Attending public Remembrance Sunday events is an important part of many Scout Groups’ regular autumn term calendar. Inevitably, things will be very different this year. In adapting what we do, Scout Groups and Districts should focus on keeping our members safe and on ensuring that all young people understand what it is that we are remembering. This is more important than formal participation in public events.
Currently, it is highly likely that most Remembrance events will not take place in their traditional form due to the complexity of managing the covid risk and the vulnerable age profile of many of the regular attendees. Where these local events are cancelled, Scout Groups should respect the decision and should not organise alternative events at War Memorials on Remembrance Sunday.
In many cases local events will be replaced with virtual events. Scout Groups are encouraged to join their local online events, or to organise their own virtual Remembrance, building on our virtual Scouting learnings in the Red phase of the pandemic. You could approach local branches of the Royal British Legion to join in these, or to provide speakers. When joining a public video event it’s important to talk to the organisers to make sure that two leaders are admitted into the call before its opened up to the general public, to ensure good safeguarding. Remembrance can also be built into weekly Scouting programmes. Look out for some great resources on scouts.org.uk between now and Remembrance Day with some great socially distant activities to do with your sections. You could:
- Visit the local War Memorial as part of a hike on your regular meeting night
- Ask section members to wear poppies and have a brief silence at the end of the meeting
- Do Remembrance craft activities
- Research the names on the local memorial on the Commonwealth War Graves website.
If public events are taking place in any of the territories that UK Scouting operates in, and that are not at Green status, Scout Groups should talk to the organisers to discuss what sort of participation is safe and appropriate. Any Scout involvement would need to respect the rules for Scout events, eg: number limits, social distancing rules etc., and would need clear stewarding arrangements to ensure that the general public do not breach social distancing guidelines towards Scouts. Scout participation should be limited to the outdoors part of any event, eg: not attending an indoor church service before or after the 11am silence. We should also avoid parading through the streets since it’s more difficult to monitor social distancing when moving than when standing still. We should not take on any roles that involve close contact with the public, eg: issuing orders of service at War Memorials.
Many Groups will decide to send representation from the Group rather than encouraging the whole Group to attend as usual. If a small group attends to lay a wreath they will need to maintain the appropriate distance from themselves and others. If young people are involved in the wreath laying then the normal supervision ratios apply.
Groups who want to attend any public events as Scouts should check that the organisers have completed a thorough risk assessment, and should complete one themselves for the group’s involvement, eg: arrangements for drop off and pickup, distancing and hygiene plan, etc. Since this will be a new location for meeting face to face under COVID, and a complex event unlikely to have been anticipated in earlier risk assessments, a new risk assessment needs to be approved via the Smartsheet system.
As many of you may know our District will be holding a virtual Remembrance Service on the 8th November, we will be joined by both Tim Kid (UK Chief Commissioner) and Steve Barley (County Commissioner).
The event will be hosted using Zoom Webinar as this will allow us to have up to 500 join the event, details will be sent by your GSL or DESC closer to the event.
I hope to see as many of you as possible join this event and remember all those who have given their lives in conflicts.