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Petworth & Pulborough Scout District

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Blog | DC report for the District AGM
21/09/2020 By Glyn Pullen

District Commissioner’s Report September 2020
This report will be a little different to the one that is included in the Trustees Annual Report for the year end March 2020 and for good reason. On the 23rd March 2020 lockdown began in the UK and face to face Scouting stopped. People’s lives were turned upside down and the future looked bleak, uncertain, and unimaginable. We could not visit families and loved ones, no left handshakes or even hug your mum. Some have lost loved ones and we hold them in our thoughts and prayers.
Scouting took a back seat, while everyone concentrated on key working, looking after their families, and clapping for the NHS. Scouts painted rainbows and even coloured in Scout pictures to put in their windows. Scouting in Petworth and Pulborough, like Scouting across the country, started to work out what to do. How could we keep our young people involved and together?
Scouting remains important, and our young people are lucky to have amazing Leaders who have risen to the challenge. Behind the scenes Zoom meetings were arranged as new ways to communicate with Scout troops, Cub packs and Beaver colonies. Executives worked out ways to protect their buildings while unattended, checking insurance policies and securing finances. Nine out of ten of our Groups received the Government grant adding much needed funds to hopefully see them through. The District Executive has continued to assist where needed.
Petworth Park Camp was put on hold, like many other District activities, and international experiences have been postponed to another year.
This did not stop our young people dragging Mum and Dad out into their back (or front) gardens to camp. Scouts could still have a campfire via Zoom, songs could still be sung, and hot chocolate could still be drunk. We remembered VE Day with celebrations in our streets and Dave, our Chairman, played the bugle in his uniform to remember.
As time has gone on Scouting has taken up the challenge to change and adapt. We will not let the young people down. How can we get face-to-face Scouting back up and running while following all the government guidelines and keeping people safe?
Our LTM and appointments team have worked hard to get adults through the appointment process and guide people towards the training they need to do.
A working group was set up to help groups get their risk assessments done to allow face-to-face Scouting to resume, whether that be indoors or out. Weekly and ever-changing advice by Zoom meetings from HQ has guided us in the right direction. Hours of work have been put in by dedicated Scouters such as Jamie Trickett and Andy Chennell who have tirelessly checked and re-checked risk assessments.
Massive thanks should go to those in the groups who have continued to make things work and get their group ready for face-to-face. GSLs and leaders have given a huge amount of time, on top of their own work and home commitments, and we owe them a great debt of gratitude.
In the last year we have seen some change in roles and some who have taken on new challenges.
  • Marcus Barnes has taken on the Youth Commissioners’ role and has been planning all sorts of amazing things for Scouts across the District. I can’t wait to see some of his ideas come to fruition.
  • I would like to thank Ed Clee for all he achieved during his time as DYC and to wish him well in his new role as GSL of Petworth. Thank you to Katrina Budd for her time in uniform as GSL, which I know she enjoyed. I hope that she will continue to enjoy helping as a member of Scout Active Support.
  • Angie Smith has stepped down as ADC Beavers after many years of service. Angie always wanted to be with the young people, organising many a Christmas party and presenting lots and lots of Bronze Chief Scouts. I wish her well as she continues to offer support local to home and with Scout Active Support.
  • In Fittleworth, David Nelson has taken on the role of GSL assisted by Laura Braun. Richard Potter has agreed to stay on as AGSL for a year to help the new team settle in.
  • I would like to thank Helen (Pullen) for taking on the role of Scout Active Support Manager and hope she will build on the good work that Ann Pike did for the unit and District. Ann continues in her role as District Diversity & Inclusion Manager.
  • Last year Hazel stepped down as Treasurer and Tim stepped in. I would like to thank Tim for his hard work this year.
We continue to live in strange times, and I hope to see all our Groups and District sections find new ways to continue Scouting. I have high hopes for the Explorer section and those wanting to complete their DofE.
Our District has many dedicated leaders and we should bear in mind that not all can continue to help due to shielding and being in at-risk groups. For many, work commitments and home life have become more important at present. They must not feel pressurised into needing to return. Please keep them involved by letting them know what you are up to and keeping them in the loop.
In October last year we lost our dear friend, fellow Scouter and District president John Hickman. John was a depth of knowledge and was always the one the Executive would turn to if they needed advice on P.O.R. or matters of accuracy. John will be greatly missed and, in a way to remember him, the Executive has decided to commission a trophy in his memory.
Lastly, I would like to personally thank Chris Evans, Martin Taylor and Dave Grimwood for their continued support.
Thank you to all
Glyn Pullen
This report was originally presented at the District AGM on 21 September

Petworth & Pulborough Scout District
West Sussex County Scouts, Lodge Hill, London Road, Watersfield, Pulborough, West Sussex, RH20 1LZ

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