Updated information from The Scouts published on 23rd March 2021:
It’s just under a week now until England moves into the Amber readiness level on Monday 29 March. This means that Sections can meet outdoors again. We know many Sections have already started to make plans for their return next week, but today we are updating our guidance based on updates from the National Youth Agency (NYA). The updates explain what will be possible for when we can meet face-to-face.
Larger Group sizes
Initially we communicated that Sections would be restricted to 15 young people meeting alongside five adults. We’re now pleased to say that the legal restriction on outdoor group sizes has been lifted, meaning there will be no restrictions on Section sizes able to meet outdoors. This will apply to all Sections including Scout Network, however for activities with no youth members present you will have to follow government guidelines for adults.
Whilst we hope that this is positive news which will help Sections to run their weekly meetings, we are still encouraging them to plan these in a way that minimises the risk of infection – these changes should also be reflected in their Amber risk assessments. Sections should be confident that you can still maintain social distancing measures and we’d encourage them to not exceed their numbers for a normal indoor section meeting.
If a Section is too small to be viable, without the necessary young people or volunteers, then these sections are able to join one other section in the Group. Larger Group, District and County events will remain prohibited, but we’re still hopeful they will return in the summer. You can view detailed guidance on the unrestricted group sizes on The Scouts readiness level webpage.
Activities away from your meeting place
We’ve also received clarification from the NYA on the need for Sections to stay local for trips and visits (including hikes). Whilst it is encouraged that Sections stay in their local area there is no longer a legal requirement to do so. This means if a Section has no access to an outdoor space nearby, they will be permitted to travel a bit further.
Whilst we hope this is welcome news, as we will not be as limited in the opportunities that we can offer young people, we’d also like to remind you that it’s all of our collective responsibility to try to minimise travel and minimise the risk of infection. We’d encourage Sections to stay as local as they possibly can, if there is no need for them to travel further. You can read more detail on the updated trips and visits guidance here.
Further funding available
Any of the Scout Groups who’ve been eligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant will be able to gain further support in April. They’ve also updated the guidance for Local Authorities which references Scout Groups as potential recipients of the grant. We hope this will make the process smoother and more consistent for you. You can find out more about the fund and how to apply here.
It’s important to remember that we’re still in the middle of the pandemic and we all have the duty to make sure we’re following the letter and spirit of the guidance. As Scouts we have a responsibility to look after each other and our communities, our actions should always reflect our values.
Thank you for your support in helping young people to meet face-to-face again. We know this new guidance may mean that plans need to be updated locally, but we believe this is a positive change and another step in the right direction.