Wayne's very own TOWIE experience


Another busy week saw Wayne joining 300 leaders in Essex, 50 young leaders in Derbyshire and 500 Rotarians at their convention. He also had an inspiring meeting with Toby Hewson, CEO of Just Different.

The Great Big Essex Expo

My evening arrival at the Premier Inn in Brentwood proved quite an eye opener. However, it wasn’t until I arrived at The Great Big Essex Expo – a fantastic conference open to all leaders in the county – that one of the organisers, DCC Liz Smith, explained that it was a popular bolthole for TOWIE tourists. If only I'd known beforehand!

The Essex Scouts 'way' is innovative, and it was great so many leaders came together for an exciting day of workshop sessions with imaginative themes, along with displays from a variety of exhibitors.

Rotary Clubs

Prior to my Brentwood stopover, I spent the afternoon with 500 Rotarians from District 1250 (Surrey, West Sussex and East Sussex) as guest speaker. I've mentioned before the great synergies between Scouting and The Rotary Club. I have encouraged Rotarians to engage with local groups, and to make the most of shared values and opportunities in order to make a real difference and to influence their peers around current Scouting.

Learning about disability and difference

One of the exhibitors in the House of Friendship – an area at all Rotarian conferences open to charities and other exhibitors – was Toby Hewson. Toby is the founder and CEO of a small charity called Just Different.

The charity aims to educate children, young people and adults about disability and difference. If you are in the South East Region please do check them out; I was certainly inspired by Toby's own story.

Derbyshire’s Young Leader's weekend

A drive north after opening the Great Essex Expo and I arrived at Drum Hill Campsite in Derbyshire; 50 Young Leaders spent a weekend undertaking seven of their modules as well as learning and taking part in a wide variety of activities.

CC Tom Stoddart and I spent time answering their questions and seeking their views on lots of topics concerning Explorer Scouting and Scouting in general.

Earlier on in the week I ventured to Bristol for a focus group discussion for St John Ambulance. I took the opportunity to catch up with one of our elected Trustees, Stephen Lake, Dean of Gloucester.

Who's in Lancing?

I also took the opportunity to visit Lancing, location of Scouts Shops Ltd and Unity Scout Insurance Services Ltd. I caught up with the staff teams and we discussed Scout Shops' support for the Movement and the development of District Scout shops. These are the locally-run outlets that supply more than 40% of the uniforms to our members, so it's in everyone's interests that they are better supported.

It may surprise you to know that in addition to the £2m-plus surpluses generated by Scout Shops (which are all paid back to the Association), a further £800,000 is earned by Districts and other local voluntary shops for local use. This can be as much £4 to £5 per member in an average-sized District.

Last stop for the week is Birmingham, where I will catch up with the latest of our Scouts Speak Up events.


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