Coronavirus – Information Hub

Last Updated: 23rd March 2020

On the Monday 16 March the Prime Minister said that everyone in the UK should avoid non-essential travel and contact with others.

Given this guidance, the UK Scout Association has said that all face-to-face Scout meetings, activities and events must be suspended from Tuesday, 17 March 2020. This suspension applies to young people and adults, and will be until further notice.

Before reading the information below, please ensure you’re up to date with the guidance available at scouts.org.uk/coronavirus and gov.uk/coronavirus.

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.

County Office

The County Office will be operating remotely. To contact us, please email county.office@nullgmwscouts.org.uk and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

Programme

The Scout Association have developed ‘The Great Indoors’ which features hundreds of different activities young people can do at home. Click here to take a look.

Share your Scouting at Home programme ideas with other leaders across the Country by sharing them with HQ. Click here to share your ideas.

The World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) have announced a special edition of Jamboree on the Internet, to take place April 3-5. Details can be found on their website.

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.

Events

Following the advice to suspend all face-to-face meetings, activities and events, it’s important to consider any events you may have scheduled locally, including St George’s Day. Events organised by Greater Manchester West Scouts are currently under review; as soon as decisions have been made, they will be listed here.

The World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) have announced a special edition of Jamboree on the Internet, to take place April 3-5. Details can be found on their website.

The following National events have been cancelled:
• Day of Celebration at Windsor
• Beaver and Cub Fundays at Gilwell Park and Woodhouse Park
• Gilwell 24

The following Greater Manchester West events have been cancelled or postponed:
• Scout Patrol Leaders Training Day
• Scout Lord Derby Competition
• Training Weekend (March 2020)
• Scout Lord Derby Competition
• Goodwood Weekender

The following events are under review, and an update will be provided soon:
• Training Weekend (June 2020)
• Scout and Explorer Cardboard Canoe Race
• Celebration of Excellence Day
• Beaver Go Wild – Blackpool Zoo Trip
• Scout and Explorer Camping and Backwoods Competition

Training

The Training Weekend scheduled for 27 to 29 March 2020 has been cancelled and participants will be given the option to transfer to a later training date.

Training scheduled for 5 to 7 June 2020 will be reviewed in due course.

Meanwhile, mandatory training modules can be complete online by visiting the links below:

SAFETY: https://members.scouts.org.uk/ongoingsafety

SAFEGUARDING: https://members.scouts.org.uk/safeguardingonline
(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)

GDPR: https://members.scouts.org.uk/supportresources/4800/gdpr-training?cat=55,888

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.

Governance

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.

Virtual Meetings

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 Office 365 – we recommend 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.

Zoom also offers a free service to host online meetings for upto 100 people, lasting no more than 40 minutes. It’s really easy set-up and an url is provided to share with other participants. Click here to visit their website.

Campsites

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:

• BISPHAM HALL SCOUT ESTATE  –  bookings@nullbisphamhall.org.uk
• DUNHAM PARK SCOUT CAMP  –  bookings@nulldunhampark.org.uk
• HOLLINWOOD SCOUT CAMP  –  bookings@nullhollinwoodcamp.org.uk

Protecting Vulnerable People and Volunteers

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.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults

Mental Health and Loneliness

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.

Looking after your mental health while you have to stay at home

The government is now advising us to avoid all but essential social contact. This will mean that more of us will be spending a lot of time at home and many of our regular social activities will no longer be available to us. It will help to try and see it as a different period of time in your life, and not necessarily a bad one, even if you didn’t choose it.

It will mean a different rhythm of life, a chance to be in touch with others in different ways than usual. Be in touch with other people regularly on social media, e-mail or on the phone, as they are still good ways of being close to the people who matter to you.

Create a new daily routine that prioritises looking after yourself. Remain productive. For Leaders this may mean tackling tasks and admin you’ve been unable to complete or taking this an opportunity to complete training or review your risk assessments so we can hit the ground running when normal services resume again. For young people it might be an opportunity to practice a skill you’ve learnt or Scouts or for an event when we start back again.

6 Steps to promoting Good Mental Health

1. Try to avoid speculation and look reputable sources for the latest information on Coronavirus (http://gov.uk)

2. Follow hygiene advice such as washing your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds with soap and hot water (sing ‘happy birthday’ to yourself twice to make sure you do this for 20 seconds). You should do this whenever you get home or into work, blow your nose, sneeze or cough, eat or handle food. If you can’t wash your hands straightaway, use hand sanitiser and then wash them at the next opportunity. You should also use tissues if you sneeze and make sure you dispose of them quickly; and stay at home if you are feeling unwell.Try to stay connected with your friends and family by telephone, email or social media. Staying in touch with your Scouting friends, especially anyone you would identify as vulnerable or may be more isolated than others. If you are sharing content, make sure information is from trusted sources and remember that your friends/followers may be worried too. Consider muting or unfollowing accounts or hashtags that cause you to feel anxious.

3. Get as much sunlight, fresh air and nature as you can. Spending time in green space or bring nature into your everyday life can benefit both mental and physical wellbeing. It can improve your mood, reduce feelings of stress or anger, and make you feel more relaxed. Social distancing doesn’t mean you have to be contained indoors and there’s plenty you do in the garden, local garden or nature that doesn’t require coming into contact with people. It’s also possible to get these effects from nature whilst staying indoors at home, if you are self isolating. You could try opening the windows to let in the fresh air, have flowers or potted plants in your home, arrange a comfortable place to sit by a windows, look at photos of your favourite places in nature or listen to natural sounds such as birdsong, the ocean or rainfall.

4. Keep active, eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water.

5. Try not to make assumptions. Don’t judge people and avoid jumping to conclusions about who is responsible for the spread of the disease. The Coronavirus can affect anyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity or sex.

6. Try to manage how you follow the outbreak in the media. There is extensive news coverage about the outbreak. If you find that the news is causing you huge stress, it’s important to find a balance. It’s best that you don’t avoid all news and that you keep informing and educating yourself, but limit your news intake if it is bothering you.

Mental Health Support

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, mental.health@nullgmwscouts.org.uk Please note when it comes to having 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.

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.