Good Evening,

On behalf of the County Team and Executive Committee, I would like to wish all our inspirational volunteers across Greater Manchester West a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

This year has been a huge challenge as we faced another lockdown in the Spring with gradual return to face-to-face activities over the Summer months. We held our first (and hopefully last) Virtual Camp in March 2022 with a whole range of live streamed and self-led activities for young people to complete at home, working towards their activity badges and challenge awards.

The County Camping Skills Competition was our first in person activity in over 18 months and had record numbers of teams take part in the socially distanced adaptation of the event. Since then, most groups in the County have returned to normal section meetings.

This year we didn’t get to celebrate 105 years of Cub Scouts and 35 year of Beavers as planned with a joint camp, instead we will celebrate next year with a camp planned at Bispham Hall for both sections in July 2022. We also looked forward to welcoming many planned new sections to Greater Manchester West in Spring 2022, including a number of Squirrel Dreys.

Throughout the different readiness levels our People Team have worked together with District Commissioners and Local Training Managers to ensure our volunteers complete their mandatory training in preparation for the return to face-to-face activities. Many modules have been completed for safety, safeguarding and first aid.

We spent the Autumn months, over a couple of weekends selecting 4 leaders and 36 young people to be part of Unit 53 at the 25th World Scout Jamboree 2023 in South Korea. I’m really excited for the amazing opportunities ahead for the unit and other young people taking part in international activities across the County.

Our campsites have continued to develop and raise a considerable amount of funds through sponsorship, fundraising events and grants. All the money raised will be used to develop our campsites for our young people and volunteers to enjoy. We are hoping next year will be our busiest camping season yet as we encourage groups within our County to support our campsites and CAMP LOCAL. Something else to look forward to is Dunham Park Scout Camp celebrating 100 years of Scouting on the Stamford Estate with plenty of events planned throughout 2022.

We have achieved so much this year, though not all of it has been the outdoors and adventure we would have liked to have seen. I would like to take this opportunity to say a special ‘thank you’ to each and every volunteer for their massive contribution to Scouting locally and across the County.

I hope you have a safe and happy Christmas and may the New Year bring hope for a brighter 2022 as we look forward to the amazing opportunities for our young people and volunteers ahead.

Best wishes,

Andy Farrell
County Commissioner