New Year statement from the District Commissioner

13 January 2021

Happy New Year everyone.

Even though this is not the start to 2021 that we were all hoping for, there is some hope on the horizon with the roll out of the national vaccination programme for COVID-19. Presently, scouting is on readiness level ‘red’ and I think it is safe to say following the Prime Minister’s announcement on the 4th January, we can expect to be at this level for quite some time. I would provisionally set aside the whole of this term until Easter as virtual Scouting to err on the side of caution.

As we start the New Year, there are some significant changes that I need to notify you all of. First of all, we have started the New Year with a change in District Commissioner. After almost 5 years in the post, Keith has stepped down as District Commissioner for Basingstoke East Scouts to support Hampshire Scouts in their emergence from COVID-19 and supporting the 27 districts across the county in a high-profile role in growth, development and retention. I would like to extend a personal thanks to Keith for all of his hard work, determination and commitment to Basingstoke East Scouts while in the role of DC and prior to that. We would not be in the strong position that we are in now if it had not been for him. I know that Keith will be itching to stay involved with scouting in the District including as our esteemed and experienced Camp Chef! In the meantime, I will be District Commissioner (Acting) while Hampshire Scouts begin the recruitment process for appointing a permanent replacement. We can expect to hear from Hampshire Scouts shortly as it is hoped that the permanent replacement is appointed by March.

I am delighted to announce some changes in the senior team of the district and wish to welcome Jack Tracy and Paul Hogan-Williams to the roles of Deputy District Commissioner. The roles of Deputy District Commissioner will be a key strategic role in the senior team of the district leading and managing our essential pillars of work. Jack will be responsible for programme whereas Paul will be responsible for perception. I know that they are very keen to get started in helping me to lead the district and importantly to support you – our valuable volunteers. We will write to you all again once we have heard about arrangements of our new permanent DC including the District strategy for the coming years.

As I sit here and write this message to you all, we have received information from Scout HQ regarding the annual census return – this goes live from tomorrow – Thursday 14th January 2021. I have sent this essential information to Group Scout Leaders or Executive Committee Teams if there is not a GSL in post. As a district our deadline will be Friday 5th February 2021 as this will give us enough time to verify/approve the data before the national deadline on 21st February.

As a district, we will continue to grow from strength to strength and I know that even with our online programmes via Zoom we have continued to go above and beyond for our young people. I would like to thank each and every one of you for your continued support and more importantly your perseverance during these unprecedented times.

If anyone has any questions or problems then please do not hesitate to contact me or the Deputy District Commissioners: Jack Tracy or Paul Hogan-Williams as we are here to support you all.

Take care and stay safe.

Jamie Andrews
District Commissioner (Acting)
Basingstoke East Scouts

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