Last Updated: 20:30 Thursday 24 September 2020
Key Information for Volunteers and Parents
Before reading the information below, please ensure you’re up to date with the guidance available at
Bringing everyone back together safely – starting to prepare
As lockdown measures start to ease we are working with youth sector partners and the National Youth Agency government body to understand what a safe return to face to face Scouts may look like when the readiness level reduces from red in your area.
There is a framework and set of guidance on how elements of face to face Scouts could take place and the safety measures we would need to take into account.
Despite the recent change to social gathering restrictions in England (9 September 2020), the government has confirmed that as an essential service, youth sector activity can continue unchanged where groups and units follow Scouts restart guidance, which is in line with COVID secure NYA guidance standards.
Update 20/09/2020 – Local restrictions in Halton
As you may have heard, it has been announced that three additional restrictions are being introduced in Warrington & Halton from Tuesday. This is due to recent increases in the number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and implemented by the Government to further control the spread of the virus.
After careful consideration, Scouting in Cheshire (which includes Warrington & Halton) will for the time being remain at the Amber readiness level.
However, in Warrington & Halton to support the aim of of reducing the rate of infection, we strongly advise that:
- Section Leadership Teams consider whether they are comfortable to continue to run face to face activities within the boundaries of approved risk assessments.
- Parents/carers are consulted as to whether they are happy for their young people to take part in outdoor activities within the boundaries of approved risk assessments.
- Only outdoor activities are organised while these additional restrictions are in place or until leaders are advised otherwise. Indoor activities can still take place within the boundaries of approved risk assessments but only with the express permission of your local DC.
- Other than supporting the delivery of a Youth activity, adults must follow the rule of six; and in Warrington & Halton the local restrictions around mixing with people from outside your household. This includes adult volunteers involved in the completion of essential maintenance on Scout Headquarters.
In Mersey Weaver, we’re doing all we can to support local Groups during this time, by providing access to systems and resources from across the District Team. Continue to check this page regularly for updates, as we will be continuously adding to it.
We know staying at home can be hard. But fear not, some of our Explorers have been working on some activities you can do with some of the skills they’ve learnt… Tune in live on Tuesdays via
|Episode 1||Origami Tented Village|
|Episode 2||Chemical Reactions|
|Episode 3||Banoffee Pie|
|St Georges day||Promise house party|
|Episode 4||Mushroom Whittling|
|Episode 5||Googley Eyes|
|Episode 6||Make a Tent Peg|
|Episode 7||Mythical Beings|
|Episode 8||STEM with Sam – Davinci Bridge|
|Episode 9||Chinese Jianshi|
|Episode 10||Card Trick|
|Episode 11||Dear Future Me|
|Episode 12||Flint n Steel|
|Episode 13||STEM with Sam – Paperclip Helicopter|
|Episode 14||Lotus Flower in a Cup|
|Episode 15||Guitar Chords|
|Episode 16||Lashings & Shelters|
|Episode 17||Tea Bear Biscuits|
|Episode 18||Newtonian Fluids|
On the 17 March 2020, following the shutdown of all face to face scout activities, the Mersey Weaver Board of Trustees took the decision to close our three activity centres (Clogwyn, District Centre and Queen Charlotte’s Wood). This will be reviewed on a monthly basis.
For the latest information please consult bookings.mwscouts.org/coronavirus
The Appointments Panel, is a small group of people who meet with new volunteers to make sure they are suitable for their role. It’s a very friendly, informal chat, but they’ll ensure the new leader understands the responsibilities of the role as well as provide some pointers and guidance on what help is available.
During suspension of face to face scouting
To continue to welcome and support our adult volunteers in Scouting we have been running online versions of the Appointments Panel.
The appointments committee have been able to meet much more flexibly and frequently and invites have been sent on a fortnightly basis. Much of the backlog has been cleared and meetings will be run as they are required.
We have offered a mixture of daytime and evening sessions to cater for people no matter their current circumstances. We recognise a lot of families may be using their evenings to catch up with family who are self isolating or working difficult shifts.
The appointments panel chat will be with three members of the advisory committee and will take place using our Microsoft Teams video conferencing system. Each chat will last 20mins. Attendees will be sent invitations to participate in the online meeting directly.
To participate in the appointments panel attendees must have a working video camera and microphone on their phone or laptop. Please connect to the meeting a minute or so before the assigned time. When you first join you will enter a virtual “waiting room” and then brought into the meeting when the panel are ready.
