District AGM

Posted on 19th November 2019 by Greg Piskosz

Chester le Street District AGM
Thank you to everyone who made it to the AGM. For those who could not make it the Executive Committee thought it worthwhile to summarise the evening.

District Chairman.
After many years of highly valued service Bryan Scott, our current District Chairman has decided to stand down and requested of Greg, our DC not to be considered for the Chairman role. Bryan’s health has not been as he would have wished lately and Bryan does not feel able to give the level of contribution that he would like. So regrettably we say Goodbye to Bryan as our Chairman. He has asked that we keep in touch as he still has a real interest in Chester le Street district and how we are doing. The new Executive Committee will, at the next meeting, decide on an appropriate way of thanking Bryan for his service.

Executive Committee

There are a number roles that have automatic membership of the Executive Committee :

Chairman Vacant
Treasurer Geoff Aiden
Secretary Carole Atkins
District Explorer Commissioner Scott Dougherty
District Youth Commissioner Beth Forster
District Network Commissioner David Holmes

All of the above Adult Volunteers have agreed to remain in post, and we are delighted that is the case. Especially Carole and Geoff who provide invaluable input from non uniformed members

In addition there are four elected Adult Members, and also two elected Young People Members. In this context young person is someone aged 18-25, due the being a Trustee you have to be over 18.

At the time of the AGM there were three nominations for the elected Adult Members Posts

David Welch
Sharon Gibbons
Mike Winn

Therefore there was no need for an election and David, Sharon, and Mike were elected unopposed to the exec.

In terms of young people, we approached two young people to be members of the Executive Committee. Only one of the people approached were happy to stand. That person was

Abigail Openshaw.

Abi is a former Young Leader and member of the Tall Ships Crew last year. Although away at University she still supports 1st Gt Lumley Scout group as an Assistant Section Leader


The district is in a very healthy financial position, with total funds of £99,546. This is made of cash in the bank of £90,619 and loans and assets of £8,927
Income from Capitation and camps etc , more less equalled expenditure. The largest single expenditure item was £2,989 on purchase and insurance etc of the minibus. The district is in a very healthy financial position. if anyone wants a copy of the accounts please let us know.

District Commissioners Report

let’s look back at the priorities for last year and the achievement against those objectives

2018/19 priorities
• Consolidation
• New Group in Ouston
• Seek funding to employ a Growth & Development Officer
• Training – Leaders & Roles
• Greater Participation in District Events
• More Time Out & About
• Review Appointments Committee

……….What went well

Consolidation – After the amazing 16% last year, we not only consolidated but grew by 3%. Below is the picture across the district.

2018 2019
Beavers 102 115
cubs 160 147
scouts 110 131
explorers 44 34
total 416 427

The picture across the district is varied. Some sections in Groups grew and other had a reduction. Below is more detail on the changes in membership by Group and by section. It gives us the opportunity to identify the areas that we need to concentrate on in terms of membership

beavers cubs scouts totals Change
2018 2019 2018 2019 2018 2019 2018 2019
2nd cls 24 20 68 47 43 51 135 118 -13%
4th cls 23 25 22 28 13 19 58 72 24%
1st gt lum 10 16 25 23 24 25 59 64 8%
1st burn 23 16 21 21 16 15 60 52 -13%
1st wald 15 14 12 15 11 14 38 43 13%
1st new 7 24 12 13 3 7 22 44 100%
explorer 44 34 -23%
102 115 160 147 110 131 416 427 3%

Seek funding to employ a Growth & Development Officer – Delighted to report that the Exec Committee have agreed to release funding of £18,000 – £21,000 to employ a part time Growth & Development Officer. We have been working very closely with the Regional Development Team at Gillwell and have come up with a Brand New Model, that is unique to Chester le Street and is being trialed for the first time. Our aspiration is to be able to employ some one, ideally a young person, who is interested in working in the voluntary sector but needs to get that all important initial experience. We are looking to recruit in the early part of 2020 with a target start date of Spring 2020.

Training – Leaders & Roles – Training continues to be successful thanks to the commitment of our Training Advisor and the enthusiasm of Leaders to get their training completed. We have Three leaders who have completed their woodbadge this year.

