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Coronavirus

Last Updated: 21:15 Monday 8 April 2020

Key Information for Volunteers and Parents

Before reading the information below, please ensure you’re up to date with the guidance available at 

scouts.org.uk/coronavirus

gov.uk/coronavirus.

gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-the-charity-sector


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.

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.


Resources

Activity Centres

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 the 17 April 2020.

For the latest information please consult bookings.mwscouts.org/coronavirus

Appointments Panel

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 Coronavirus lockdown

To continue to welcome and support our adult volunteers in Scouting we will be running online versions of the Appointments Panel.

The first of which will take place on:

  • Wednesday 15 April – 11:00 to 12:30
  • Thursday 16 April – 19:00 to 21:00

The idea is to offer daytime sessions 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.

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.

Disclosures

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 

While all face-to-face Scout meetings and activities across the UK are suspended, we have taken the decision to stop processing disclosure applications and re-checks. This will be the case until the suspension on face-to-face Scout meetings and activities is lifted.

The disclosure bodies’ advice clearly states that the workarounds for effective identity checking have been primarily put in place to ensure disclosure checks can be processed for frontline key workers needed to contribute to the Coronavirus situation. While Scouts remains important, clearly, we do not meet this criteria.

Scouts volunteers are not engaging in Regulated Activity while face-to-face Scout meetings and activities are suspended. Therefore, there is no requirement for disclosure applications and re-checks to be processed during the Coronavirus situation.

What this means during the Coronavirus situation

  • Volunteers will not be suspended when a disclosure re-check has not been undertaken and a valid disclosure obtained. 
  • Volunteer line managers will continue to receive the reminder and suspension emails as these are automated through Compass. While this isn’t ideal, it isn’t practicable nor cost effective at this time to stop these being sent. During this period please disregard these emails (although they may be of use to create a list of those volunteers who will need to process a disclosure re-check when the suspension on face-to-face Scout meetings and activities is lifted).   
  • Volunteers whose disclosure expires during this period may continue to meet digitally, following the advice and guidance issued on holding virtual meetings to make sure we keep all members safe.   

Processing disclosure applications and re-checks when the suspension on face-to-face Scout meetings and activities is lifted 

Once face-to-face Scout activities and meetings resume, new disclosure applications can commence and volunteers whose disclosure has expired will be able to continue in their roles for a limited period before suspension will be necessary if a valid disclosure is not obtained. We will set a date when all volunteers who don’t have a valid disclosure must start the process to renew their disclosure. 

The limited period will be 90 days from that date for those volunteers to obtain a valid disclosure. 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.

How these arrangements have been agreed 

These interim arrangements have been approved by the UK Chief Commissioner, the Chair of the Safeguarding Committee, the Chair of the Risk Committee and the Chief Operating Officer (who is the Scouts’ Lead Signatory for all of the disclosure bodies across the Nations).

Support for you 

If you have any questions relating to disclosures, please let us know at vetting@scouts.org.uk or by emailing the Scout Information Centre at info.centre@scouts.org.uk. 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 iPads

Mersey Weaver are fortunate to have a bank of 10 iPads. The District Executive have agreed to temporarily make these available to leaders without access to a computer free of charge.

Please drop us an email if you know an adult who would benefit from access to some technology.

District Office

The District Office is currently closed but the team are operating remotely – if you attempt to contact us via phone, your call will still get through. Please contact us via email at info@mwscouts.org for any enquiries.

District Scout Store

The District Scout Store will continue to fulfil mail orders. We will also be operating a “Amazon Locker” style collection point for anyone wanting to collect badges, uniform or anything else available from the website. Please note some bespoke items may take longer to arrive due to the world wide pandemic.

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.

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 as a group locally, including St George’s Day. Events organised by Mersey Weaver 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.

National events:

  • Day of Celebration at Windsor – Cancelled
  • Beaver and Cub Fundays at Gilwell Park and Woodhouse Park – Cancelled
  • Gilwell 24 – Cancelled
  • Reunion – Under review

Regional events:

  • Shelterbox Scavenger Hunt – Becoming an online Scavenger Hunt!

