Durham City District
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Climb When Ready!

Simonside Climbing Wall | 3rd March 2018
Open to: Cubs, Scouts, Explorers, Network
Location: Simonside Climbing Wall
Date: Saturday 3rd March 2018
Cost: £4

In 2.5 hours, our cubs, scouts, explorers and network members will get the opportunity to climb 5 different routes, get a few pointers from our instructors and watch others master the routes. It's a great chance for those who want to push themselves to win and those who just want to learn more and enjoy their climbing. There will be a brilliant atmosphere including music, live interviews and electronic scoring so that climbers, leaders and parents can track how well everyone is doing!

Bookings are now open (close at 11pm on 16th February 2018) and you can find out more and book places on the county website - just use the link below.


Practical Skills &Adult Recruitment Weekend

Dates: 6pm, Friday 9th March 2018 18:00 – 4pm, Sunday 11th March 2018
Location: West Hall Scout Campsite, Moor Lane, Whitburn, SR6 7JT: View Map
Cost: Free
This practical scouting skills weekend is being organised by Sunderland, Darlington and South Tyneside scout districts for all leaders from the three districts, as well as any leader from the wider Scout County.

FREE CAMPING!!! Bring your own food, tent and enthusiasm and join us for a weekend of adult scouting. Learn new or practice old skills, be social and pick the brains of the Regional Services Team.

Join the Adult Recruitment workshop (running across two sessions: Saturday 10th March 2018, 3pm to 6pm & Sunday 11th March 2018, 9pm - 12 noon) and/or learn skills in one of five areas:

Backwoods Area (Fire Lighting and Backwoods Cooking)
Pioneering Area (Knots, Lashings and Pioneering)
Permit Area (Stephen Ramsey and team will be there to run AAP training and assessment)
Camping Area (Tent erection and layout)
Survival Area (Knife and Axe, Navigation)

If you want to know more about the weekend email DCs Pip, Shelagh or Richard or use the button below to book a place via EventBrite


Safer Internet Day 2018

Safer Internet Day (SID) 2018 is less than 3 weeks away and takes place on 6th February. The theme this year is 'Create, Connect and Share Respect: a better internet starts with you'.

Hundreds of organisations across the UK have registered as supporters and will be running activities in support of the day.

To help you get involved, the UK Safer Internet Centre has created a range of resources, which focus on healthy online relationships and digital empathy, such as a Education Packs with engaging lesson plans, SID TV films, a quiz and advice pages.

Last year we collectively reached 42% of UK children. With your help we can make Safer Internet Day 2018 the biggest yet!



To Will and Jo Coombs on the birth of their daughter Jessica

Message for your new DCs

Following the County Commissioner’s announcement last week on the appointment of Kieren and I as joint DC, we wanted to take the opportunity to provide further detail on how we intend to share responsibilities of the DC role. I’m sure there will be questions that emerge over the coming weeks and months as we get established in the role, and there may be a need to tweak things as time progresses, but our starting position is as follows.

I will take broad responsibility for strategy and district development activities. In practice this will mean that I lead on safety, adult appointments, organisational development, section growth and recruitment. I will also look to establish a special projects group that will consider new ventures and new events within the district. Included in this will be the continuing development of the Coalburn camp site, a project that I’m pleased to advise that John Little has agreed to continue to lead.

In addition, I will lead on complaints and grievances, both internal and external, as well as stakeholder relationship management and external communications.

Finally, I will take the lead on District and group finances as well as any internal compliance matters.

Kieren will lead on operational and day to day matters. That means nights away permits, activity approvals, adult support, adult training, adventurous activities, activity permits, and the youth programme will be carried out by him. He will also take the lead on refreshes to the district’s operational systems, website and social media as well as on the delivery of a systems strategy for the groups within the district.

In addition, he will be the first point of contact for safeguarding, the DBS application and renewals process and will put together the internal communications, including the weekly email update.

The line management of GSLs, ADCs and other District team members will be split between Kieren and I, and a further communication will be issued to these individuals to advise them of this in due course, along with a request for a time to have an initial one to one meeting. The establishment and monitoring of training plans will follow the same split, as will the issue escalation process from the groups.

