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Chief Commissioner's blog| It's all about the money

A couple of emails and discussions have cropped up over the last few weeks with a common theme around money.

Affordable Scout Network programmes

In a conversation with a rural fledgling Scout Network where the members either work long hours to balance their budgets or are studying, both money and time are of the essence. They are having difficulty in coming up with programme ideas that are both fun but also affordable to them. Summer isn’t too difficult, but winter they find much harder. They have looked through conventional sources such as Programmes Online but have so far been uninspired.

This is a wider issue that the 18-25 Project Team is looking into, however, it occurred to me in the short term that there are many of you out there who have overcome similar challenges and I wonder if you might share your ideas?

Gift aid and start-up grants

As you know, the development of Scouting is a big theme of mine and in various discussions recently I’ve been surprised to learn of the reluctance of some new sections and Groups to apply for the start-up grant of £100 from the Development Grants Board (DGB). I’m even more surprised that one of the reasons often cited is that a Group needs to have Gift Aid collection arrangements in place and they find this difficult to do. 

I am surprised because many other groups I come across find Gift Aid a significant and administratively straightforward means of raising much-needed funds. You may wish to check out more information on Gift Aid; contact the Information Centre if you need any assistance.

While the £100 start-up grants may not feel particularly significant, they are a simple and quick way of helping fund your new section and of course bring with them a 50% discount on the first year’s membership fees for your new members. 

Well worth the trouble I’m sure you will agree.




By Jon Bloor
on 17/10/2013 13:01

Gift aid isn't difficulty to set up and with software like OnlineScoutManager the claim is easy.

By Dan Wood
on 17/10/2013 14:33

We have an "access fund" (+£3k in total) in Avon to support inclusion in Scouting activities and we actively welcome requests for these funds to assist in circumstances where costs are proving prohibitive to participation. Scout Network would be just as entitled as members of any other Sections to this support. There are tons of activities that don't cost lost of money; just needs a bit of imagination! In many areas there are also external funds for worthwhile activities that are more ambitious. There also something about economies of scale in reducing costs so growing Network and having a critical mass involved in activities can help to bring costs down. We shouldn't forget that, as originally envisaged, Networks weren't conceived as 'static entities/units' but as dynamic networks as the name suggests. For me, this means interaction across localities and opening up the whole Network programme of experiences to everyone so anyone in Scouting 18-25 can participate in any aspect of what's on offer: and it doesn't have to be with frequent regularity either. Networks can also, if they wish, build fundraising in as a legitimate and enjoyable programme activity - and depending on how these are tackled they too can be adventurous and developmental. Networks should be led and driven by the ambitions and aspirations of 18-25 year olds and leaders like me in Districts and Counties/Areas should support, guide and facilitate. I also highly recommend that Network members make the most of the Queen's Scout Award and DofE opportunities as these are great for employability, university admission and not to mention a great personal achievement and experience.

By Ian Wilkins
on 22/10/2013 14:58

Agreed, winter is always a challenge, apart from doing the summer stuff but outside in the wet/cold!

Cheap Network ideas:

Hut Crazy Golf: Raid the stores for poles, rope, billies, bowls, buckets, anything really. Could make some obstacles out of scrap wood. A couple of balls, a couple of putters, and away you go.

Hut croquet. Use a set of those water filled plastic beach Boule, mallets out of scrap wood, and hoops, well, improvise! (mini tripods, made out of three sticks lashed together?)

Trawl the charity shops for odd board games, murder mysteries, etc

Hut quiz night. Music rounds especially popular.

With a bit of prep, a Mock The Week Scout Style.

We played giant snakes and ladders the other week, masking tape to mark the board on the floor. Rope for snakes, and each bring a step ladder from home.

Console nights, especially XBox and Kinect type games go down well.

Run some nights for the local explorers.

Splash out £10 on a light up in the dark frisbee - they are fantastic!

Geocaching - free app for your average smart phone. Yes, definitely harder in the dark.

If you have a local (scout) caving club, or anyone keen on caving in the area, an evening of SRT (single rope technique) is entertaining.

Most basic 3 man dome tents don't necessarily need to be pegged out. Try putting one up blindfold (apart from one team leader) or have one blindfold, one with one arm behind their back, and one who can't use their legs below the knee.

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