Check-ins with ‘The Team’
This is a complex time for our entire Scouting family and teams across Mersey Weaver are continuing to closely monitor the situation.
The most important thing is for us to hear each other’s voices and to stay engaged with every team member during this unique situation.
We are all in this together and the District Team are here to support you.
The DC will be checking in with all GSLs and Managers on a regular basis throughout the suspension period and take any steps we can to help support you and your teams.
Dealing with a bereavement
Coronavirus is a global pandemic. Thousands of people, both young and old, have lost their lives, and millions have been affected. Now, more than ever, it’s important that we, as Scouts, rally around each other, show our Scout values and support one another.
Scout Association have put together the following guidance created to support you in the event of a bereavement in your group/unit.
Due to current measures that have been put in place as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, the UK Government are aware that organisations are having difficulty following the DBS ID checking guidance.
Processing disclosure applications and re-checks
On the 6 July 2020 the Scout Association restarted disclosure checking with the following temporary guidance in place.
There will be limited period of 90 days from that date for volunteers without a valid disclosure to obtain one. We will keep this period under review based on processing volumes both for the respective disclosure bodies, who anticipate a peak in demand immediately following the Coronavirus situation, and the Safeguarding team’s ability to process disclosures returned with information. Please note we will be increasing capacity in the Safeguarding team to meet the anticipated demand.
It goes without saying that keeping young people safe is our number one priority and volunteers whose disclosure has expired should make every effort to start the process to obtain a valid disclosure as speedily as possible to avoid suspension.
Support for you
If you have any questions relating to disclosures, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or by emailing the Scout Information Centre at email@example.com. We can then provide clarity and co-ordinate enquiries with the disclosure bodies if needed. Whilst we will aim to respond to questions as speedily as possible, please note that due to the planned furloughing of a number of staff it may take a little longer to get a response.
District Scout Store
The District Scout Store will continue to fulfil mail orders. We will also be operating a “Amazon Locker” style collection box for anyone wanting to collect badges, uniform or anything else available from the website. Please note some bespoke items may take longer to arrive.
Emergency Digital Funding
The District Executive Committee have made £1000 of emergency funding from its reserves available to support groups and volunteers in carrying out their roles digitally and cope with any uptick in system usage.
We understand groups may be concerned about loss of income from fundraising events which can no longer take place due to social distancing.
Are there things which you can do online?
1st Weston & Weston Point have come up with the ingenious idea of holding their annual bingo online, connecting everybody in the community together virtually.
The Technology ASU have supported 4th Frodsham and 1st Ince & Elton with e-commerce sites which they can sell things from as well as take orders rather deliver and collect order forms face to face.
Working safely with the public guidance on selling, hiring, fundraising, and running community events
As restrictions ease, the Scout Association have put together some guidance on how we might interact with the public safely
Getting back together safely liaisons
The role of the getting back together safely liaison is to support groups and your exes to gather the documentation / implement the steps needed to prepare for the reopening of their premises and section leaders restart their outdoor programmes.
The liaison in partnership with the rest of the approvals team, will approve and review any risk assessments for each environment and readiness level section leaders wish to operate in from the amber readiness level onwards.
|1st Helsby||Colin Chambers|
|4th Runcorn||Colin Chambers|
|10th Widnes||Colin Chambers|
|1st Ince & Elton||Colin Chambers|
|Young Leader Unit||Derek Hillbeck|
|1st Halton||Jeff Shaw|
|1st Norley||Jeff Shaw|
|8th Widnes||Jeff Shaw|
|1st Moore||Richard Tiplady|
|12th Widnes||Richard Tiplady|
|3rd Frodsham||Richard Tiplady|
|3rd & 9th Runcorn||Richard Tiplady|
|4th Widnes / 1st Halebank||Steve Lavery|
|1st Weston & Weston Point||Steve Lavery|
|4th Frodsham||Steve Lavery|
|14th Widnes||Steve Walker|
|1st Newton & Kingsley||Steve Walker|
|6th Runcorn||Steve Walker|
We are concious that the measures announced by the Government and Scout HQ may affect meetings with local Leadership Teams, Boards of Trustees and potentially Annual General Meetings (AGMs). The Scout Association have been actively working with the Charity Commission to seek clear guidance around conducting formal AGMs digitally; check back here for updates.
