Gone Home

We are sorry to announce the passing of John Clayton on 3rd September after suffering a stroke and being taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. John has been heavily involved in Scouting nearly all his life and will be sadly missed by all his friends and family.

John has fulfilled many roles in Scouting – being a Scout Leader, Group Scout Leader and Venture Scout Leader in Wolverhampton. After which, he and his wife Ann moved to Solihull where he had several roles and became one of the first four District Commissioners for the newly created Solihull Scout County in 1975. I was privileged to be one of the other DC’s – I led Solihull North and he led Solihull West and we enjoyed working as part of the new team. After his term of office finished, he became DC of Solihull North in 1989 and later Solihull East in 1996. As ACC Activities he started the Six Shropshire Summits Expedition which still continues to this day.

John has always been a committed and hard-working Scouter and was awarded the Silver Wolf in 1994 and in 2015 gained his Chief Scout’s 60 Years’ Service Award.

Even after the death of his beloved wife, Ann, and having various physical ailments including failing eye-sight, he remained a strong supporter of Scouting, and as a member of the County Scout Active Support team, he helped organise the annual indoor bowling and supper.

John’s life was one of total commitment to his family and to Scouting and he will certainly be missed. We thank him for his service to Scouting and know that there are many whose lives have been enhanced by his example and dedication. We send our condolences to his daughter Jacqui.


Spaces Available For EuroJam 2020

Unfortunately we have a couple of Scouts/Explorers who have dropped out of Eurojam due to unforeseen circumstances, therefore we have a couple of places outstanding. These spaces need to be filled by 21st July, so need to be filled as soon as possible.

We would love to have a full contingent from Solihull, please could you re-ask your Scouts/Explorers (especially now their friends might be attending) if they would like to go again.

There are already a number of fundraising activities being discussed and also taking place. The participants will need to pay £1,300 in four instalments, however the unit is hoping individuals will be able to fundraise the entire amount if they are committed (will be given back once the sum is paid upfront)

We are hoping to try and visit a number of groups over the next few weeks, to verbally explain Eurojam ourselves to the young people and answer any questions they may have.

Thanks

Eurojam Team


Annual General Meeting

 Wednesday 26th June 2019 Solihull Council Civic Suite  

Chairman’s Welcome

Youth Activities 2019

Kandersteg- 2nd Balsall Common and Galileo ESU

Trekking in Nepal – Intrepid and Drake ESU

Apologies for Absence  

Minutes of the 2018 AGM   

Presentation of the Annual Report (Chairman, County Commissioner)  

Presentation of the Accounts (Treasurer)

Acceptance of the Annual Report and Accounts

Appointment of Officers (Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer)

Appointment of Members to the County Scout Council

Appointment of Members to the County Executive

Appointment of Representatives to the Council of the Association

Appointment of an Independent Examiner

Conclusion    

Annual General Meeting of Solihull Scouts 20th June 2018
Solihull Council Civic Suite

Tony Townley the County Chairman, opened the meeting by welcoming the Worshipful The Mayor of Solihull, Councillor Mrs Flo Nash and her consort Honorary Alderman Alan Nash. He then opened the meeting with a short reading and a prayer 

Present
There were 69 Leaders present from the County. List retained by County Secretary.

Apologies for Absence
Ian Carnell, Ken Meeson, Tony Fitzgerald-1st Shirley GSL

Presentation

Three excellent presentations were given  highlighting activities carried out by young people in the County. Lord Amory-The Docklands Scout project by members of Intrepid and Drake ESU’s  who had previously been members of 6th Solihull (St Alphege). The second by Lauren Evans on Youth Shaped Scouting with a short video with voice-overs by Beavers, Cubs , Scouts and Explorers. The third presentation was by Intrepid ESU on their Cycle ride from London to Paris to raise funds for British Heart Foundation in memory of Andy Holt. £10,000 was raised.

Minutes of the 2018 AGM 

The minutes of the 2017 AGM were circulated within the AGM report pack for 2018.. The minutes were agreed to be a true record of that meeting and their acceptance was supported by a show of hands of those present.

County Chairman’s ReportTony Townley thanked Solihull for asking  him to be County Chairman and reiterated how proud  and honoured he had been to fulfil the role over the last 5 years. Tony’s full report is included in the Annual report.

