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Chief Commissioner's blog| Making Scouting even better

The subject of the National Memorial Arboretum was at the top of the agenda for Wayne this week, who also escaped to London to meet with old colleagues and welcome new ones.

Scouting for a break

Like many others, I took a few days holiday last week, although in my case it was to move back in to our house, which we had vacated for a few months to allow some building work to take place. Thankfully, Julie permitted me to escape to London midweek for a catch-up with various Scouting colleagues as we begin to get the new Scouting year underway.

Keeping in touch

First up was a sandwich with Alex Minajew (UKC Programme), who is undertaking the new role as our lead volunteer for safety and adventure. As well as updating on the various programme support work streams at the moment, we also talked about the role description and objectives of the new post. More of this over the coming months.

Public affairs

Liam Burns recently joined the staff team at Gilwell Park as Head of Public Affairs and so Wednesday provided an ideal opportunity for us to meet up and to review all aspects of our public affairs work. There are some exciting opportunities coming up concerning the social action agenda, as well as areas as diverse as the party political conferences and employer-supported volunteering. We have been very fortunate with our recent heads of public affairs who have significantly improved our positioning in this area; we are all excited at the prospects of Liam being able to go even further.

The bigger picture

I caught up with Alan Craft and Matt Hyde to review a variety of matters; we were joined by consultant Mike Hudson who is supporting the senior leadership team (Trustees, UKCC team and senior staff team) in taking forward our strategic development. While it is easy to think that this is something that we have enough people around our own table to facilitate, the value of an external sounding board and facilitator is immense.

National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire

There are certain topics that have continued to reappear in my inbox over the years; the absence of a Scouting memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire is one of those topics. I was delighted when, a year or so ago, I was approached by the leaders of the 64th Birmingham who were inspired by their Explorer Scouts and Scout Network members to ‘do something about it’. 

They have made tremendous progress since then with a little bit of help and support from the team at Gilwell, and this weekend at Gilwell Reunion, the launch of the design competition for the memorial itself will take place. You can find out more from their website and find out how you can help in terms of fundraising to achieve the target of £80,000. This will not only establish the memorial but will provide for its maintenance over the next 20 years.

The project has already enthused a wide number of young (and not-quite-so-young people) and the competition for the badge design was particularly well supported. The winning badge design by Connor White, a 10-year-old Cub from 87th Birmingham (1st Bierton Scout Group) is now available as an occasional badge.

Gilwell Reunion

As bookings stand at the time of writing, it looks as if we will have over 2,500 at Gilwell Reunion this weekend and I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible. It will be great to celebrate the wonderful success that our Movement is presently enjoying and discuss ways in which we can ensure this continues for a long time to come.




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