County events:

  • Cheshire Hike – Postponed to 10/11 October 2020
  • County Dinner – Postponed to 8 November 2020
  • CuBe – Postponed to May 2021
  • Cub Handicraft Competition – Postponed to 26 September 2020
  • Beaver Challenge – Postponed to Oct/November 2021
  • Explorer Belt Information Evening – 7 April 2020
  • ADC’s Forum (1 Jun) – Cancelled
  • County AGM (9 Jun) – Under review
  • County Scout Sunday (14 Jun) – Under review
  • Royal Cheshire Show (16/17 June) – Cancelled

District events:

  • Cub Swimming Gala – Rescheduled to 21 November
  • Section Support Meeting – 7 April (To take place online)
  • Open Shoot (April) – Cancelled
  • Shooting Squad Training (April) – Cancelled
  • Scout Triathlon – To be rescheduled
  • Open Shoot (May) – Under review
  • Shooting Squad Training (May) – Under review
  • District AGM 2019 – 20 May (To take place online)
  • EuroJam May Ball – To be rescheduled
  • Mersey Weaver Celebration and Adults Awards – Currently going ahead
  • Cub Camping Competition – Currently going ahead
  • District Clinic – Currently going ahead or to take place online

Fundraising support

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.

Governance

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 are actively working with the Charity Commission to seek clear guidance around conducting formal AGMs digitally; check back here for updates.

For local Leadership and Board of Trustees meetings, provision was made on the 18 March in POR to the standard constitutions for Exec Meetings to take place 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.

For exec and leadership meetings we encourage the use of Microsoft Teams and Office 365 platform to ensure compliance with GDPR.

The Government also have some practical advice for questions from Executive Committees. 

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.

The NCVO has published some useful guidance to help Executive Committees consider how they can best support Scouts locally during this time.

Hardship Funding

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

#Threefor3

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.


Keeping Scouting alive

Cheshire Scouts are planning some opportunities to meet up with other Scouters online to compact loneliness and there are some ideas being mooted like virtual campfires, youth forums etc

Watch this space for more info…


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.

mental.health@merseyweaverscouts.org.uk

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. 


Further support

Young Minds      
www.youngminds.org.uk/

Childline  
0800 1111 
www.childline.org.uk

Mind   
www.mind.org.uk/

SAMH 
www.samh.org.uk/

Microsoft Teams / Office365

Office 365

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. The process is automated, so once your account is approved you will receive setup instructions and a text message with a temporary password to your mobile phone.


Microsoft Teams

During this period we expect an uptick in volunteer meetings as well as the need for leaders to safely host virtual meetings online. Teams will allow groups to securely communicate with volunteer across the district.

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 a 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 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.

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.

How to Join a Meeting / Live Event

Once you are logged in your can join an online meeting or Live Event. In some cases you can join as a guest too but its best to login as you get access to more features. Some meetings will not allow guests to join if they have been set to private.

How to Schedule a Meeting / Live Event

From the calendar tab, a button appears that says “+ New Meeting” from there you can select a Meeting (video conference) or Live Event (broadcast). Select what kind of meeting you want, schedule it in and invite any guests or generate a link. 

You can also schedule meetings within existing channels. e.g. a group camp ‘Channel’ in the section leaders ‘Team’ to plan an upcoming camp.

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.

Getting Started with Microsoft Teams

Interactive Demo

We’ve also collated some videos that will help introduce Microsoft Teams

Our Community

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…

It’s clear that the best and most effective way we can respond is by supporting young people at hom. We’re the experts in providing activities and skills for young people and this should remain our key focus.


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
  • 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


Staying safe

If you are being asked to do other things locally, or if you’re approached by any organisation, we advise that you read the government’s advice on how to do this safely

Remember, everyone’s situation is different and the safety of you and your family must come first. It’s vital therefore that we follow expert advice when it comes to volunteering. We’re talking with organisations at a national level and we’re passing on the advice we receive, which is to signpost you to organisations who are already set up to help communities at times like these.

Key points to remember

  • You can, of course, support other organisations in a personal capacity, but you should keep this separate from your role in Scouts. Please do not offer the services of other members on their behalf.
  • Keep young people safe at all times. Please don’t volunteer young people to carry out tasks on behalf of other organisations.
  • Keep yourself safe – read the government’s advice on how to help safely 

How you can support other organisations

We understand that some members will want to do more to support their communities. We’re therefore signposting other organisations calling for volunteers or asking for other kinds of support.

However, we know that everyone’s situation is different and we all have different responsibilities. You may be a key worker, for example, or supporting your family, and have little extra time. You may be struggling through illness yourself. No one should feel any pressure therefore to offer extra support in this way and the safety of you and your family must always come first.

