Last Updated: 12:00 Thursday 21 April 2022
Key Information for Volunteers and Parents
Before reading the information below, please ensure you’re up to date with the guidance available at
Getting back together safely – Information for Leaders
We’re working with youth sector partners and the National Youth Agency government body to make sure that we restart safely. There’s a framework and set of guidance that should be followed when your section gets back together, based on the latest government announcements and current readiness levels.
Readiness level: Green
This means: All activities can resume for members who live in England. Residential activities and international travel may take place.
Maximum group size and limitations:
- All non-residential activities (including young people, Scout Network and adult only groups): No limit on group size, although all activities must be able to safely manage the risk of transmission of COVID and, if this is not possible, they must not take place.
- Residential activities: Nights away activities may take place, more details in the planning COVID-safe Nights Away in 2021 guidance. Approval and risk assessments are submitted via the Nights Away Notification as normal.
- International travel: Visits abroad may resume but must follow the FCDO travel advice and still manage the transmission of COVID and ensuring that the trips are safe and accessible. Consideration for the changing government requirements must be built into the trip plans prior to approval being given locally for the trips to go ahead.
Note: It’s important to remember that we’re still have the duty to make sure we’re following the letter and spirit of the guidance. Although there is no longer a legal requirement for many things, as Scouts, with a duty of care to others and to young people, we recommend and expect the application of good hygiene and covid-safe approaches to all our meetings, events, activities and residential experiences.
Queen Charlotte’s Wood and District Scout Centre are open again to all outdoor day/evening visitors as well as camping and residential experiences in The Hideaway. We are now operating five zones for camping and activities. Clogwyn in North Wales is now open as well.
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…
|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|
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 email@example.com or by emailing the Scout Information Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Exemplar Covid-19 Risk Assesments
You asked, we delivered. We have put together a set of Risk Assessment examples which can help you get a clear idea of the kinds of Hazards, Risks different venues/activities might pose and example actions to mitigate the risk.
It is important to note that these Risk Assesments are by no means perfect and should be amended and added to, to suit the age group, the exact environment you are operating in as well as the type of activities. However, we hope they will speed up the process, making it easier for leaders, result in better Risk Assesments and ultimately more young people to safely return to face to face activities as soon as is possible.
It is our intention that this library will be added to over time so that groups can benefit from each other so please check back here before re-inventing the wheel as it might save you some time and effort.
Prior to commencing your Risk Assessment please engage with your group’s allocated Getting back together safely liaison who will be able to support you through the process.
Risk Assessment Video
The Scouts have put together the above video to guide volunteers through the Covid restate risk assessment process. If you have not seen it already it is well worth a watch.
This Template can be used by Executive Committees to assess the risk of letting 3rd parties use a Scout premises. In addition to the Risk Assessment, Exec Committees should ensure external users have adequate public liability insurance, have seen (and are satisfied) with a Risk Assessment completed by the user and agreed a contract for cleaning of the building before and after use.
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 advisors 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.
Mersey Weaver has recognised the need for Managers and Leaders to gain experience in dealing with Mental Health issues and are now providing free accredited Mental Health First Aid Training for volunteers across the district.
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
Preparing for return to face to face scouting – leaders
Preparing for return to face to face scouting – Managers & Execs
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.
Safeguarding videos for young people
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
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:
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
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.