We’d recommend that Counties/Areas, Districts and Groups in England and Wales should follow the advice from the Charity Commission which is summarised below.
15/05/20 The Charity Commission have provided the following information in relation to holding an AGM during this crisis.
Coronavirus is having a major impact on charity events and the government’s health advice may lead to some charities having no choice but to decide to cancel or postpone their AGMs and other critical meetings. The charity as far as possible should be acting in accordance with the governing document. However, the Commission understands that the charity may not be able to fully comply with the governing document during this current crisis.
- If the trustees, decide it is necessary to hold the AGM by electronic means, they should record this decision to demonstrate good governance of your charity.
- The trustees must assess the risk in postponing the AGM or holding a meeting by another means. They should communicate the decision with the members where practical to do so e.g. via telephone or post or email.
- As a regulator of charities, the Charity Commission will not be taking regulatory action, if the charity has demonstrated the reason for holding a meeting outside of the governing document or postponing the AGM during a pandemic is in the best interest of the charity.
- If decisions are made by a meeting held which are not in accordance with the governing document, the Charity Commission advises the trustees clearly record the decision.
- The Trustees may also wish to think about whether there are any wider or longer impacts of their decision that may need to be considered (independent of the regulator) for any actions during this time.
Please remember it is the responsibility of the individual Charity Trustees to decide what is the best course of action to take for their Charity.
We’ve also produced a page to give you a few hints and tips for running successful meetings online.
The Government also have some practical advice for questions from Executive Committees.
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has also published some useful guidance to help Executive Committees consider how they can best support members locally during this time. These both cover issues such as AGMs, remote meetings and other matters. You can read this guidance here.
Annual Report submission
Wherever possible, the Charity Commission asks all Charities to try to get their annual reports submitted on time. However, where the situation impacts on the completion of annual returns and accounts, charities with an imminent filing date may request a filing extension by emailing them at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Delaying the AGM does not stop the submission of the Annual report, which is separate from the accounts and approved by the Trustees and only adopted at the annual general meeting.
Any charity that needs an extension to their annual return deadline should contact the Charity Commission to ask for one. Please see their guidance here.
For exec and leadership meetings we encourage the use of Microsoft Teams and Office 365 platform to ensure compliance with GDPR and because of the document storage.
Group/Unit Readiness Level
|Red|| Digital programme delivery|
No face-to-face activity or meetings
No residential activities
|Amber|| Digital programme delivery|
Small group sessions can take place outdoors
Small group sessions can take place indoors
Camping can take place outdoors
No indoor residential activities
|Yellow|| Digital programme delivery|
Small group sessions can take place indoors and outdoors
No residential activities
|Green|| All activities can resume in line with government guidance|
|1st Ince & Elton|
|1st Newton & Kingsley|
|1st Weston & Weston Point|
|3rd & 9th Runcorn|
|1st Halebank (4th Widnes)|
With some companies shutting down or reducing hours, we recognise this is likely to have an impact on the affordability of Scouting for some families in Mersey Weaver. If this applies to you, please talk to your Group’s Exec about what they may be able to do to help. All requests for help will be dealt with in an confidential and sensitive manner.
As a District, Mersey Weaver do have a Hardship Fund that can be tapped into if individuals or Groups need additional support beyond what the Group can offer itself.
Please get in touch if you need or know of a young person needing support to continue their Scouting.
Mental Health & Loneliness
So many people want to help others during the coronavirus crisis, including young people. We wanted to know what our young people thought was the most important thing for them to take action on, so we did the easiest thing – we asked them.
At the top of their list was ‘peer support’. They told us that young people’s mental wellbeing is going to be disproportionately affected by the current coronavirus crisis, and yet it’s not being widely talked about.
That’s why, we’re asking young people to share Three for 3. Write (or draw) three things you’re doing to look after your mental wellbeing during this challenging time and share these ideas with three other people.
Once you’ve shared your three things, the people you’ve shared with should share their own three things with you and three others, keeping the conversation about wellbeing going. You can do this with your family, friends, or if you’re over 13 and have social media, by tagging people on social media using #Threefor3.
By taking action you’ll be helping other people find out new ways to support their wellbeing.
Remember, only share things you feel comfortable sharing, and remember – when something’s on the internet, it’s ‘out there’ for anyone to see and very difficult to delete permanently.
Mental Health First Aiders
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.