County Commissioners Report County Commissioner, Shirley Brookes said that now her difficult start was over she now believed that the County had moved forward significantly with large numerical increases in young people-25% in the last 5 years and 6% in adults in the last year. She said how good the County Camp was and promised another in the near future. Shirley’s full report is in the main report.

Shirley thanked everyone for their support and also praised the earlier presentations, apologising for the Lord Amory incorrect group name (correct in these minutes).

She thanked Andy Baynes for his personal support in the DC changeover and made a personal
presentation to him.

Shirley then went on to thank Tony for his work and time as County Chairman and presented him with a Silver Thanks badge followed by a Solihull County Merit Badge urging him to wear it on his uniform to remember his time at Solihull.

Presentation of Accounts Ian Carpenter, the County Treasurer, talked the meeting through the accounts for the year. Highlighting the planned deficit of £5k used for work on the County HQ and County Camp.

Jamboree fund raising is going well, both staged payments have been made on time, the next payment being due in November 2018. A new account with CAF bank has been opened for the Jamboree team to help manage reconciliation of Jamboree fund raising and payments.

Solihull Day Care Centre who use County HQ building enjoy meeting there and work together well with
the County. A community Garden was planted by volunteers from The Princes Trust to brighten up the
outside area.

Next year 2018-19 could see more money being spent on training with the new Management Training modules being run regionally and consequently payments being made outside the County.

Special Needs may also be a higher cost to ensure that we manage inclusivity.

Ian expressed his thanks to Dave Landreth for scrutinising the accounts. Ian invited questions,
but none were raised.

Acceptance of the Annual Report and AccountsChair asked for and accepted a proposal from Greg Dodd for the annual report and accounts to be accepted. This was seconded by Alan Eccles and all agreed by a show of hands. Tony thanked Ian and David for their excellent work on the accounts.

Thanks were given to the various ACC’s for their work and the sectional reports 

Appointment of Officers (Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary)

County Chairman: The County Commissioner nominated Simon Hague as County Chairman for the ensuing year. This appointment was unanimously approved by the meeting. Simon took over the chair and led thanks and applause for Tony Townley the retiring Chair.

County Treasurer: Ian Carpenter was nominated by Mike Fear and Seconded by Chris Davies there being no other nominations it was unanimously agreed by the meeting that he would stand for a further year.

County Secretary: Bob Lane was nominated by Simon Hague, there being no other nominations it was unanimously agreed by the meeting that he would stand for a further year.

Appointment of Members to the County Scout Council

Cole District nominated Roger Pacey and Blythe District nominated John Kidner as the District Representatives to the County Scout Council. They were approved by the meeting.

Appointment of Members to the County Executive

The County Commissioner – Shirley Brookes (ex-officio)

The County Chairman – Simon Hague (ex-officio)

The County Secretary – Bob Lane (ex-officio)

The County Treasurer – Ian Carpenter (ex-officio)

The County Youth Commissioner – Lauren Evans (ex-officio)
The Regional Commissioner – Dan Potter has the right to attend

The remaining nominations are:

Ken Meeson (nominated by CC)

Matthew Spencer (nominated by CC)

Ian Carnell (Co-opted)

Sue Cheshire (Co-opted)

Andy Baynes (Co-Opted) with special responsibility for GDPR and Data Protection

Richard Skinner (Cole District nominated)

Trevor Richmond (Blythe District nominated) 

Greg Dodd (County Representative to Scout Council) 

There being no other nominations declared or from the floor the executive was elected en bloc by the meeting

Appointment of Representative to the Council of the Association 

The meeting approved the nomination Greg Dodd as the County Representative to the Council of the Scout Association.

The meeting approved the nomination of Lauren Evans as the County Youth Representative to the Council of the Scout Association.

They were both co-opted on to the County Executive.

Appointment of an Independent Examiner 

Tony had conveyed the County’s thanks to Dave Landreth, who has examined the County Accounts and agreed to examine them next year. 

The Worshipful The Mayor of Solihull Councillor Mrs Flo Nash

The Mayor said how appreciative she was of the work that Scouting does for young people in the Borough. The work that is done is important for the children to grow and develop. She was also pleased to see what is a brilliant mix across the Borough, working together with no demarcation of North or South. Scouting should be very proud of the work, which was highlighted in the videos of young people and adults and what can be achieved when they support themselves and each other.

