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Chief Commissioner's blog| Overseas branches

Wayne travelled with Nigel Hailey, International Commissioner, to visit Gibraltar on Monday: one of 13 overseas branches of UK Scouting.

Varied and far

Gibraltar, a three-hour flight from London, is one of our closest overseas branches, with the others ranging from Vanuatu in the Pacific to Anguilla in the Caribbean. In total we have 3,500 members across the 13 branches; some are in British overseas territories and other Groups were established largely because of historic associations with the UK but are too small to join WOSM as independent members.

The branches vary in size between one thousand members each in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands to 50 in the British Virgin Islands, although we are in the process of opening another Group there too.

Gibraltar

Scouting in Gibraltar, due to the strong military association, has a long history dating back to 1908, which is when the first Group dates its origins to. The 5th Sea Scouts are also celebrating its centenary this year.

Scouting is well represented with 300-plus members across Gibraltar, in a resident population of 29,000. Their two Scout bands regularly appear at civic events and represent the island. They also played at Windsor two years ago.

Making use of space

Community facilities are at a premium on the small island of Gibraltar and so much has to be made of the available space. All facilities are provided free of charge and funding for insurance and equipment comes from the Government. We paid a visit to a purpose-built centre for the Sea Scouts, which is being finalised and is ideally situated with its own pontoon and slipway. Gibraltar Scouts also own Governor’s Lookout, a centre for camping with the most amazing views.

After meetings with the Chief Commissioner and Chairman, where we discussed their development plans and a successor to Alfred Reoch, who retires shortly after 20 years as the Chief Commissioner, we met the mayor and the Chief Minister to discuss Scouting’s plans and the support available from the Gibraltar Government.

Joining in the fun

The evening was fantastic as we visited each of the Groups and almost all their members took part in a variety of activities, which included an opportunity for me to show off my pioneering (supervisory) skills, for better or worse.

A big thank you to everyone from Nigel and I for giving us such a great welcome.

06/03/14

 

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