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County Commissioner Update

Updated 25-March-2020

A letter to all Lincolnshire Scouts volunteers from our County Commissioner

To all volunteers in Lincolnshire Scouts

I hope you are all keeping well and safe during this extraordinary period. Our first and biggest priority is to look after all our members. Maintaining distance is one of the important ways we can help prevent further spread of the virus and other illnesses at this time but who would have predicted that this would mean the end of face to face Scouting for the foreseeable future. I hope to offer some support by providing extra options for all of us to remain connected.

As we all think about how we can continue to fulfil our roles in some way in the coming weeks, I know that there are many questions for which you will seek answers. Please be patient as the responses are being considered and published and information will be provided as soon as possible to support your requirements and forward planning. Every single role in the movement will be personally adjusting, possibly managing symptoms, family issues and having to reconsider their Scouting role approach. In many cases the answers are simply not yet available, but will follow as everyone makes their adjustments.

The first of that information is set out below to let you know about tools that Lincolnshire members will be able to access in the coming days and weeks, particularly additional technical tools that may help in the plans to remain united at this exceptional time.

Local Scouting

I have already seen a phenomenal response both nationally and locally to come up with creative ways to keep young people and adults connected and enjoying Scouting despite this setback. The local delivery of adventure and activity to young people is the backbone of Lincolnshire Scouts and I thank you all for your efforts in filling your sections and teams with positivity in such unique circumstances.

Information

Lincolnshire Scouts have been following the guidance of the UK Government and UK Scouts. There is no additional local guidance but as the amount of information grows, the appropriate links will also be included on the Lincolnshire Scouts website for ease of reference.

We will also be adding an FAQ page and provide opportunity for you to submit questions that may help provide answers to all our volunteers.

Extra Tools

Over the last week, County and District volunteers have also been working on some extra tools that may be useful. These are standard commercial services coordinated and paid for centrally. To make them available to everyone quickly, they are offered without central tuition initially but links will be shared to commercial tutorials and any questions can be raised by registering and submitting a question to the Lincolnshire Scouts Tech support desk while we then work to identify a network of confident local individuals who can help with queries.

Email

Everyone has been provided with a Scouts email address. County team are required to use this in place of any personal email accounts to conduct their Scouting business. This helps us mitigate risks that trustees face should we not manage our information or account access in the most appropriate way an provides a more professional and reassuring presence in our public contact.

Rather than confining it to my team, the email account is offered to everyone as an optional solution to risk responses your own trustees may choose to take. Unless specified locally, using a Scouts email for your day to day contact is a choice to be made by each individual.

More importantly now, your email will also provide the username log in details for additional services.  

Office 365 - Teams

Teams is a chat-based workspace that brings together chat, files, people, and tools in one place. This will enable you to communicate both within and beyond the membership. Perhaps useful for parent meetings, virtual section broadcasts and conference and video calling.

Information will be sent to your new and current email (registered on Compass).

You are welcome to use this provision for personal situations if this will also help you maintain contact with your important people during this isolating period. However, you must observe Scouting values and POR, even for personal matters.

Workplace

A social media provision for teams of people, provided by Facebook. It looks and feels a lot like Facebook but is restricted to Lincolnshire Scouts volunteers only without any public access. Perfect for sharing programme resources, ideas and messaging contacts. You can host video meetings with other scouting volunteers, live stream video of an activity or use closed groups to collaborate on projects. Access Workplace here.  Your login details for this are your email / office 365 username and password.

To Follow - We are also reorganising our Lincolnshire Scouts public-facing Facebook provision and there are additional commercial tools such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok, and Zoom (a free and easy video calling tools that can be done via a web browser or app) for example, that you may also like to try. 

Don’t like digital?

I would also like to reassure those that are not planning to use these tools that this is completely ok. Just as I don’t expect every volunteer to be proficient across the whole Scouts programme, neither do I expect that every adult will want to or be able to adopt this digital approach. However, coordinated by groups and supported by Districts, assisted by County teams where needed; I do hope we can collectively offer a number of ways to keep everyone safe, engaged and offer options to keep Scouting to maintain some stability for our young people.

Wellbeing

This is such an unusual time that your feelings of obligation to, or detachment from your regular Scouting may become overwhelming. If you feel that you have concerns that require support please raise them with your immediate manager and I will speak regularly with District Commissioners to determine additional support that may be appropriate.

I know amongst us there will be key workers, vulnerable individuals, those with underlying conditions and many with concerns that make this time both challenging and scary. An unparalleled experience in our lifetime that is often difficult to understand but together we will do our best, our duty to others and whatever we can to help other people. A day at a time we can all share our skills to support each other and build our resilience. 

Stay safe

Ellie

Key information for volunteers and parents

Programme

The teams at World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) and UK Scout Headquarters are in the process of creating Programme ideas to support Scouts at home. Check here, scouts.org.uk and scout.org regularly.

The Scouts have developed 'The Great Indoors', which features (quite literally) hundreds of activities for you to try at home. Take a look here.