Presentations

The County Commissioner made the following presentations:

Lauren Evans – Solihull Merit Award

Mat Spencer – Chief Scouts Commendation

Ian Carpenter – Bar to Silver Acorn

She also made note of the award of Bar to Silver Acorn to Dave Landreth and to the award of MBE to Ian Carnell

Conclusion

Simon closed the meeting by thanking all present for their attendance and invited all to join the Mayor in the refreshment room for a social conclusion to the evening.  He invited people to visit the information bases provided for 2019 Jamboree, Activities and Training.

Bob Lane

County Secretary-Solihull Scouts

Reports

County Executive Statement – County Chairman

Welcome to our 2019 Solihull Scouts Annual General Meeting. 

I hope that you have had a wonderful year.

My first twelve months in post as Chair has gone so quickly but not without things that we in Solihull should be incredibly proud of. In Shirley’s report, she has mentioned about the amazing things that our young members and leaders have achieved and from a County perspective, I want to thank EVERYONE that is involved in helping to make scouting such an attractive thing for our young people to do.

At a County level, we have had a busy year.

  • We have introduced a subsidy for Online Scout Manager to any group section in the county therefore helping them to meet their GDPR obligation, and to help in program planning.
  • A team have redesigned the County Website (https://solihullscouts.org.uk) to reflect a new modern design that adapts to the increase use of mobile and tablet access. It now is the engine for the Nights away Notification, training provisions, as well as a central point for news and information.
  • The county HQ in Hobs Moat has had an AV system installed to aid in training events.

None of this would have been possible without the support of the executive team and it has been a privilege to have been involved over the past 12 months. For what you have done – thank you.

My final thanks goes to Bob Lane – Bob has been County Secretary now for several years and has taken the decision this year to stand down. Bob has kept us organized, kept us focused and has really assisted in how the executive functions. Thanks Bob.

Simon
Chair, Solihull Scouts 

County Commissioners Report

I cannot believe that it is time for the County AGM again and I am writing my fourth annual report regarding the fantastic Scouting that is taking place across Solihull on a weekly basis thanks to so many committed and wonderful volunteers. AGM time always gives me an opportunity to reflect on what has happened over the last year and to think about the year to come.

This time last year I was reporting that our numbers of youth members had increased and this year continues this trend, albeit with a slightly more modest growth of 2.5%. Due to the hard work of many leaders and parents, we now have more youth members than ever with 2408 regularly involved, including a re-opened 1st Hampton-in-Arden Scout Troop. This is a 16% increase on our numbers just five years ago. Our adult membership has seen a slight decrease of 0.6% to 567 adults with appointments, but that number does not recognise the many Occasional Helpers who we could not manage without.

Our young people have had amazing opportunities both at their section nights and at District and County events to gain many badges along the way. It has been a great pleasure and privilege to present so many top Scouting awards, and many Explorers have also achieved Duke of Edinburgh awards. Whilst we did not have any Queen’s Scouts during the last year, I am sure that we will see some of those achieving Gold Duke of Edinburgh awards also completing their QSA shortly.

There have been many things to celebrate over the last 12 months – the amazing activities, trips and learning of new skills which our young people have experienced; the increasing co-operation and mutual support across groups and districts; and the launch of our fantastic new website. But there have also been challenges to be dealt with, particularly in recruiting new volunteers to manager, leader and supporter roles alike; dealing with some teething troubles with the new website; and in protecting the welfare of vulnerable young people and adults. I welcome the greater openness in talking about mental health and about unseen disabilities
and I can foresee that we will need to focus on better preparing ourselves to support these young people and adults.

Nationally the Scouts is moving forward with programmes of work to further support us in preparing young people with skills for life. This includes digital programme planning tools, off the shelf programmes and simplifying training. There are plans to improve the way that we recruit and welcome adults into Scouting and to review the provision of Scouting to the 14 to 25 year olds. More information on all of these workstreams and more can be found on the Scouts website.

I know that we already have amazing leaders here in Solihull and it has been my privilege to present long service and good service awards to quite a few of them. If you know of others who you think deserve recognition, then please let Ian Carnell know – there’s a link on the website to make it easy for you. 

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has a County or District role for their much valued support. And I would like to thank everyone involved in Scouting in Solihull for everything that you do, whether it’s weekly, monthly or just once a year. As Baden-Powell said “the most worth-while thing is to try to put happiness into the lives of others” and I think that is what we do.