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.
Talking about Coronavirus
Mind, the mental health charity, has some great info for young people who are worried about coronavirus and want to know how to cope with changes to their lives.
General Mental Health Info
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.
Try to avoid speculation and look up reputable sources on the outbreak
Rumour and speculation can fuel anxiety. Having access to good quality information about the virus can help you feel more in control.
You can get up-to-date information and advice on the virus here:
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
At times of stress, we work better in company and with support. Try and keep in touch with your friends, and family, by telephone, email or social media. Stay in touch with your Scouting friends especially any one vulnerable or may be more isolated than most. It would be fantastic for older sections such as Scouts, Explorers and Network to organise catchups via video conference and talk about what you’ve been up to.
Stay in touch with friends on social media but try not to sensationalise things. If you are sharing content, use this from trusted sources, and remember that your friends might be worried too.
Also remember to regularly assess your social media activity. Tune in with yourself and ask if they need to be adjusted. Are there particular accounts or people that are increasing your worry or anxiety? Consider muting or unfollowing accounts or hashtags that cause you to feel anxious.
Get as much sunlight, fresh air and nature as you can
Spending time in green space or bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your 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 can do in the garden, local park or nature that doesn’t require you coming into contact with people.
It’s possible to still get these positive effects from nature while staying indoors at home if you are self isolating. You could try the following:
- Spend time with the windows open to let in fresh air.
- Have flowers or potted plants in your home.
- Arrange a comfortable space to sit, for example by a window where you can look out over a view of trees or the sky, or watch birds and other animals.
- Look at photos of your favourite places in nature. Use them as the background on your mobile phone or computer screen, or print and put them up on your walls.
- Listen to natural sounds, like recordings or apps that play birdsong, ocean waves or rainfall. Get as much natural light as you can. Spend time in your garden if you have one, or open your front or back door and sit on the doorstep.
It’s important to:
- keep active
- eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water
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.
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.
Microsoft Teams / Office365
In Mersey Weaver, we require all volunteers to use a Scouting email address issued by our Technology ASU. Not only does this allow you to maintain a Scout/Life balance and but it also allows us demonstrate to parents that we take all reasonable steps to protect personal identifying information and comply with GDPR. It is important that you have access to this account so you don’t miss any important communication.
Office 365 provides anywhere access to professional email, calendar, HD video conferencing, and more. Designed to help charities do more good, this fantastic suite of tools provides volunteers with access to Office Online and Microsoft’s best-in-class cloud-based productivity and collaboration software. This is provided to all all all leaders and exec members for free!
- Outlook – email, address book and calendar
- OneDrive – 1TB of cloud storage to securely store scout documents
- Sharepoint – group document storage
- Teams – Instant Messaging, Calls, Video Conferencing and integration with Sharepoint, Planner, Forms and more..
- Planner – Kanban (think trello style) project management software
- Forms – securely collect data, surveys, forms
- Yammer – a private social network just for leaders
- Power Automate – automate processes and data without code
- Sway – produce interactive newsletters and presentations
Login to your Scout Office365 Account
All volunteers in Mersey Weaver have an Office365 account. To login use the link below. If you need assistance setting you account up contact our Technology ASU for support.
If you are not sure if you have access, you will either need to reset the password or if you’ve never had access, get in touch with the Technology ASU. Ideally your line manager should have requested an account for you prior to attending an appointments committee. If not you can ask a them or a colleague to request a new account for you.
New to Scouting and don’t have an account?
Your line manager or another leader in the district can request an account for you provided they have access to your profile in Compass. The process is automated, so once your account is approved you will receive setup instructions and a text message with a temporary password.
Microsoft Teams is a unified communication platform that combines chat, video meetings, file storage and application integration. The service integrates with our Office 365 system and also features extensions that can integrate with non-Microsoft products. Microsoft Teams is comparable to services such as Slack, WhatsApp and Zoom and is the evolution from Skype for Business. Teams allows communities, groups, or teams to join online voice or video meetings through a link or invitation. Presenters are also able to host live broadcasts. Every leader and exec member has access to this software for Free.
Every Group, Group Exec and Section in the District has been setup with their very own ‘Team” which can be used to host video conferences as well as instant message about Scouting in the private and secure way.
We have setup channels for cross collaboration across Mersey Weaver for people in the same role so you can share tips, best practice and ask each other for advice or support. There are also some social spaces for leaders to chat with one another. E.g. on the “District All Leaders” Team there is a channel called the “District Café”.
