As part of Volunteers Week, York Scouts were presented with a certificate of appreciation for all the fabulous work that volunteers do in York Ebor and York Minster Districts. Well done to you all and keep helping our 2000+ young people across York every week to have fun and adventure, whilst developing their – and our – skills for life, as part of our wonderful Scouting family.

On a more sobering thought I joined a webinar recently providing a de-brief on the findings from the Great Orme Inquest and associated investigations. There was a catalogue of issues that went wrong and tragically ended in the death of Ben Leonard and stress for many people.  It raised a number of topics that highlight to me how important our rules and processes are for training, permits, nights away, activities, and ongoing safety management and communication.  Within Ebor District we had helpful discussions about this with our Leadership Team and Group Lead Volunteers.  We have also set up a small Working Group shaping more support to help us further enhance our Safety Culture.  There will be more to come on this later in the year.

Related to the national work from the Orme Incident we must appreciate that all our volunteers need to be up to date with the latest Safety and Safeguarding training.  New volunteers are required to complete this (and other Getting Started modules) within 5 months of starting.  Existing volunteers are required to renew Safety and Safeguarding training every 3 years. Currently emails are sent notifying volunteers that their learning is due to expire. In addition to this, in Ebor District we send Group Lead Volunteers reports notifying them of volunteers in their teams who have training close to expiry.

*NEW* – Our District Team now additionally aim to phone members when Safety or Safeguarding is close to the final date for completion.  This will hopefully be a small number of calls as volunteers should act well ahead of time to avoid unnecessary work and suspension.

*NEW* – There will no longer be a grace period for Safety or Safeguarding training that has expired.  We are now required to suspend the volunteer immediately after the expiry date. This means they will not be able to take part in active Scouting until the required training has been completed and the role suspension lifted. This process involves additional work for volunteers as well as meaning that teams may not be able to provide activities for our young people.

I am sure you will all understand that although this may initially seem a strong approach it helps to ensure that we continue to protect both our volunteers and our young people to deliver fun and safe Scouting.

If you require any further information or support please contact Tracy McEwan (Volunteer Development Team Lead) at volunteer.development@eborscouts.org.uk.