Last reviewed: 7 April 2020 at 11.43am
The Government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage is frequently updated as things develop, so please check it regularly at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
The Government has said that everyone should:
‘Stay at home
- Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
- If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
- Wash your hands as soon as you get home
Do not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms’
Suspension of face-to-face activities
Given this guidance, 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.
We will continue to follow official guidance; the safety of everyone involved in Scouts, both young people and adults, is our number one priority. That is always at the heart of our decision making.
Headquarters’ support during the coronavirus crisis
Like many charities and organisations during this challenging time, a significant number of our staff are being furloughed. Our offices are also closed to keep people safe. However a reduced staff team is still supporting members and offering essential services from home. Thank you for your patience if it takes a little while longer to respond to your enquiries. Here’s an update on how this arrangement affects some of the key services we offer:
- Scout Information Centre: Operational, webchat and email only
- Scout Store: Operating, but online orders only
- Scout Adventures: Closed until further notice; customer services still available but with reduced capacity
- Conference Centres: Closed, but customer services still available with reduced capacity
- Gilwell Park Hotel: Closed, but customer services still available by email
- Scout Association Trust Corporation (SATC): Operating, but please expect delays due to physical access to deeds and documents being limited.
- Safeguarding: Operational, but with reduced capacity at this time
If you need to contact the Safeguarding team about an ongoing case please email firstname.lastname@example.org. To report a new case please call 020 8433 7164. For guidance on carrying out safeguarding processes in the current climate, take a look at these recommendations to adjust our usual practice.
Scouting at home
We’ve 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.
We’re also asking members to share their thoughts about how we can keep Scouts going at home – so get your thinking caps on and let us know your ideas!
Given the latest Government guidance, we are cancelling the following events:
- Day of Celebration at Windsor
- Beaver and Cub Fundays at Gilwell Park and Woodhouse Park
- Gilwell 24
We will be communicating to specific audiences about these event cancellations directly. We’d ask that you wait for this information to be sent out rather than contacting us immediately, due to the volume of enquiries we are currently receiving.
If you or your team are involved in organising any future Scout events, you will now need to review these plans and risk assessments given this new guidance. If they are set to take place in the next few months, you will now need to consider cancelling or postponing, depending on the timing of your event. If you have event insurance through Unity, they have provided an update here.
Jamborees and other large events
If applicable, we suggest you regularly check the websites of relevant large-scale events, for example, Jamborees and camps, for specific updates from the organisers.
European Jamboree postponed until 2021
The organisers of the European Jamboree 2020 in Poland have made the difficult decision to postpone this year’s event until 2-13 August 2021. You can find more details here, and if you have any questions please submit them to us, instead of emailing the event organisers.
Scout trips abroad
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised against all but essential travel worldwide which could require changes to your travel plans. Please ensure you read this advice if it is applicable.
In addition to the Government Coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website has the latest information, guidance and travel advice, along with details of any restrictions – which must be followed.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation may have implications for your travel insurance. Check with your insurers directly about the levels of cover. If you have taken insurance through Unity, they have provided an update here.
If your Group gets an income or rent from others using your building and you have property and equipment insurance through Unity you can read their blog for more information.
Rate relief for Scout Premises
There may be rate relief available for Scout premises, please contact your local authority for details.
Executive Committee matters
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.
We 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.
The Government also have some practical advice for questions from Executive Committees.
A message from UK Chief Commissioner, Tim Kidd
I think we all agree that it’s in challenging times like these, that our Scout values matter most. We are talking to the Government and other community organisations to see how Scouts can support our country during this crisis. We must make sure that we do this in the safest possible way, and don’t put anyone at further risk. We will update you more on this over the coming weeks.
As always, I want to say a big thank you for everything you do for Scouts. By checking and following the latest Government advice and by taking a calm and measured approach, we can continue to ensure that young people and adults stay safe.