Setting up Teams
Download the App
First you’ll need to download the teams app on your PC, Mac, Android or iOS device. Make sure you login using your district or group email account. Not got access? Then email the Technology ASU for support.
You will then need to login in with your Scout issued Office 365 account. If you don’t have access to it you will either need to reset the password or if you’ve never had access get in touch with the Technology ASU.
Once you are logged in, you will be able to see any upcoming meetings you have been invited to, send direct messages to other leaders in your group (or the rest of the district) and have conversations in Channels that have been setup for you that are relevant to your role.
Help & Support
If you need assistance or help don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Technology ASU who are happy to support you in getting up and running.
We’ve also collated some videos that will help introduce Microsoft Teams
Throughout our history, Scouts have helped other people and supported their communities in times of crisis. We’re proud to say we stepped up and played our part when it counted most.
However, this is a crisis like no other. Our priority is to keep young people and volunteers safe. This remains especially true when faced with the threat of Coronavirus (Covid-19). But the good news is that you don’t have to leave your house to be a hero…
How you can play your part
- Promote #TheGreatIndoors. By sharing the 150+ Great Indoors activities you’ll be supporting families at home, helping young people stay focused and keep learning skills. Please share these with your contacts, especially on social media, reminding them that the activities are for all young people and not just Scouts.
- Deliver Scouts at home. By offering activities and opportunities to meet digitally you are helping provide continuity and stability to our members, supporting their wellbeing and helping them continue to take part in the programme. We know it’s also a great help to hard-pressed parents, carers and families too. Take a look at our guidance about delivering Scouts at home.
- Take part in Care for care homes. Show you ‘care for care homes’ and be a part of the 10,000 acts of kindness we want to show care homes over the next few weeks!
- Become a Wellness Champion. The Coronavirus pandemic has hit young people hard. Some have missed out on end of term celebrations or exams and others have been separated from their loved ones. It’s been really tough. Despite this, Scouts have said that they want to take practical, hands on action to create a better tomorrow for everyone. They told us that mental health is more important than ever, but that stigma still gets in the way of talking about it.
- Prepare for a return to face to face Scouting. Now could be a good time to catch up on your training (for example, the online ongoing learning modules for Safety and Safeguarding), admin and catch-ups before it’s safe to return to face to face meetings and activities.
How young people from your sections, and their families might choose to play their part
- Take part in the Scout programme. Either by trying some of The Great Indoors activities or by taking part in any digital activities offered by your group as part of Scouts at home.
- Share three for three. We’re asking young people to share three things they’re doing to look after their mental wellbeing that other young people will find useful.
- Help lift the spirits of vulnerable people in care homes by taking part in care for care homes
- Tear down the taboo around mental health and help boost people’s wellbeing become wellness champions!
What else can we do to help?
Scouting is embedded into our local communities and there may be opportunities where we can make a real impact. Now is the time to step up and support our local communities. Here are some thoughts;
- There are already some fantastic activities centred around “Kindness in the Community” as part of the AMillionHands resources which you can explore with young people remotely right away.
- If know people who are potentially isolated make contact with them on a regular basis, maybe just pick up a phone have a regular conversation
Preparing for return to face to face scouting – leaders
Preparing for return to face to face scouting – Managers & Execs
The teams at World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) and UK Scout Headquarters have created online Programme to support Scouts at home. Check scouts.org.uk and scout.org regularly for the latest updates.
Have you seen the new programme planning tool? There are already loads of activities complete with resources you can complete from home!
All sections in Mersey Weaver have access to Online Scout Manager free of charge. In the next two weeks OSM have announced a new badge from home feature. We will email all leaders as soon as this is available.
Over the coming days we will be posting links to various other resources.
“The Great Indoors”
We know the coming days and weeks are going to be difficult for families across the UK, as the spread of Covid-19 causes schools to close. As the experts in developing skills and bringing adventure to young people, we want to do what we can to help.
While we normally love the great outdoors, we’ve pulled together some inspired indoor activity ideas (if we do say so ourselves). Keep your kids learning new skills and having fun (and avoid hearing ‘I’m bored’ every 30 seconds) all in #TheGreatIndoors.
Scouts at Home
The Scouts have put together a website with useful information about Scouting from home including information on staying safe online and some ideas of activities or badges you can do to get you started.