The District team will continue to meet three times a year, and John Little has generously offered to continue to host these at Fram. It is intended that the chair of these meetings will alternate between Kieren and I with the other picking up the secretariat duties.

Both Kieren and I will attend the District Executive meetings and we will soon be meeting with the Chair and rest of the Executive to discuss further the handover and continuity of work at this level.

Kieren and I will alternate attendance at County meetings. I will take the lead on the County relationship as we start the role, but we will review this as we settle in as we may find there is a better way to share this.

With respect to changes to the 20th Durham Waterhouses group, I’m pleased to announce that Sam McAtominey has agreed to step into the GSL role, and Kieren’s Scout Leader role will be filled by Matt Burgess. I’m sure you’ll join me in congratulating them in these appointments.

Kieren also has additional roles such as the County Advisor for first aid. Succession plans for these are being arranged and a further communication will be made once they have been formally worked through.

Both Kieren and I are very excited about our appointment and the opportunity to work with such a terrific group of people across Durham City and District and look forward to seeing you soon.

Simon and Kieren

Pottery kit

Moor House have some pottery equipment that has been kindly 'donated' to Moor House which we don't have a use for. If you'd like it, please get in touch with Frances.

There is around 26 moulds in total ranging from money pigs and chess pieces to Coffee/Sugar bowls and vases.


DBS Compliance Update - All Time High!

County are pleased with the DBS compliance rates but please continue to ensure that all new adults are registered on Compass and complete a DBS check promptly.

Hello DCs,

I haven’t shared one for a while, but the latest DBS compliance review shows that overall the county is at an all time high with respect to our average district DBS compliance figure. Overall, although a few districts have ‘slipped’, we are sitting slightly ahead of the national average.

Of the 36 ‘non-compliances’, only 2 people appear to need a DBS starting and one of these doesn’t actually need a DBS (Compass issue!). The rest are in progress and it appears that all districts have the process well in hand.

Thank you – and please do pass on my thanks to everyone involved in your districts (yourselves, GSLs, Appointment Secretaries etc)


County Trustee Support Meetings

Within the Scout County we intend to improve the support we are providing for District and Group Trustees (Executive Committees). This is part of a national initiative to provide such support. One of the ways we intend to do this is to hold two meetings per year for District Commissioners, Chairs, Treasurers and Secretaries to discuss governance issues.

We are aware that some Districts already hold similar meetings for Group Chairs, Treasurers and Secretaries and the hope is that this can be extended to all Districts and Groups in the County.

The first such meeting will be:

Location: Moor House Adventure Centre
Date: 14th March 2018
Time: 7pm – 9pm

During this initial meeting I am sure that we will discuss the topic of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR – see below). We also intend to review the requirements for Executive Committee member training and the sources of other support information available to Executive Committees. If there is anything else that you would like to put on the agenda (finance or accounts, annual general meetings, constitutions or anything else) please let myself or County Chair Graham Elder (chair@durhamscouts.org.uk) know.

With respect to GDPR we understand that some Districts are getting well prepared and others may not have started looking at the topic. The same is surely true for Scout Groups as well. We believe that the Scout Association is due to publish guidance and support material in the next few weeks, but in the interim we are getting prepared to support you. We have a revised County Data Protection Policy and have drafted a set of five new procedures. We have also drafted some guidance / training material. As soon as this is reviewed internally we will be making the documentation available to you and we will be organising some training sessions for anyone in Districts or Groups who would like to attend.


New District Commissioner

The search for a new District Commissioner for Durham City is finally over. On January 31st, John Little will be stepping down from the the role and from February 1st, Durham City will have not one, but two District Commissioners taking on the role on a job-share basis!

The two joint DCs are Simon Kemp and Kieren Stephenson, both of whom started their scout leadership journey at the 20th Durham group in Waterhouses.

Kieren is the current Scout Leader at 20th and said of his appointment, 'I’m delighted to have been given the chance to take on a more senior role in scouting and look forward to the challenges it brings. I have learned a lot in my time at 20th and am excited to be able to share some of that with the rest of the district.'

