 or G Suite for your Groups and Districts, which both have free plans for qualifying charities. More information can be found on the Microsoft and Google websites.
Nights Away at Home
Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers can take part in a sleepover or camping experience at home, under the supervision of their parents or guardians. This may be sleeping indoors in dens or out in the garden under canvas where possible. Some Sections could organise a ‘night away at home’ together on the same evening and find ways to connect by having virtual conversations and shared activities or challenges.
Nights Away rules in POR, including rules 9.55 to 9.63, don’t apply to ‘nights away at home,’ so long as the young person’s parent or guardian is present and the night away does take place at home. This means that there’s no need for: a completed Nights Away Notification (Form NAN) for your Night’s Away Permit Holder to oversee, for a qualified first aider to be on site or for parents or guardians to have a DBS check.
While a Form NAN isn’t required, parents or guardians may still want to let an appropriate local volunteer know about their ‘night away at home’, to help volunteers understand which young people have earned what badges when Scouts resumes.
Where necessary, volunteers can adapt badge and award requirements to suit the ability or circumstances of each person. Requirements can be replaced or removed entirely where the suspension of face-to-face scouting has stopped a young person from completing an award or where it isn’t possible to complete the award within an appropriate time period and where there are no other options for flexibility.
When running ‘nights away at home’, you should also consider:
- How many requirements you adapt. For instance, think about how many ‘at home’ nights away should be needed to progress through the Staged Nights Away activity badges
- The importance of the badge. You can be more relaxed about requirements for activity badges than for Top Awards
- The quality of the experience. Decide whether the person will take part in activities or learning experiences while on the ‘night away at home’
- Equality of access for young people. Make sure young people who don’t have access to an outdoor space or suitable equipment like a tent, can still participate in the ‘night away at home’
The Queen’s Scout Award, Explorer Belt, Scouts of the World Award and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award need some extra thought before adapting or changing any requirements. View our guidance on adapting these awards and make sure you get and you should get approval for these from the Deputy County Commissioner for Programme.
There are many ways to make sure ‘nights away at home’ form part of a quality programme:
- Bring everyone together and organise a specific ‘night away, at home’ event so your whole section or group can take part. If you plan to do this, make sure you let your Group Scout Leader or Explorer Scout Leader know.
- Provide shared activities and tasks for everyone to take part in at the same time. You can find plenty of ideas on our Programme Planning Tool.
- Connect young people digitally. Have a look at our safeguarding guidance for digital experiences and our advice on what platforms to use.
- Provide ways for young people and parents or guardians who aren’t currently with Scouts to join in and have fun.
During the suspension of face-to-face Scouting, the same procedures are in place for reporting any safeguarding concerns. Our County Safeguarding Team are available to provide you with an additional support you require, they can be contact by emailing, firstname.lastname@example.org.
UK Scouts have been working with our disclosure partners across the Nations (Access NI, Disclosure Scotland and the Disclosure and Barring Service) to restart disclosure checking from 6 July 2020.
View more information on this and the temporary guidance on how to process ID checks safely. All reminder emails from Compass related to disclosures must now be acted on.
The NCVO has published some useful guidance to help Executive Committees consider how they can best support Scouts locally during this time.
Any charity that needs an extension to their annual return deadline can contact the Charity Commission to ask for one. Please see their guidance here.
The Scout Association have approved an amendment to the standard constitutions in POR which allows meetings to be held remotely. It also allows decisions to be made electronically. This is valid immediately and will be updated in the next update to POR, in early April. The wording is as follows:
• Electronic voting (such as email) is allowed for decision making of the County/District/Group Executive Committee and its sub-Committees when deemed appropriate by the Chair. In such instances at least 75% of committee members must approve the decision.
• The County/District/Group Executive Committee & its sub-Committees can meet by telephone conference, video conference as well as face to face in order to discharge its responsibilities when agreed by the appropriate Chair.
County All Member Calls
Did you watch our call on Wednesday 15th July and want to submit a question or give us some feedback? Please click here
WEDNESDAY 15TH JULY 2020
HQ have announced that membership fees will need to be paid in full for 2020/21. Please click here to view the latest information from Greater Manchester West about membership fees and what we are doing as a County to support this announcement.
All of our County Campsites are closed until further notice. If you have an existing booking, please contact the relevant campsite team using the email addresses below:
Greater Manchester West is proud to have a diverse membership in its ranks. We ask that during this difficult time we all do our best to look out for one another and think about anyone who in our Scouting family who may be at risk.