Online Scout Manager
All sections in Mersey Weaver have been provided with free access to Online Scout Manager which includes a parent portal to make it easy for leaders and parents alike to manage young people’s personal information, sign up for events and track badge progress. OSM have recently announced two new features to support Scouting at Home:
Badges at home
This allows leaders to set badges for young people to complete in their own time. Parents can upload photos or video evidence and comments making it easy for leaders to award badges. Young people can also pick badges they want to do themselves.
Programmes at home
This allows leaders to setup programme meetings in OSM as they normally would but enable a feature for delivering content and resources required for that meeting directly to parents and young people. During the course of the meeting young people can upload photos and videos as well as securely chat with other young people in their section.
Protecting vulnerable people and volunteers
Mersey Weaver 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 and checking on how they are doing
As restrictions ease and we start to return to face to face Scouting is important that we don’t leave any vulnerable young people and adults behind.
The Scout Association and UK Government has issued the following advice regarding protecting older people and vulnerable adults.
Staying safe online
Besides being a great source for funny cat videos, the Internet has the power to bring people closer together. For Scouts, we know it can be a great source for tools and information to make the world a better place. In this exceptional times there is a real opportunity to harness digital tools to stay connected and socialise in a positive and healthy way even if you are self isolating.
However, the Internet can also be a source of serious issues, like cyberbullying, harassment, identity theft and abuse. This can happen when chatting and posting on social media, gaming platforms and even Scouting channels – just as bad things sometimes happen in real life.
Online behaviour that is unacceptable includes: stealing private information, sending, posting or sharing false content about someone else, continuing to contact someone who asked not to be contacted, sending inappropriate remarks or photos to a young person or asking them to do so, and sending threats or hate speech.
We want Scouts like you to feel safe online so that you can continue to use the Internet to create a better world. Make sure you are always prepared by reading these tips to stay safe online:
Golden Rules of Internet Safety:
Treat others with kindness, the way you would want to be treated. Respect differences in feelings and opinions. If you witness bullying online, you should let a trusted adult know.Be kind
Don’t share your – or anyone else’s – personal information online. This includes addresses, phone numbers, passwords and pictures you wouldn’t want the public to see. Before sharing anything about another person, ask them if they are ok with it. Check your sources and make sure any news or facts you share are true.Be mindful about what you share
People you’ve only met online are still strangers – even if you’ve been talking for a long time. Sometimes, a person might lie about who they are, which can be dangerous. Check with your parents or carers for permission to meet someone you’ve met online, and only meet them with them present.Don’t meet in-person with people you meet online
Check the “Privacy Settings” on your social media channels and make them private so that your personal information is only shared with those you choose to have as friends. Even then, never post personal information on the Internet.Keep your personal information private
Here’s a way you can help make the Internet a safer place for everyone! If a post online makes you feel uncomfortable, take the responsibility to click “Report”. This includes posts that are inappropriate or harmful to yourself or others.Report harmful posts or content
If you receive messages or see posts that make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, tell a trusted adult, like a family member or Scout leader, about the message you received or the post you saw.Tell a trusted adult
Safety Online Booklets
The Scout Association have some fantastic booklets available specific for each section about staying safe online:
The Yellow Card – Young People First
There must be at least two adults present at all times during any online activity. Ideally both adults should be Scout volunteers, but you can use a parent rota to support as you might normally do. Young people must never be left in a one-to-one situation with an adult. This protects us all and also ensures that young people understand that even in these difficult times, the Scouts take safeguarding seriously.
What online systems are appropriate for Scouting online?
All systems put in place by Mersey Weaver are fully GDPR compliant and have safe guards in place to protect both our young people and volunteers.
Here are some of the tools available to volunteers in Mersey Weaver:
- Enterprise license of Office365 which includes:
- Scouting email with group domain name so recipients can be confident emails are from someone involved with local scouting.
- Access to Microsoft Teams for online video conferences, webinars and instant messaging.
- 1TB Onedrive and Sharepoint for secure storage and sharing of files and resources.
- Microsoft Forms for secure collection of data but also quizzes and surveys.
- Yammer for creating a secure and private social network.
For further advice on what is safe and practical to use please contact our Technology ASU.
What platforms are suitable for young people?
There are many different platforms you can use to communicate with young people and families online. They’re all slightly different with different features, and most importantly, different levels of security and privacy.