Simon is the GSL at 20th and said, 'We have a fantastic group of leaders in the Durham City District who work really hard to provide amazing scouting opportunities for the young people who live here. I saw the DC role as a tremendous opportunity to work more closely with them and help them achieve their aspirations in the scouting world.'

The details of how the role will be split will be communicated to the County team, District Executive and District team in the next few days but in broad terms Simon will take responsibility for District development and strategy, while Kieren will pick up the more day to day duties.

County Commissioner David Stokes said 'After a long search, I’m very pleased to be appointing two capable individuals into the role and look forward to working with them on the development of the district. I’d also like to thank John Little for his work as DC over the last five years, and I’m sure he’ll be keen to support Simon and Kieren as they find their feet in the role over the next few months'.

Campsite Update

Progress on the District campsite continues slowly particularly relating to the prerequisite elements of water and parking.

I've also collated some initial information into a webpage:

If anyone has any constructive feedback please do let me know.

Gladys Patterson

I am her son-in-law and write to let you know that Mrs Gladys Patterson died on the morning of Friday 19th January. She was the widow of Benjamin Patterson a former County Commissioner.

Please let the scouts know as I’m sure that some will remember both Ben and Gladys.

Many thanks

J Brian Cook

If anyone one wants funeral information please liaise with David Stokes directly

Grant funding

Are you looking for grant funding to support your Group, District or County with training, supporting members or Sea Scout equipment? Take a look at the
Scout Grant Committee’s web pages to learn about the funding available and how to apply.

County Surveys

Hopefully you've already received an email to this effect...

Please remember that in 2018 we'll be holding a County Development Conference and updating the County Development Plan, and we'll also be delivering more practical skills training.

We're currently running two surveys so that you can:

Tell us what you think about the support available from the scout county - and what else we need to be doing to support you
Tell us what practical skills training you need - we'll prioritise the training to make sure that we provide the training that you tell us you need

Please use the buttons below to complete the surveys (they'll only take a couple of minutes of your time), so that we can all deliver the best possible scouting in 2018 and beyond.
County Satisfaction Survey
Practical Skills Survey

Grants Available from Durham Scout County

As we look to a new year of scouting in 2018 you may be planning or supporting a number of activities and ideas in your sections, group or district.

What you may not know is that there is some financial support from the scout county in three specific areas. These are:
County Commissioner's Fund - to assist those in financial hardship to participate in scouting (up to 50% funding, up to £250 per person per year)
International Fund - to provide financial support for those taking part in defined international opportunities
Development Grants - to fund your 'Bright Ideas', intended to support the development of local Scouting (loans and grants available for various development ideas)

We have pulled details of all of these grants together on a single Grants page on the county website, and have also updated the A-Z Support Index to help you find them in future.

Also remember that there is a much wider range of financial support from The Scout Association, covering things like the purchase of equipment, training costs, HQ building and maintenance costs, minibus purchase, driver training and maintenance costs and more.

See HQ Grants for more details.

Here's to a great year of scouting ahead!

Complaints logging

GSLs have been asked to anonymously log any complaints they receive over the next 3 months. I believe this is only in relation to formal complaints so hopefully there's not too many of them!

Annual Census

Hopefully everyone who needs to know is aware that the national census takes place on the 31st January. Please make sure your records are up to date to make the GSL/Group secretaries job as easy as possible.
GSLs should now have received directly the census login details.

YouShape Updates

February is national #Youshape month and also marks a year since the formation of the County Youth Team.
To celebrate, the County Youth Team would like to invite you to our first Youth Shaped Scouting Programme workshops. It will be held on the 17th February at Moor House and is open to all leaders in the county. The aim of the workshops is to give you the skills to deliver a brilliant Youth Shaped programme in every section.


The County Youth Team is growing!
We are looking for enthusiastic and creative 16-25 year olds to join the team to help us focus on our media presence. This is your chance to revolutionise the way young people shape their scouting experience.

Apply now on the County Website

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