Review Appointments Committee – The whole Appointments Committee process in CLS has been reviewed and replaced with a process that is much more 21st Century and very Adult volunteer centric. Every new volunteer gets a welcoming email from the District thanking them for volunteering and the, depending on their role, we carry out the “interview” process that Gilwell dictates that we must. For some roles this is done over the telephone, for others a face to face chat with one or more Appointments Committee members. And these chats take place at the volunteers group meeting place on a normal meeting not. The feedback we are getting is very positive, and that is largely due to the great work that our Appointments Secretary, Angie Forster is doing. Gilwell are looking at the Appointments process and have suggested possible ways to improve and modernise, we are ahead of Gilwell in our approach and thinking in CLS with what we are doing,

More Time Out & About – I have managed to spend more time visiting and supporting groups. In February I ended my role as Group Scout Leader, leaving more time available to support the District. I have visited colony, pack and troop nights, visited sleepovers and camps, supported groups at confido and fun days. If invited, tried every time to get to the event.

……….What went not so well

New Group in Ouston – sadly we have not been able to re-launch scouting in Ouston. We have done a little work looking for possible venues, but we have not had the personnel to really push forward with this. This will remain on our priorities for 2019/2020

Greater Participation in District Events – participation in events both District and County is getting much better, but we still have gaps. We need to work to understand why this is. Is it young people who are not interested or is it Leaders not offering opportunities. Are we planning and running the wrong events, are costs too high. During the Early part of 2020 we will try and get answers to these questions.

More Time Out and About – I am very self critical and always feel that I can and should do more. Free from a group role I will spend more time supporting sections, groups and adult volunteers. Please let me know of anything that can be done to make your jobs easier, your experiences for young people better, events or activities I can help at.

2019/20 priorities

Employ part time Growth & Development Officer – as mentioned above we will be interviewing in the new year to recruit into this new and exciting role. We will be supported by the Regional Development Team in the recruitment process and also throughout the project. Primary focus will be on new provision, but we will be able to use our new resource to support recruitment in groups, look for new adult volunteers etc etc

New Group in Ouston & Kibblesworth – with the new role in the district to work specifically on development, we are being ambitious and looking to open a new group in Ouston and Kimblesworth. These are two areas where we know there is a high population of young people and where scouting has been absent for over 8 years in Ouston, in the case of Kimblesworth never.

District Events/opportunities for Beavers – this is an area that we are weak at. We manage to provide opportunities at either District or County level for Cubs, Scouts and Explorers. Using the collaborative approach that works well, especially with the Scout Section, we will look to arrange 2-3 events during the year just for beavers.

Improve retention from Scouts to Explorers – if we look at census data we are not managing to retain scouts when they get to Explorer scout age. Explorer scouting provides very different and fantastic opportunities for Young People. So we need to try and encourage more scouts to move onto Explorers, We need to understand what it is that is preventing this as much as we would like. Scott, our District Explorer commissioner will be working on improving our scout to Explorer retention rate

Improve conversion from Explorers to Adult Volunteers – our amazing Explorer Scouts and Explorer Scout Young Leaders provide a great breeding ground for Adult Volunteers. We need to work on “converting” more of our Explorers and Young Leaders into Adult Volunteers. Because Scott has not enough to do, this will be added to his work package. But we can all support with this by having positive conversations about the opportunities for Explorers as an adult volunteer, and also remind them of the Opportunities that Scout Network can provide. Scout Network is a very flexible way of keeping involved in scouting and participating in activities.

Shout about Scouting in CLS – we do amazing things in CLS and have simple unrivalled group of Adult Volunteers and Young People. We know this, but the rest of the world, well Chester le Street to start with, need to know this as well. We have just recruited an Adult Volunteer to work specifically on our Media Presence. To try and get articles in the papers, on radio etc. maximise Social Media opportunities, get flyers and recruitment boards in supermarket, stores in CLS, the Library, Church entrances and much much more. From this we hope to attract new members as Young People and also Adults who want to volunteer in the amazing thing that Scouting is in CLS. Michael, our New Media Manager will be contacting GSL’s to ask for contacts for stories etc we can push out to local media and will start work on contacting local business to tell them about what we do and what we can offer.

Support for Groups – very conscious of how busy everyone is yet still deliver amazing things. We need to consult with pour groups to identify how we can support them better. This might be with training, might be with recruitment, might be with fundraising. Our district team needs to support groups where scouting happens.

Consider more District resources – as part of our objective to better support groups we need to consider if we need more district resources. It is hard to put a list together because we simply don’t know what we want/need. We will be asking our Adult Volunteers and Young People what we should be spending our money on. We have funds and so we need to make sure that we have whatever we need to continue to be successful.

Out & About More – I will strive to be more accessible, to visit more groups and sections. I can always do more and will continue to explore all and any opportunities to be the kind of DC you all need and deserve.

I so enjoy my time with Young people and I am humbled and in awe of what they and you as Adult Volunteers accomplish. Thank you all for all that you do, any organization is only as good as the people in it……that is what Chester le Street Scouts is what it is

Simply……………….. THANK YOU