Shirley
County Commissioner

Beaver

Beaver Scouting is still very much alive and kicking here in Solihull County, we’ve seen growth in the Beaver Section across the County with Colonies going from strength to strength, most have long waiting lists as unable to take more in due to the need for more adult help

Looking back over the past year serves to outline just how much Beaver Scouting does go on in the County, District and Groups. I have again had the fortune to be involved with so many Beaver Scouting activities within the area and witnessed at first hand the commitment and hard work of so many leaders resulting in exciting and challenging programmes and activities.

Chief Scouts Bronze Awards Presentation Evenings
Octobers presentation saw 55 young people receive their bronze award, whiles the June evening saw a staggering 79 An outstanding achievement by our young people and my personal thanks to Leaders and Parents for there help and support in helping the young people of Solihull achieve the highest award in the Beaver Section. The next Chief Scouts Bronze Awards Presentation will be held on Friday 22nd November 2019, at St Mary’s Church Hobs Meadow, Solihull 

County Carol Service
County Beaver & Cub Carol Service – This was held on 5th December at Knowle Parish Church, as this was the first time we’d tried a joint Beaver and Cub combined service we were apprehensive as to how it would work out, we had a few teething problems with seating due to a large amount of parents taking seating allocated for the Beavers, Cubs, Colonies and Packs failing to advise if they were going to be attending. However with the outstanding work of the Church Staff and the County & District Team, we were soon sorted and we seated 522 people, absolutely outstanding effort team. 

During the service, a collection was taken for two charities, Signpost Inclusion and Solihull Young Carers. The collection totalled £681.60, this was a magnificent total, I was so proud of all those who raised the money in so many different ways and who thought of the needs of other children.

This Year’s service will again be held at Knowle Parish Church on Tuesday 3rd December 2019, we have booked all 3 buildings this year to alleviate the overcrowding suffered at last year’s service 

County Beaver Handicraft Competition 2019
This is a new competition that we decided as a team would be another challenge for our young people to undertake. The competition was held at 6th Shirley’s Headquarters in March 2019. The theme chosen was St George & The Dragon, the young people were given 2 hours in which to create their own interpretation of St George or The Dragon from a list of junk supplied by each team

Unfortunately, we had a poor turnout, but the 3 teams that entered had a lot of fun constructing there creative masterpieces 

Outstanding effort by all concerned and we look forward to seeing more teams next year. The date for next year’s competition will be on Saturday 29th March 2020 and will be held at 1st Solihull headquarters, Mill Pool, Solihull 10 am to 2 pm

County Beaver Skills Competition 2019
This is another new event being introduced to try the minds of our young people. The event will be held at 1st Solihull’s headquarters on Saturday 19th October 2019, more details to follow.

District Beaver Activities

Cole Beavers
Solihull Cole has done a lot of events this year organised ADC Beavers, Ian and his team of District Beaver Leaders, Sheila Cole and Jonathan Booth they’ve put on some interesting adventures for the Beavers to enjoy, My personal thanks for all there efforts supporting our Young People.

They held a District Beaver Sports morning followed by Fun Day on the weekend 23rd & 24th June 2018 at 1st Solihull HQ which included grass skis, craft bases, parachute games, water slide, blind rope trail, archery and football. There had been a very good attendance. This was followed by a District Beaver Sleepover which had involved a good number of Beavers and leaders.  The programme included a scavenger hunt, 2-course dinner,  campfire singsong with Sherlock, a story from the DC, drinks, some sleep and morning activities based on the Outdoor Challenge.  The closing ceremony was at midday on Sunday

Other events included: a District Beaver Get Together held at 1st Olton, a District Swimming Gala held at Stechford Cascades and participation in the very successful District St. George’s Day Parade at Knowle.

The colonies have all been active with many of the Colonies full with waiting lists.

Blythe Beavers
My thanks to Tracey Pearmain who has been carrying out the role of ADC Beavers in Blythe, until recently as Tracey has asked to switch roles with Jaqui Daniel, District Beaver Leader due to personal commitments 

My personal thanks for your support, we’re not losing Tracey from the team as she is going to support Jaqui in her new role.

The colonies have all been active with many of the Colonies full with waiting lists.

My Personal thanks go to all the Beaver Leaders, Assistants and Colony Helpers across the County for their support, enthusiasm and hard work for Scouting within Solihull.  

I know that Scouting and the Young People in this area have certainly benefited from their commitment and dedication.

Chris
Assistant County Commissioner Beavers

Cubs

What a busy year cubs have had all the adventures they have been on, the new friendships that have been formed and the skills for life that they have learnt. This would not have been possible without the hard work of all the leaders and other volunteers that support the cubs. Over the last year cubs in Solihull have taken part in lots of camps, learnt how to play boules, built creations out of junk in the pack model competition, went head to head against other packs in the annual cole swimming gala, and joined together with the beavers at Christmas for a joint carol service. 

We have had lots more cubs be awarded with their Chief Scout Silver Award that was presented to them by the County Commissioner and the Mayor of Solihull, this is the highest award that can be gained whilst in the cubs. Thank you to Ian Carnell for his continued support with the presentations and supporting me with the role as ACC Cubs. 

Emily
Assistant County Commissioner Cubs

Scouts

Where did the year go? With so much going on it flashed by all too quickly. As always much fun & adventure has taken place across the whole county on both section nights & away on camps/outings which is what scouting is all about.

All that hard work providing the fun & adventure is purely down to the continued commitment & dedication of all adult leaders & helpers. Your efforts without a shadow of a doubt have a very positive & influential impact upon our young members & once more on behalf of all the scouts across the county I would just like to say “thank you” to each & every one of you involved at whatever level.

District & county events have once again been well supported & enjoyed enormously by all participants.

The annual County cooking competition at Millpool Woods attracted the largest number of entrants to date from across both districts. Despite the mixed bag of weather very impressive team efforts made for an exciting & very competitive event where all teams had to prepare & cook using an open fire a two course meal for 4 people.

“Operation Chameleon 2018” was a huge success.

Over 600 scouts, explorers & leaders boarded a fleet of coaches & minibuses from Blythe Valley Business park & headed off to a new secret location to play one huge game of “hide & seek”. The venue for the event was the beautiful Forest of Dean & the Wye Valley. For those unfamiliar with the concept teams of scouts & explorers meet at Blythe Valley. Upon arrival, they receive a kit check & briefing before being put on coaches & taken to a mystery drop off point. Maps are then provided & the challenge is to make their way to Mission Control by a given deadline whilst avoiding capture from one of several catching teams also out in the play zone. There are also challenges along the route to undertake. The scout & explorer teams caught the least pick up the trophies as do the catching team who successfully capture the most teams.

Planning for Operation Chameleon 2019 is already well underway…

The county night hike took place on a Saturday night back in February based in a new area near Corley. This event is open to both scouts & explorers. Approx 400 participants took on the 10 mile or 13 mile routes in the race to pick up “The Boot” trophy for the fastest scout team & “Walking Stick” for the fastest Explorer team. Many thanks as always to the huge leader support team, Network & finally SAS who start cooking breakfast for all in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The scouting highlight for me has to be the visit to Solihull Council Chambers for the presentation of Chief Scouts Gold certificates by the mayor. The recipients were then also invited into the mayors’ parlour for a unique photo opportunity. My congratulations go to all the recipients – an awful lot of hard work, time & effort goes into achieving this award, the highest to be presented within the scout section. It is indeed a proud moment for the scouts, parents & leaders alike.

Finally, I just wish to thank the ADC scouts for Blythe (Pete Austin) & Cole (Michael Blake) for their continued help & support. Both work hard to motivate, support & share resources across the troops within their districts.

Paul
Assistant County Commissioner Scouts

Explorers

Another terrific year for Explorer Scouting this year. Explorer numbers on Census were up slightly on last year, though a slight fall in Leader numbers.

The County Night Hike in February saw a new venue and a new route. The route proved a challenge for some, though clearly not for Galileo who romped home to win the trophy this year. A seriously cold night all round though.

March saw teams taking part in The Chase Walk again, with a very strong performance from across the County, taking all but 2 of the 8 categories, and teams from Intrepid ESU leading the way. A terrific effort!

This years’ 6 Summits in Shropshire had Explorer numbers slightly down again on previous years, but another weekend to savour.

Numerous sleep-outs, bivouacs, Unit camps, and all levels of Chief Scouts and Duke of Edinburgh Award Expeditions, have been held in all corners of the country, and a bit further afield. In particular, a recent monumental trip by Drake & Intrepid to Nepal. Undoubted hard work, but a terrific experience for all concerned.

We look forward to sending 18 Explorers and 2 Leaders from Solihull, joining with young people and Leaders from Coventry, to make a joint unit going to the 24th World Scout Jamboree in July/August at Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve, West Virginia.

A great Scouting year all round with much to celebrate, and look forward to!

Richard
Assistant County Commissioner Explorers

Youth Shaped 

This year has seen further progression with youshaping Solihull! We have been able to transform groups who had no idea about the youshape initiative, and even knock down some boundaries with leaders who may not have agreed with youshaping (yes- unbelievable!). We’ve been able to help young people have an impact on their own scouting journey yet again. As leaders, by allowing your young people have their views and ideas heaed it means they’ll be able to get more out of scouting, purely because its what they’ve chosen to do rather than being told what to do! By taking part in youshape you’ll soon start to realise the potential and imagination your young people really do have, from beavers through to explorers, who will thrive on your trust and faith!

As part of my role, I attended the Imoveit skills weekend, at Blackwell court. This was an event held for 18-25 year olds who currently or in the future will hold managerial roles without scouting. This was a weekend with other young people in the region where we were taught managerial skills, life skills and communication skills. From this, I was able to take back some ideas and some skills, which I have been able to use with my Youth commissioner role.

February was youshaped month, the last one that the scout association plans to run. This year we encouraged groups to do something on an individual and group led basis to help with their program and event planning.

The end of 2018 started the discussion around ‘mini managerial skills’ weekend. This weekend occurred in January 2019, where we really did see some great potential! The young people (of all sections) took part in games, leadership skills, team working, individual work, communication skill and importantly had fun! This led to positive feedback from the leaders and young people alike, meaning we are running this again! We’re proud to say we expect this to be a rolling event, which will take part every year, hopefully twice a year. The next ‘mini managerial skills’ weekend will be the end of September. Please come and join us!

We have also planned for the young leaders in the county to organise an event or a day out for one of the younger sections in scouting. This is something they will have the entire free run of choosing (with some direction!) including the section, the venue, the activities and every little minor detail required. This will then lead to them being able to see just how much planning goes into events in scouting whilst giving them leadership skills which are vital to them in scouting, and as life skills. We hope to meet with the young leaders at the end of this year to allow them a few months of planning their events, where they will be split into smaller groups to have a focus area of the day (such as budgeting, activities, travel and minor arrangements required) which will hopefully be undertaken in April next year.

Lastly, I would like to thank Charlotte, Blythe Youth Commissioner, the other half my Youth commissioner team! She works tirelessly and has some amazing ideas, which have helped bridge the gap to make Solihull more you shaped over the last year! If theres anyone who would like to be Cole youth commissioner, please let us know, we’d love to work with you!

Lauren
County Youth Commissioner

Special Needs

Welcome to our new title of ‘Inclusivity’, the concept of which is to make the topic more user friendly and specific.  We need to consider whether parents are in denial when their children join a section/group and try to encourage an open and frank one-to-one discussion in order that leaders can provide the required support.  The use of a formal parent/guardian form may prove useful when talking to parents.  The stigma of any problem must be removed by having an initial frank discussion and being able to work through the situation.  Last year we referred to an HQ publication ‘Parent or Carer Conversation Framework’ which is a very good guideline.

Again this year County has been well supported by TAB and SoLo and we have the advantage that several of our leaders and District staff are also employed by SoLo enabling us to get professional advice for our Scouting needs.  A one off course at County HQ was organised via SoLo called ‘Autism Awareness Course’ which was very well attended and extremely informative.  The speaker had autism so the whole presentation was given through his eyes and with his perspective of someone having to cope and deal with situations as he saw them.  It really gave an insight into how anyone with autism can be misunderstood and hopefully more seminars like this can be organised in the future.

HQ do offer a great deal of support for all our members i.e.

Special Advisers for Inclusion and Diversity – specialist.diversity@scouts.org.uk.    

UK commissioner for Inclusion – Tom Milson – tom.milson@scouts.org.uk.

Bespoke Specific Advice – ADHD Foundation – www.adhdfoundation.org.uk

National Autistic Society – www.nas.org.uk

Mind (Mental Health) – www.mind.org.uk

Nip in the Bud (Mental Health) – www.nip.org.uk

Note:  O.C.D. (Obsessive Compulsion Disorder) is on the Autistic spectrum but it is not recognised as such.

Finally I cannot praise and thank the leaders enough for their care and understanding in helping both young and vulnerable people within the Scouting community.

John
Assistant County Commissioner Special Needs

Training

During the past year we have seen some considerable changes to training, both in attitude and methods.  Leaders are appreciating that not only is it a requirement and commitment but also provides a benefit to them and their sections with new skills and knowledge to achieve more balance within their programmes.

The major overhaul has been in the Management and Supporters role (i.e. Commissioners/GSL’s) where training has been specifically aimed at managing and growing of their specialist field of Scouting – group/district/county level.  The scheme has been trialled and run for approximately 12 months and so far the feedback from those who have done the courses is very complimentary.

Additional training for section leadership is also being planned particularly with regard to Inclusion Modules (Special Needs).  This was left as optional some years ago but is now regarded as essential.  HQ have partnered with the National Autistic Society (NAS) to enable adults in Scouting to access ‘e’ learning modules on autism.  There are 3 modules to complete: (1) Understanding Autism, (2) Autism Sports and Physical Activity, and (3) Autism Stress and Anxiety.

Each module  should take approximately 1 hour to complete with an assessment at the end.  Access can be found through Compass, Training, then on to the Modules Schedule.

As a County we have now begun to run some ‘Getting Started’ Modules and hopefully over the next few months the numbers of additional modules will be expanded.  We are trying to eventually have complete training within the County which should make it more convenient for all our leaders.  All training dates and venues are published on the web site.

Thank you to everyone who helps deliver the training, both as presenters and training advisers.  Without your input we could not run the courses. 

John
County Training Manager

Scout Active Support

We continue to run with a steady number of approximately 36 but in order to keep going we really need new members, especially ‘young blood’ as most of us are now at a ‘certain age’!  We meet alternative months and have a variety of interesting speakers plus outings and would really welcome more people who have either been in Scouting in some capacity or are still leaders or helpers.  Please get in touch with me if you are interested and I can give you more information.

I am delighted to report that two of our members received Awards this year – Dick received the Silver Wolf and Mike the Award of Merit – both richly deserved for all their hard work and dedication to Scouting.

A request went out to our members for assistance in marshalling the traffic at last year’s St. George’s Day Parade held in Knowle and we were able to provide help.  As usual, we also welcomed everyone to the AGM in June and ensured the attendance lists were completed for both District AGMs and the County AGM.  

Unfortunately our planned speaker for May 2018 had to cancel but we filled the gap by holding a quiz – always a popular and competitive evening.  In July we once more attended Hall Green Little Theatre and this time saw a comedy entitled ‘One Man, Two Governors’ which was very entertaining. In September we had a fascinating talk entitled ‘My Early Years at the Savoy Hotel’ which was really interesting. November, as always, is the month we have a fun evening with games, quizzes etc. followed by a fish & chip supper.

Our Carol Service took place in the lovely Chapel of St. Mary’s Church, Hobs Moat, attended by members of both Districts and County staff.  The collection went to a very deserving cause, Solihull Young Carers.

The first meeting of 2019 was held in January where we took a trip abroad via slides and accompanying anecdotes from one of our own members.  Chris entertained us with his adventures and experiences travelling on his motor bike.  

Another of our annual events is the ever popular Beer & Skittles evening held at the Hall Green Home Guard Club and this takes place in March and is always a sell out.  Not only do we enjoy several extremely competitive games of skittles but we also have a ‘free’ raffle and a delicious home cooked meal.  

In May we had a most entertaining and fascinating talk by a lady who received an invitation in 2016 from Buckingham Palace to receive Maundy Money.  We learned of the history of this ancient ceremony and the preparation that goes into making it all run with absolute precision.  A wonderful and enlightening talk by Mrs Philp who not only entertained us with her preparations for the big day but also brought along the Money and the beautiful Programme giving every detail of the whole service. 

My grateful thanks, as always, to Barbara for booking speakers and outings, Mike for balancing the books and Dick who helps organise outdoor events but most of all to our members for their continued support.

Sue
County Scout Active Support Manager

International

This year was a busy one with international activities from groups across the county. The summer saw Balsall Common Scouts and Galileo Explorers undertake a week multi-activity camp at Kandersteg International Scout Centre, Switzerland. At the same time 1st Chelmsley Wood and 2nd Smiths Wood were enjoying the sun in Spain with various activities and cultural experiences culminating in a trip to Barcelona.

Two members of Scout Network/Explorers were selected to represent Solihull at Roverway 2018 joining Scouts from across the world in the Netherlands with a focus personal development of the participants as part of their role in society. They were also joined by our own County Commissioner, Shirley Brookes, as an IST member.

The last-minute collapse of the airline they were booked to use for their trip to Nepal did not put off the leaders of Intrepid and Drake Explorers who’s hard work and dedication allowed the trip to still go ahead. The group spent the Easter break trekking through Nepal, a once-in-lifetime opportunity for all those involved.

Preparation for future trips has been in full swing and we have been fortunate to be allocated a whole unit (36 young people and 4 leaders) for the 2019 European Jamboree (Eurojam) in Gdansk, Poland. Leaders have now been selected as well as the young people so training and fundraising can now start in earnest. We have also secured 5 International Service Team (IST) spaces available so if you are interested in going to Eurojam then please get in touch.  

This summer will see 1st Marston Green and Orion Explorers joining 4,000 scouts form more than 15 other countries attending the Haarlem Jamborette in The Netherlands. As well as a full 10 day on-site jamboree programme there will also be chance to hike through Dutch landscapes.

After almost 4 years in the planning we will be waving off the 18 young people, 2 adults and 1 IST who will be attending the World Scout Jamboree in USA in July as a combined unit with Coventry Scouts. The team have worked extremely hard in training and fundraising but this wouldn’t have been possible with lots of support from around the county. We wish them all the best on their adventure and look forward to hearing all about it.

It’s fantastic to see a year-on-year increase in trips abroad and would not be possible without the hard work of all leaders involved, thank you for enabling so many of our young people to gain international Scouting experience.

Tim
Assistant County Commissioner International

Activities 

With many reports for you all to read this year I’m going to keep mine as short and sweet as possible. 

Firstly though this is my last report as ACC Activities as I took the decision earlier this year to stand down from my role, and to join the county training team. I’d like to thank Shirley, the ACC team, my county advisors and all county leaders for your help and support over my three years as ACC Activities. Until a replacement is appointed I’m still happy to field any questions. I also wish my successor all the best within this role.

This year my role has predominantly been in an advisory capacity. Many of you have come forward with questions regarding the activities provision within the county and the opportunity’s to acquire permits for activities. In some instances I’ve relied on my activity advisors or people have gone straight to them. I’d like to thank Andy, Bob, Brian and Trevor for there support over the past year with the help they give to the county in there respective advisory roles. And please do continue to ask questions of any of us for those things burning away.

I’m please to be able to say that our permit holder list on the county has increased this year, which is great to see that you want to conduct activities yourselves at every opportunity. Springing straight to mind are new tomahawk instructors and people progressing through their kayak permits.

If there are any permits for activities we don’t have assessors for as I’m able to advise you where there is a provision to get you signed off.

If you have any questions about a permit you hold then please do talk to me and I can advise as best as I can.

Mike
Assistant County Commissioner Activities (Out Going)

Network

Cole Network

Since last AGM we have had two new members, which is promising! And kept all our original members; some are currently having breaks but are all still firmly members!

We have moved our meeting date to a Wednesday which helps everyone, and are continuing to meet every Wednesday, whilst trying to build up an agreement with the help of Cole to help the transition between explorers and network and helping explorers post 18. 

We have been two festival camp at Rough close in July with big numbers of succession, and Gilwell Reunion in September. We have had our weekly meetings such as going archery, fires, bowling, pub quizzes and also helped with district at swimming gala and night hike, with most of us being leaders elsewhere so partaking in DLM, St. George’s and remembrance day parade. 

We also completed, for the first time ever(!!) our gold duke of Edinburgh practice as a group, which was strenuous but goes to show it’s doable in network! Two of us have completed our gold dofe since, and two more yet to complete. This meant we have had a lot of practice walks in the mean time and planning evenings which led to a success. 

We have also been still trying to maintain the hut, which is at a maintenance level, which is undergoing plans with district as to where we go next, which is working well!

Lauren
Cole Network

County Communications and Media

This year has seen the launch of the new Solihull Website, which a massive thanks goes out to Mat Spencer for doing a lot of the major work on. The new website is still going through some tweaks and alterations, but we’re really proud of what has been in such a short time.

I have also been working with the Jamboree Unit to create a series of short videos to introducing themselves and I will be continuing to work with them over Summer whiles they are on their adventures!

I’m very pleased to say that our social following has increased across platforms over the last year, this has only been possible through news stories coming from the groups across Solihull. So I’d encourage you to get in contact with me if you have any story, big or small, that we can share both within Scouting and outside of scouting.

Peter
County Communications Manger