Please note that you will be signing up these organisations as an individual rather than as Scouts. It’s important to know that your usual Scout insurance doesn’t cover activities you do in a personal capacity. Please therefore make sure you know what the terms of engagement are before you sign up or register for opportunities. Also make sure you read government advice on how to help safely.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Donate food. The Trussell Trust is asking for donations to foodbanks at supermarkets. Here’s a list of things that are urgently needed: UHT milk, tinned fish or meat, tinned fruit, tinned vegetables, tinned spaghetti, long-life juice, pasta sauce, soup, tea and coffee, pasta, rice, noodles, beans, cereal, rice pudding, custard and biscuits.
  • Give blood. Giving blood is more important now than ever. Find out how.
  • Become a NHS Volunteer Responder. This is a new group that will carry out simple, non-medical tasks to support people in England who have been asked to shield themselves from coronavirus because of underlying health conditions. Please note that recruitment is currently closed due to the phenomenal initial response. Thank you to all of you who have supported this scheme so far.
  • Help older people. Find out ways you can help older people during the coronavirus crisis by following this advice from Age UK.
  • Volunteer for St John Ambulance. Our friends at St John Ambulance are looking for logistics and volunteer manager support as well as frontline line clinical/first aid support.
  • Support British Red Cross. Here’s how you can share your kindness with those who need it most.

A note on insurance

We recognise that as Scouts many of you will want to do all you can to support communities and critical organisations like the NHS. However, our insurance policies are based on standard Scout activities rather than these these exceptional ones. Therefore, if you do decide to help out in your communities, then thank you, but you’ll need to do so in a personal capacity.

If any outside organisation wants to use your premises, such as your Scout hall, they’ll have to accept full liability both for property damage and any bodily injury claims which may occur during the time they occupy and operate out of it. We strongly recommend you keep a copy of the third party’s Public Liability certificate for your records. Your management team will also need to work with the organisation concerned and conduct relevant risk assessments etc., show them how to set alarms/lock up at the end of the night and any other guidance that you would normally provide. Please also remember to follow the Government’s advice on safety and social distancing.


Volunteering locally


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
  • The District Executive have resolved that it would make any of its facilities or resources available to support the community should the need arise.

Premises

If you own or lease your own premises, remember to do things like:

  • Throw away perishable food items from the fridge
  • Notify the alarm company that the building is not expected to be in use.
  • Make sure all doors and windows are shut and locked
  • Take out any rubbish
  • Unplug electronics
  • Close blinds and curtains
  • Keep the heating running at a low level.
  • Drain and shut off the water system before you lock up.
  • Ask someone to check in on the building every once and a while

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.

Programme

The teams at World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) and UK Scout Headquarters are in the process of creating Programme ideas 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 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

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: 

  • Be kind 

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 mindful about what you share  

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.

  • Don’t meet in-person with people you meet online

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.

  • Keep your personal information private

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.

  • Report harmful posts or content

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. 

  • Tell a trusted adult

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. 


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

When Scouting Online, the principles of the ‘Yellow Card’ and ‘Child protection policy’ applies.

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.

Age requirements

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
safeguarding@scouts.org.uk 
or call us on 0345 300 1818

Subscriptions

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.

Systems Support

For assistance with District Systems such as Office 365 and Online Scout Manager, please contact technology.asu@merseyweaverscouts.org.uk

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

Unfortunately the Gold Award presentation due to take place on the 17 March has been cancelled.

https://www.dofe.org/gold-award-presentation-tuesday-17th-march/

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.

https://www.dofe.org/coronavirus/faqs

https://www.dofe.org/coronaactivitytips/

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:

carol.frain@cheshirescouts.org.uk

Training & Compliance

All face to face training due to take place from now until after the suspension has been lifted, has been cancelled. 

The County Training Manager – Debbie Phillips, is however running a Safeguarding course online on 1 April please contact her for details:

debbie.phillips@cheshirescouts.org.uk

If the County decide to run more online training we will advise here.

Online Training Resources

Are you self isolating? 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

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.

Note that you’ll need to validate this module with a Training Advisor.

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

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

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
  • Consent
  • Accountability & Governance

Don’t forget to screenshot or save your certificate as a PDF.

Safety Training

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

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 screenshot or 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.

Volunteer Meetings

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 guidance on running an effective meeting with be distributed in due course.

In the mean time here’s a quick video to get you started here

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 domc’t forget you’re on camera.

Youth Forum

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– Watch this space
  • Youth Forum 2 – Watch this space

Agenda to follow


Media Enquiries

For all press and media enquiries, please contact Scout Headquarters.

Webinars

We are developing a series of webinars to support you in your role. Check back here soon for the schedule.

Self isolating? Do something productive with your time!

Office 365

We are providing all volunteers with an Office 365 Account. This will enable local meetings to take place using Microsoft Teams.

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.