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All the fun of a weekend in Essex

After an afternoon at Gilwell on Friday, I ventured a little deeper into Essex to Skreens Park, Essex Scout’s County site for the opening of their Essex Weekend. This was a great opportunity for leaders and their families to gather for a mainly social weekend and to try out many of the activities they usually provided for young people. For me it was a chance to chat to many adults and to answer a few questions. I also took the opportunity to recognise the very important role played by non-uniformed volunteers by presenting County Chairman, Paul, with his Silver Acorn. I have to say that I was very grateful to have the excuse of an early start on Saturday to return to my bed at Gilwell rather than stay to camp on a very chilly May weekend. A wimp I know but there is only room for one adventurer in our partnership!

The Development Grants Board is, for me, another of those many initiatives that has helped to achieve our current success. Last year alone it provided £1.2m of grants to local Scouting, including 38 major projects and a pilot Building Fund which supported nine local group headquarter developments to the tune of £300,000. I was therefore delighted to open their Development Conference on Saturday where over 100 volunteers and local development officers had gathered to share good practice, identify barriers to development and look for further opportunities. Many of those represented have already achieved above average growth in the past few years and so it was a good opportunity for me to challenge them to consider how we take Scouting even further forward, particularly in ensuring that we truly reflect the community in which we operate and offer our unique brand of everyday adventure to those young people who would particularly benefit from it.

The nine groups that have benefited from the Building Fund pilot also made displays of their projects, and the lessons learnt. These experiences are being collated with a view to evaluating how we can better support local building projects generally. I was quickly struck, by the similarities in the design and manufacture of at least half of the projects and it was clear that some quick wins may be achieved more effectively with support from the centre. Watch this space.

Not much peace for the wicked, or so my wife Julie keeps reminding me, and so it was off back to Gatwick for a meeting with Alex, UK Commissioner for Programme, to discuss the implementation plans for our proposed changes to how we organise ourselves centrally to support the delivery of our programme locally.  More of this another day.

 

Comments

 

By Dougie Horn
on 14/05/2010 23:53

Wayne, you may remember I posted a comment about the very welcome rain that we London Marathoners had on the day of the Queen's Scout Parade at Windsor. Having ventured into deepest London can I now ask how we get you to venture a little deeper into the Scouting country and visit Districts such as the one I operate in, West Lothian. It may not be the holiday destination of choice for a lot of people visiting Scotland but there is a lot of excellent Scouting taking place in it's boundaries. I am sure there are lots of Districts and Groups that feel the same as I do so any details of how we can apply to get you to visit us would be grately appreciated. Thanks.

By Wayne
on 15/05/2010 08:20

In the year since I was appointed, I've managed to make several visits to each of the Countries/Regions of the UK, including BSWE and I'll be in Edinburgh in a few weeks, Blair Athol in July and an event in Glasgow in November. I'm in Northern Ireland next weekend for example.

Invites for any member of the UK Leadership team can be made via your Regional/County/Area Commissioner who can offer you advice and the appropriate form which makes our life a little easier to know what is expected.

With 8,000+ groups and 1000 Districts, I'm afraid that even in the term of my appointment Dougie, I'll struggle to visit them all!





By Dougie Horn
on 19/05/2010 22:19

Wayne, Thanks for the details of how to apply to get a member of the UK Leadership Team to visit, which is really useful. As to your reply I thought you would have been more about "yes I want to visit all sorts of diverse Districts around the UK and see Scouting at it's grass roots" whereas what we have got from you is that you will visit the major cities (certainly in Scotland) and visit the major international camp that is held in Scotland but as to what happens in an everyday District, no not this year! That, unfortunately, is the message that comes across but I suspect not the message you wanted to put across.

By Wayne
on 26/05/2010 07:39

Hi Dougie, if you have followed my blog you will see that I have visited a very wide variety of group and district activities as well as large ones. However, I have been very keen in my first year in particular to meet as many people as possible and the best way I can achieve that is to focus on larger events, especially those with many adults present, with vists to local activities built around those. I believe it has worked fairly well so far.

I certainly agree with you ideally, but I need to be realistic also.

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