The kind of things you might be able to do for an older or vulnerable Scouter potentially includes things like:
- offering to drop off some groceries
- picking up the phone for a natter about Scouty stuff
The UK Government has issued the following advice regarding protecting older people and vulnerable adults.
Infectious disease outbreaks, like the current Coronavirus (Covid 19), can be scary and can affect our mental health. While it is important to stay informed, there are also many things we can do to support and manage our wellbeing during such times.
Tips for Maintaining Good Mental Health
Feelings of distress and anxiety can be normal when we’re experiencing challenging life events. You may well feel anxious, sad, angry, and confused. And that’s ok. Realising this is normal is the first step in finding better ways to cope.
Accepting that there’s a level of uncertainty at the moment can help to reduce worries. The drive to always wanting certainty makes us worry more and gives us a false sense of control.
Having a good structure and routine to your day and your week can be really helpful. It fosters a sense of control and predictability as well as a feeling of achievement. Getting into a good routine of when we’re working, resting and sleeping helps our mind and body re-energise.
It’s sometimes nice to rest and feel there’s less pressure on our time but too much sedentary behaviour can have a detrimental effect on our wellbeing. Make a point of increasing physical activity even in small ways such as getting up and walking around the house or garden if possible or tackling the housework. Make regular exercise part of your good routine. Just don’t overdo it!
It’s important, though, to engage in daily activities you enjoy such as reading, baking, craft work, painting. Anything that reduces stress and increases feelings of wellbeing. Use these as a reward for some of the tasks you have set yourself and build into your daily routine.
What you eat and drink can affect your mental health and wellbeing. Drinking adequate amounts of water and eating a balanced diet rich in healthy nutrients is associated with feelings of wellbeing. Limiting alcohol and caffeine can help reduce stress and anxiety.
Staying connected with friends and family is really important for us as social animals. Many of us have made use of technology to keep in touch with work but it’s really important to have social time too. A feeling of connection with others can boost our wellbeing and happiness.
These days we have news and information 24 hours per day, anytime you need. However, for mental wellbeing it’s important to limit exposure to constant social media. Set limits to the amount of time you’re exposed to media coverage so you don’t become overwhelmed.
Sometimes we need to keep on top of the physical feelings of stress. One way to do this is to practise controlled breathing techniques which can reduce both the physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety and stress. Perhaps look at learning more about meditation and mindfulness and develop other skills that can help you cope.
Higher levels of self compassion and kindness are strongly related to fewer mental health difficulties. As well as being kind to ourselves, being kind to others can also have a positive mental health benefit. Undertaking acts of kindness can reduce feelings of stress and help us feel better about ourselves and the situation through the release of oxytocin, making us feel good as well as developing bonds with others, and serotonin which helps regulate mood.
There is some research to suggest that, rather like yawning, kindness is contagious! A simple act of kindness to one other person can trickle down to others as the recipient of your kindness is more likely to carry out further acts of kindness. Being kind to ourselves and others costs nothing yet can have a positive impact on our own wellbeing as well as the wellbeing of others. You may well already be carrying out acts of kindness and haven’t even noticed.
Can you take on a kindness challenge and do an act of kindness every day with nothing in return? Can you do a different act of kindness every day, perhaps pushing out of your comfort zone? Can you do some of them anonymously? Why don’t you find out how your acts of kindness make you feel after a week?
This global pandemic will impact us all in different ways. It’s important to remember that as Scouts we do our best to help others and ourselves.
Further Support and Useful Links
If you want some advice about spotting when someone is experiencing mental health issues, contact our team of mental health first aiders who can give you some pointers, contact them by emailing, email@example.com
The Scout Association have released further information around mental health and bereavement, please click the links below.
Please remember, if you have any concerns about young people, please follow the steps on the yellow card and escalate this to your GSL or District Commissioner immediately.
Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMHH) have set-up a helpline to support those who feel their mental health is beginning to suffer at this time and need some additional support. The helpline is 24/7 and can be accessed anytime, day or night. The contact number is 01204483071.
Downloadable Apps: There are also two apps which find local support for mental health, these are called Stay Alive and the Hub of Hope. These can be download from the Apple or Android app stores.
Mental Health Foundation (everyone)
Big White Wall (everyone)
MINDEd (young people)
MIND Manchester (everyone)
Childline (young people)
Papyrus (young people)
Where’s your head at? (young people)
Young Minds (young people)
Please remember, if you have any concerns about young people, please follow the steps on the yellow card and escalate this to your GSL or District Commissioner immediately.
Also please always consider the latest guidance from The Scout Association regarding staying safe online, click here to view this guidance.