MX News – October Edition

Date: 2nd Oct 2020 Author: Richard Williams

Welcome to the October edition of MX News, the County Update Newsletter for Greater London Middlesex West. In this edition:

  • A Royal Visit to GLMW
  • Celebrating Your Achievements in 2020
  • Auditions for The National Scout and Guide Symphony Orchestra & Band
  • Adventurous Activities in GLMW
  • QR Codes for your HQ Venue
  • 20in20 Achievements
  • Fire Safety
  • New Media and Communications Managers for GLMW
  • Building Progress at PACCAR

A Royal Visit to GLMW

The Duchess of Cambridge has been announced as the new Joint President of the Scout Association. In her first engagement as Joint President the Duchess made a visit to 12th Northolt Scouts – based in Greenford & District – to thank them and all Scouts volunteers for supporting young people during lockdown. Making whirly bird helicopters with Cubs, she’ll was also encouraging Beaver Scouts as they made cards to send to a local care home and talking to the leaders of the Group.  The activities are both part of the programme ideas that Scouts have created as part of #TheGreatIndoors and #CareForCareHomes to support those made vulnerable by the pandemic. To see more about the visit, take a look at the Scout Website and the video links from the Scouts Facebook Page to hear the reaction from one of our leaders at the Group.

Autumn Celebrations and Planning for Better Times Ahead

In more normal times, October brings us back indoors from our exciting Summer adventures and activities. We review all that we have achieved and begin to plan and prepare for another exciting year next year. Maybe, there would be a parents evening and a report back from our young people telling us about the summer camp or a walking expedition or a trip out to the lake for canoeing and sailing. Perhaps, it would have been an AGM followed by a campfire and food from the barbecue before it goes back in to the stores for the winter. This year is a little different. We have adapted to a new and different way of Scouting and, with our gentle restart for face to face meetings, we are adapting again.

It is important as we do this that we don’t forget to share that moment of reflection on just how much we have achieved. Even if we need or want to keep it in the virtual space for the moment. And, this year, we have achieved more amazingly than ever. All across the County, we have found hundreds of ways to keep our Scouting vibrant and alive. We’ve camped in our gardens, under our tables and in our bedrooms. We’ve developed new abilities in the art of broadcasting #skillsforlife over the internet, making everything from artwork, bags for carrying things, cakes & pizzas to teddy bear zip-lines and so much more. We have raced across Europe without leaving the country, visited wild animal farms online, talked to Scouts as far away as New Zealand or Australia and have seen how birds of prey or more domestic animals make it through the day. Lots of parents have come on the Scouting adventure with us. They have been helping young people to participate in everything from scavenger hunts to the building gadgets in the yard. Some of those parents have already started to ask how they too can keep Scouting as we get back to face to face meetings. We should welcome them with open arms to our new, Covid-19 Secure world.

All over GLMW, Scouting has delivered for the community too. We’ve seen facemasks and scrubs being made and delivered to care homes, litter patrols keeping our environment clean and food packages being put together and delivered to those who need it most. From dental hygiene deliveries to simply providing somewhere for people to talk on-line, Scouting has been there to help and to support the mental well-being of all of our community during a very difficult time for many. We shouldn’t underestimate how valuable even the smallest of our actions have been in helping to support those around us.

So now, we face our new challenges. Our meetings will need to be in line with the guidance for restarting face to face Scouting safely. We need to make a note of our risk assessments, which we always have done, in a way that we can share easily and effectively with others. They can be formal documents or notes on a smartphone for quick and easy reference. It will depend on the scale of what we are doing and the number of people we need to make aware. It is what we have always done well. Some of the risk assessments relating to Covid-19 safety

will need to be approved by our GSLs, Exec committees and DCs. Others, such as those for our general activities, games and meeting plans, just need to be there for us to review and reference as we need them. While it can feel like a lot of work when we think about it, in reality we have thought it through before and we just need to capture it in text form. If the prospect seems daunting, we have lots of support for you so don’t hesitate to ask. We will need to reach for and make contact with everyone to ask when they are ready to return and support them in getting back. Our safety preparations will provide the reassuring backdrop that Scouting is a safe place for everyone to be.