Be sure to check the platform’s own websites, as many of them are changing their features and offers to help and support people because of the coronavirus.
Most collaboration or online platforms have an age requirement, on most users need to be over 13 to make an account. Check the terms and conditions of services to make sure they are suitable for the Scouts in your group. If the young people in your group are under the age limit of the tool you want to use, then their parents or carers must set up the required accounts and remain nearby through the meeting.
What do I do if I have a concern?
You can raise any safeguarding concern no matter how trivial, with the District Commissioner – Oliver Chambers.
or our national safeguarding team
or call us on 0345 300 1818
As you will know, the Scout Association has suspended all face to face meetings and events in line with official guidance from the UK Government.
What our groups and units cannot suspend, are the ongoing costs of running small independent charities. Your subscriptions pay for fixed costs such as utility bills, insurance premiums and annual membership fees which have already been paid upfront by groups and units for the coming year. The cost of providing the weekly programme activities is relatively small in comparison to all this.
Many of our groups plan on continuing to deliver programmes and activities as best they can. There will also be resources available soon nationally that young people will be able to access to still continue Scouting during this turbulent time.
Baring this in mind, your weekly/monthly/quarterly/annual subscriptions (depending how your group decides to do it) that you pay will still be required particularly as face to face fundraising activities have also been curtailed by this national crisis.
We are sure you will understand and support this position. We are aware that for some people the financial consequences of this crisis are critical and if you feel that you will not be able to sustain the subscription payments you can speak, in confidence to your Group Scout Leader or District Explorer Scout Commissioner who will be able to tell you about some support and options that are still available.
Thank you for all your continued support you as parents give our volunteers.
For assistance with District Systems such as Office 365 and Online Scout Manager, please email the Technology ASU
Top Awards & D of E
Queen Scout Award
We are aware of a number of young people in Mersey Weaver working towards their Queen Scout Award but soon to turn 25. We are looking into any special dispensation available where items from the IEV cannot be completed due to the suspension of face to face Scouting.
Duke of Edinburgh Award
As face to face Scouting resumes many young people will be keen to do the outdoor elements of the their Duke of Edinburgh award. There is guidance for leaders from the Scout Association here
The Duke of Edinburgh scheme have posted some faqs on their website along with a statement keen to point out that no young person should miss out on the award as well as ideas and an frame work how you can still complete much of your award while restrictions are in place.
We are looking into the possibility of streaming Explorer’s and Network member’s presentations over the web so they can still complete this aspect of the award.
If you have any concerns about achieving your top award. Please get in touch with our ACC (Awards), Carol Frain:
Training & Compliance
All face to face training due to take place from now until we reach the green readiness level, has been cancelled. However, online training is taking place instead.
Online Training Resources
Are you self isolating or got a bit more time on your hands? Have you got outstanding mandatory training to complete? Here’s the links to get it done and out of the way ready for when we start back up again so there’s no further disruption to the programme.
Module 1 – Essential Information (45mins)
Essential Information is a mandatory module for nearly all adults in Scouting. It provides the basic information required for individuals getting started in adult roles in Scouting, vital to ensuring that all young people can enjoy safe Scouting.
Don’t forget to screenshot or save your certificate as a PDF.
Trustee Introduction (30mins)
The aim of this module is to provide the Charity or managing Trustees with information on their legal responsibilities and current regulations. You only need to complete this module if you have a role as a trustee / Executive Committee member.
Don’t forget to screenshot or save your certificate as a PDF.
Module 2 – Personal Learning Plan
The aim of this module is to create a plan for your learning based on the requirements of the job and your individual needs.
The plan will show the training and the support that you will receive to help you to carry out the responsibilities and fulfil the training requirements for your role.
There is a workbook available to help you to complete this module:
Module 3 – Tools for the Role (40mins)
Tools for the Role (Section Leaders) is a mandatory module for Section Leaders, Assistant Section Leaders and Section Assistants. It covers the basic information on the individual’s role or area of responsibility and some practical help to get the individual started in the role.
Don’t forget to screenshot or save your certificate as a PDF. If you have problems generating the certificate take a screenshot of the results screen.
Note that you’ll need to validate this module with a Training Advisor.
