Over the past few months we have been looking at ways that we can utilise our centres to safely support and facilitate Scouting during these times. We have been cautious in our approach to ensure:
- Our facilities that meet our “Covid-safe” obligations, key to our ability to operate under the NYA framework
- Alignment with Track/Test and Trace requirements, in a way that allows us to assist contact trace requests – both speedily and accurately. Coping with multiple user “bubbles” on site, keeping any burden on group leaders to a minimum should the requirement to trace occur
- A clear process for users that enables leaders to meet the face to face Scouting risk assessment requirements
- Robust systems, with the appropriate support and information available for leaders who wish to use the facilities
During September we undertook a small number of trials of our procedures with local groups and now believe we have a robust and workable process. With the return of a small staff team from furlough at the beginning of October, we have the resources to provide the leader support.
On this basis, and subject to the Readiness level at the time, we plan a limited re-opening for Scouting users from 2nd November. Initially we will start at Phasels Wood, offering 6 outdoor covered areas suitable for groups of up to 15 young people plus up to 5 leading/supervising adults. We will then roll out a similar solution at both Well End and Tolmers over the following month. Priority for booking in all cases will be given to those groups who do not have an alternative meeting place.
Initially there will be no activity provision, however we continue to look at ways we can offer these in line with the principles above and subject to the availability of staff and volunteers.
Both Harmergreen Wood and Lochearnhead will remain closed, as they both require significant work to be able to meet Covid safe guidance.
We have been asked by a number of leaders about whether we plan to introduce charges for use. In order to ensure that usage is open to everyone, evening and weekend use by Scouts will be free of charge. As you may be aware, we have faced considerable challenges and continue to do so, therefore or those who feel they would like to make a contribution to our running costs, booking confirmations will contain a link to our “Covid-secure” fund which we have set up to ensure we remain able to provide opportunities for young people.
As residential experiences and group sizes of larger than 15 are outside the scope of the current guidance, we are extending the option to transfer any deposit you have already made to a later date or request a refund. This is available for all existing bookings up to 31st March 2021.
Should you wish to transfer your booking to a later date, we will transfer your deposit to another booking up to the 31st March 2022. These transfers will be allocated based upon the date that they are initially requested and subject to availability.
Thank you for the understanding that you have shown to the limited number of team members who continue to care for our Centres and provide an office service. Please continue to support them as they work through this process and continue to show understanding if responses are not as fast as you would usually expect.
We will periodically provide further updates subject to Government advice and look forward to providing you with outdoor adventurous activities in the future.
Activity Centres Management Committee Chair
Download: HCSC Customer Notice Oct2020