As we race towards the longer nights, perhaps already planning how we’re going to carve pumpkin candle holders or make Halloween masks, take that moment to reflect on a very different year of achievement. We can draw the adults who have become new friends and willing supporters for our Group towards us and get them involved in the next adventure as it begins to unfold. To everyone who has made it all possible, a huge thank you for everything that you have done. Here’s to a great Winter term where we prepare for an even better next year for Scouting…

Richard Williams – GLMW County Commissioner

We are pleased to be able to announce that applications for the 2021 National Scout and Guide Symphony Orchestra and Concert Band (NSGSO and NSGCB) course are now open. The residential course for successful applicants is held in Stourbridge, West Midlands, with concerts held at prestigious venues in the Birmingham area, as well as our first ever completely joint concert between the NSGSO and NSGCB at Coventry Cathedral. The course runs from Sunday 1st August – Sunday 8th August 2021 and the closing date for applications is midnight on Saturday 12th December 2020. Anyone wishing to use this course for their DofE, QSA or QGA residential then this year must be the first time that they have attended.

There is more detail in the attached flyer. Applications are invited from young people aged 12-25. Please share the flyer with anyone in that age range in your district, group or unit.

Applications are invited from young people aged 12-25

The course is hosted by Birmingham Scout County in conjunction with Girlguiding Birmingham but is open to applicants from across the UK who meet the selection criteria. Take a look at the brand new website to find out more about the NSGSO and NSGCB, and how to get involved, you can also watch our short promotional film.

We are acutely aware that COVID-19 still poses a risk to being able to hold the 2021 course. At the current time we are planning to deliver the course, but you can be assured that we will be monitoring the situation at every stage. Our first priority is to keep all of our participants, tutors and staff members safe. So send your applications, and feel free to contact us on info@nsgso-nsgcb.com with any concerns.

Alice Coomer – alice@nsgso-nsgcb.com – NSGSO and NSGCB Coordinator (Publicity)

Update on Adventurous Activities Training

Over the past few weeks I have received a lot of questions around when we may be able to restart training so that leaders can gain permits. Unfortunately, we face a mixture of restrictions, both National, Scouting and those set by the national governing bodies of the various sports. Here is what we are currently hoping to do for each of our Activity areas:

Air Rifle shooting

The plan is to hold a weekend NRSA course at a group which has a range set up, once restrictions are lifted.  This is likely to be in the Borough of Harrow somewhere, but no details firmed up as yet.

Paddle Sports (Kayak and Stand Up Paddle Board)

We had a course arranged back in April at Bury Lake which had to be postponed.  We will re-run this course as soon as we are able. The course was fully booked and places for the rescheduled course will be allocated to those people first. However, if possible, we will try and plan in a subsequent event to cater for additional demand.

Hillwalking

Our current programme of hillwalking weekends has been cancelled.  We hope to start up again next year. In the meantime, if anyone is planning to gain their T1 or T2 Hillwalking permit in GLMW in 2021, would you please get in contact with me so that I can team you up with one of our Hillwalking assessors to talk about the skills and experience that will be needed for successful assessment.

At this time, it is difficult to predict how things will proceed but in reality courses are unlikely to recommence until Spring 2021. If you would like to register you interest in attending any of these courses please email me (geoff.vanderplank@glmwscouts.org.uk) specifying which one(s) you are interested in.

Geoff Vanderplank – Deputy County Commissioner

Does your Venue Need a Track and Trace QR Code?

If you operate your own HQ venue, you now need to provide a printed QR code to enable those who are 16 and over to use the NHS Test and Trace app. You can generate a unique code for your venue here. This is best used by creating a laminated copy of the code and posting it on the wall of your HQ. This does not replace the Scout Association’s guidance on keeping records of attendance at your section meetings. The guidance for getting face to face section meetings organised safely can be found on this TSA web-page.

