Our County Development Service has had another productive year working alongside new and existing volunteers and in partnership with our scout districts, scout groups, explorer scout units and local communities to support the growth of scouting across South London ensuring we continue to provide life changing adventure to more young people.
Our development service remains central to the county’s approach to the growth and development of scouting across our five districts and the county remains committed to maintaining the service. Towards the end of 2017 we carried out a county-wide review of operations to ensure we are providing the most effective support. This meant with the introduction of our new county structure - which now has a focus of People, Programme, Places, Perception and Governance - the County’s Development Steering Group was disbanded and the discussions and decisions relating to the strategic direction of growth and development of scouting across the county moved to our newly formed County Leadership Team (consisting of the county commissioner, deputy county commissioners, district commissioners and development officer). This has resulted in Matt being able to work in ‘real time’ with the team who together identify the projects that we provide support to. This has also cut down on the amount of reporting and duplicate discussions that had previously taken place.
In hand with this we rolled out our new support model to ensure that the service continues to provide effective, focussed, impactful support to groups, units and districts and prioritise resources to areas where they can have the most impact, whilst ensuring that all parts of the county receive the support that they need. This means that the County Development Service provides direct support and guidance in areas relating to:
- Adult recruitment
- Opening new provision
- group health check workshops
- growth and recruitment workshops
- district development days
Support for line managers
- support for District Commissioners and Group Scout Leaders
- Group Scout Leader inductions
- recruitment materials
- recruitment stand equipment loan
- section taster evening activities
- going for growth tools
- on-line tools and resources
Support to growth facilitators
- induction of growth facilitators
- support for volunteers that have responsibility for growth
In addition, district commissioners are working more closely with HQ’s Regional Services Team to explore additional projects that can be supported. This is predominantly with a view to assisting with the opening of new sections.
We would like to pass on our sincere thanks to the members of the Development Steering Group – Andy Melia, Linda Hurford, Martyn Bain, Chris Ellison, Philippa Jones and Trevor Quinton – who have provided invaluable insight, support and guidance to the county in managing the development service over recent years. We know that you all continue to support the development of scouting across the county and we look forward to working with you all in different ways within our new structure.
Thank you Linda and Andy
In December we sadly bid farewell to Linda Hurford, our Assistant County Commissioner for Development, as she is moving home to pastures new. Linda managed the Development and Administration Services on a day-to-day basis. The introduction of our new way of working has also seen Andy Melia stand down as our Deputy County Commissioner for Development and District Support. Andy was the lead for our Development Steering Group and provided direct support to our District Commissioners. Andy and Linda have both been valued members of our development team for many years and both have made a substantial contribution in helping to ensure that the development service is embedded into the day-to-day support of scouting in the county at all levels. Together they have also assisted in ensuring that the development service is sustainable well into the future. On behalf of the county, we would like to sincerely thank Linda and Andy for their dedication and commitment in supporting our staff and helping to communicate the importance of providing focussed support for development and setting the direction of development in the county. We wish Linda and Russell all the best for the future. We also wish Andy continued success as he takes up his new role on the county team as our Assistant County Commissioner for Special Projects and continues in his role as a trustee on the County Executive Committee.
With Linda’s departure and as part of the county team restructure, line management of our employees has moved to the County Commissioner and County Chair, with Martyn working with Reina and Darren working with Matt.
During the year we have seen more new sections opening across the county and these include a Beaver Scout Colony at the 4th Royal Eltham, a second Scout Troop at the 40th Greenwich, Beavers, Cubs and Scouts at the 1st Brixton and Cubs at 100th Wandsworth.
Throughout the year Matt has also continued to assist with successfully driving adult recruitment, promoting the opportunities we have to volunteer. This has been through providing resources to help groups recruit locally, some targeted campaigns and using our regular recruitment channels. Collectively we recruited 184 new leaders and supporters into scouting over the last 12 months, to help with local scouting across the county (not including Occasional Helpers).
Going for Growth
In April we were excited to launch our Going for Growth badge scheme. The scheme consists of 13 badges which can be easily run as part of a sections weekly programme and are designed to help promote to the people in the local community the amazing things that happen in the colony, pack, troop or unit each week.
The badges cover the following areas:
- Shouting about scouting
- Bring your friends
- Easy linking between sections
- Growing your adult membership
- Community awareness and involvement
- Gaining top awards and taking part in a quality programme
You can find out more about the scheme and download the badge requirements and resources HERE.
Matt has also continued to develop the tools and resources section of our website to help our groups. This year he has focussed on recruiting and supporting Group Scout Leaders, with the development of the Group Scout Leaders Toolkit (southlondonscouts.org.uk/members-area/tools-and-resources), and materials to support our District Commissioners in recruiting GSLs. This is an area he will be continuing to support as we move forward into our new county strategy to 2023.
As we start to think about our new county plan, and the ways that we can recruit more adults to become leader and support our leaders in providing quality programmes for more young people, Matt will continue to provide the support identified by the County Leadership Team and provide relevant support in the areas of People, Programme, Perception, Places and Governance.