GDPR Training (35mins)
GDPR Training is a mandatory module for all appointments. It covers the basic information that individual’s need to know in relation to the General Data Protection Regulations, what this means for their role and for Scouting and how to effectively align with it. Topics covered:
- Personal Data
- Individuals’ rights
- Accountability & Governance
Don’t forget to screenshot or save your certificate as a PDF.
Safety Training (45mins)
The safety of all our members is of paramount importance, it is essential that we provide up-to-date training so volunteers understand our safety protocols.
It is a requirement for all adults in Scouting to have undertaken safety training at least every five years.
Don’t forget to screenshot or save your certificate as a PDF.
Safeguarding Training (45mins)
The issues facing adult volunteers in keeping young people safe are changing all the time and it is essential that we provide up-to-date training.
It is a requirement for all adults in Scouting to have undertaken ‘approved safeguarding training’ at least every five years.
Don’t forget to save your certificate as a PDF.
Woodbadge and other Training Modules
It is a requirement that Assistant Section Leaders and above complete a Woodbadge within three years of commencing their role. The Woodbadge a series of essential training modules which equips leaders with the skills and knowledge they need to run a section.
Online Training Webinars
The County training team are conducting online webinars right through July until December. For anyone who would prefer to do their training “face to face” as opposed to via self led e-learning. If you would like to participate, book on via the County website. You will be sent joining instructions. You will need a Computer, Smartphone or tablet with the GoToMeeting app downloaded, capable of both sending/receiving video and sound.
In Mersey Weaver, we are extremely fortunate to be able to provide all adult volunteers in the District with an Enterprise License Office 365 account. We are currently in the process of ensuring all Group Scout Leaders and Chairs have access to their Office 365 accounts as this will enable them to host meetings and webinars remotely via Teams.
If you are a volunteer and do not have access to your free Office 365 account please get in touch with our Technology ASU. Line Managers and colleagues are also able to request new accounts for their leaders by completing a simple form
Some tips on etiquette
- Mute yourself when not speaking.
- Meet in a quiet location (people shouting/swearing/screaming in the background is embarrassing for the participant!)
- Be on time.
- Ensure your technology works correctly (test, test and test again to prevent computer-assisted embarrassment!)
- Wear appropriate clothing.
- Ensure there is nothing embarrassing in the background (use ‘blur background’ feature if possible). For children, this also ensures there are no safeguarding incidents (i.e. semi-naked siblings coming into frame).
- Frame the camera correctly.
- Have the right light.
- Look into the camera.
- Pay attention and don’t forget you’re on camera.
Help & Support
If you need assistance or help don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Technology ASU who are happy to support you in getting up and running.
We’ve also collated some videos that will help introduce Microsoft Teams
When will face-to-face Scouting start again?
Everyone is hoping for things to get back to normal as soon as possible, but unfortunately, no one knows when this will be. We still need to closely follow Government advice before face-to-face Scouting can resume, and we also need to ensure the safety of all of our members and their families before this can happen.
In conjunction with the National Youth Agency and the UK Government the Scouts have developed a framework and readiness level which will determine what sorts of activity is safe and permission for groups and units to take part in.
Even as restrictions are starting to lift, we need to consider that different groups, section and geographies may be more ready or effected than others.
At this stage, Groups must seek approval from their District Commissioner. This includes; face to face meetings, activities, events and trips for both young people and adult volunteers.
We are monitoring the situation, and will be regularly updating this page about restarting Scouts following Government guidance. Scouting will not resume face-to-face until it is safe to do so.
In the meantime, thank you all for your patience, and your efforts to continue Scouting or supporting Scouting during these challenging times.
This is a complex time for our entire Scouting family and teams across Mersey Weaver are continuing to closely monitor the situation closely.
The most important thing is for us to have opportunities see one another and ensure the voices of our young people are still heard.
To support this we will be hosting a series of Youth Forums open to all Scouts, Explorers and Young Leaders in Mersey Weaver. These will take place on:
- Youth Forum 1 – 15 April 2020, 14:00-16:00
- Youth Forum 2 – 31 July 2020, 16:00-18:00
- Youth Forum 3 – Watch this space
For all press and media enquiries, please contact Scout Headquarters.
Kindness in the community
As Scouts, we believe every act of kindness has the power to transform society and make it easier for everyone to get the help they need.
Supported by the British Red Cross, we’ll show kindness to those who need most. Find out how you can help the community during this international crisis.
We are providing all volunteers with an Office 365 Account. This will enable local meetings to take place using Microsoft Teams.