Completing their 20in20 Challenge

It is really great to see young people and adults from all sections across the County completing their 20in20 Challenge. You will recall that we adapted the challenges for each section so that they could continue to be achieved throughout the period of Lockdown. Many of you have been working away on these throughout the summer.

This week in particular, we had news of some fantastic achievements by Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Leaders at 6th Northwood. With some new ways to get back to face to face Scouting planned they are expecting many more to reach their 20in20 goals over the next few weeks. A huge well done to everyone at 6th Northwood and across GLMW who has been getting the 20in20 Challenge completed. For anyone who needs a little more time to round off their final challenges, we are working on a way to keep the momentum going with an extended completion period. We’ll bring you more news on that next month.

Safety Briefing – Fire Safety in a Covid Secure World

Over the last few weeks, it has been great seeing how many of our groups have been getting up and running again in their newly Covid-19 secure venues. On my recent visits, it was clear to see that a lot of work had been carried out to ensure that screens had been erected and one-way systems created, and that they were as Covid-19 safe as could be expected.

However, we need to make sure that we don’t compromise some of our other risk assessment and safety measures at the same time. One such thought is linked to our usual fire safety precautions which may potentially be compromised in our work to ensure Covid-19 safety.

One or two simple examples that come to mind include:

  • Creating one way systems by holding fire doors open, need to be considered in the light of an increased the risk of fire spread;
  • Installing screens, while good practice for Covid-19 safety, should not block access to firefighting equipment or compromise smoke detection;
  • The good use of alcohol based sanitisers located throughout the building increases means we need to assess the potential risk of fire spread, and ensure that storage and decanting from of bulk sanitisers must be done away from any potential flammable source.

As ever, we need to remember that as we bring in measures to stay safe from one issue, it must not compromise our other safety requirements. #informingbutneverboring #firesafety

As we return to face to face Scouting under Amber and all young people haven’t been in HQ’s for 6 months it may be worth doing a virtual fire evacuation showing and telling them what to do at your last Zoom meeting. If you are in any doubt or need advice on your Safety and Risk Assessments, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Roger Rixon – GLMW County Adviser – Health & Safety

New Media and Communications Managers for GLMW

I’m really pleased to be able to tell you about our new Media and Communications Managers for the County. Following our advertisement for the role in last month’s MX News, Georgia Miller and Nisha Patel have agreed to take on the role together. I’ll let them introduce themselves to you:

“Hi, I’m Nisha and I am a Cub leader at 25th Ealing, and ADC Cubs for the Ealing and Hanwell District.  When I’m not Scouting – the BBC employs me to make radio programmes for the World Service. Hopefully, some of this experience will help generate ideas to push forward GLMW’s media presence.”

“Hello! I’m Georgia and I’m the 2nd Uxbridge Scout Section leader and Discovery ESU Assistant Section Leader from Uxbridge and District. Outside of Scouting, I’m a Production Manager in broadcast and digital television production and have a wealth of experience in media and communications; I also bake a MEAN lemon drizzle cake!

I’m really excited to get into this role, should you have any stories from your county you wish to share, please get in touch with us on media@glmwscouts.org.uk !”

Over the next few weeks, Georgia and Nisha will be looking at how we can better manage our media resources in the County and starting to work with the rest of the County team. Over the coming months we will be improving the way we receive and transmit the messages and information that we need to communicate both within the County and to the wider community around us. Please welcome Georgia and Nisha to their new roles.

Richard Williams – County Commissioner

Building Progress at PACCAR

During the Summer, we have been making good progress with our long term project to regenerate the buildings and other facilities around our County campsite at PACCAR, Chalfont St Peter. The latest work in our multi-year plan is the replacement of the machinary and equipment store in the Crew Compound. When complete, the new Long Store will be able to securely accommodate all the maintenance equipment and larger machinery used at the site.

As we head in to the autumn, we’re looking forward to the building of our new climbing wall and caving complex. We’ll keep you updated as these improvement projects progress.

Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls