A weekend of celebrations


Looking back through my notes, it’s hard to imagine how I have crammed everything in this week; but spring seems to have finally arrived, at least for the weekend. It all started with me joining 47 District Commissioners, and similar post holders at Gilwell on Monday for the second of this year’s DC Induction Days.

The role of DC is vital in ensuring that we support section leaders through the district team, including Group Scout Leaders who provide the vital link in that support. It’s also good for me to hear first hand of the challenges they face and shares ideas for how we might be able to improve aspects of the central support.

After the opening, it’s back to a series of meetings with volunteer and staff colleagues to discuss a number of those support projects we presently have underway and agree next steps. Groups I met on Monday covered our diversity action plans (ensuring Scouting is more inclusive), website developments, parental engagement and adult support teams.

A quick visit back to the DC’s to join them for coffee and a sticky bun  and then I’m off back home for a few days.

A conference call on Thursday with the Chairman, Finance s/c, Director of Finance and CEO to discuss the proposed budget for the coming year before its consideration by the Board of Trustees who met on Saturday, answered some questions I had.

Back to Gilwell on Friday for a very busy two days, the day included a meeting with Keren who has just joined us as Director of Corporate Services (replacing the role of The Secretary) as part of her induction. As one of our senior staff team, Keren is responsible for areas such as safeguarding, records, membership services, legal services and the archives amongst others.

On Friday evening we were joined by Peter Duncan for a reception to mark the unveiling of his portrait and launch of a DVD celebrating his time as Chief Scout from 2004 to 2009. It has been a tradition to have a portrait of each Chief Scout and Peter’s is a great tribute to the changes he helped us introduce in the public perception of Scouting. The portrait includes Scouts from Leyton (who joined us for the evening) and Luxembourg (who couldn’t join us!) whilst they were using the high ropes at Gilwell.

Saturday saw the quarterly meeting of the  Board of Trustees  where we considered and approved a number of items covering  marketing and communications, fundraising, our action plans (business objectives) for next year, Vision 2018, financial budgets and the structure of reporting committees etc.

We took a break at lunchtime to join our guest, Peter Harrison, for the opening of the latest residential block at Gilwell. This brings the total investment in the facilities at Gilwell over the past 6 years to over £11m! We have also recently received planning consent to develop the National Centre at Youlbury and hope to commence a £5m investment there very shortly.

Before leaving Gilwell, I had time to join the 30 strong management team for the UK contingent to the Swedish Jamboree who have been meeting at Gilwell for the weekend and took the opportunity to find out how planning is going (very well they assured me) and to thank them for their commitment.

Finally back to Guernsey in time to join Julie at a local horseracing evening…… raising funds for the local contingent to the Jamboree!

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