Chairman’s review of the year
1. This year numbers in all of the sections have either held steady or have increased. This is a very encouraging trend which I hope will continue.
2. Last November we had a very successful bonfire and firework display at Toc H Rugby Club. I think everyone agreed that it was the best display we have ever put on. After the crowd control problems of last year, the revised arrangement with the stalls at the far end of the car park worked very well, spreading out the spectators. The sound system added to the enjoyment. The only problem was the local gangs deliberately disrupting the power supply to the stalls and sound system. It may be necessary to exclude unaccompanied minors and to increase marshalling. We are, as always, most grateful to our very skilled pyrotechnic team led by Roger Short and Ernie Hill. This year we shall hide some burgers for them to avoid having to send out for fish suppers as we did last year. The clear-up the following morning is becoming onerous. More help is needed and the task needs to be broken down into specific jobs.
3. This year we have had some changes in personnel. Noel Privat, our ASL, decided to end his involvement with the Group and I would like to thank him for all his work over the last several years. His departure leaves us currently without a warranted scout leader. At present, the troop is being looked after by Keith (GSL), Mike (ADC), Rowena (Scout section representative and parent) and Martin (Young Leader, who hopes to go to university). As you see, we have an ongoing problem.
Brian Ferguson, our secretary for some time, decided he was unable to devote enough time to the Group and resigned a few months ago. I would like to thank him for his work for the group, in particular his initiation of an application to the Council which resulted in the grant of around £500 towards the purchase of new tentage. All of you who are frustrated group secretaries now have your chance of office.
The Explorer section has now become established here and I welcome Rhys Beynon, Explorer Scout leader, who oversees the section and has joined our Executive Committee.
4. The new Gift Aid scheme is now operational and working well. This makes it simpler for the Group to reclaim the income tax which you have already paid on the subscription. The Treasurer can give you more details if you wish. For convenience records are held on a computer. There is no problem with the Data Protection Act, but we do need your permission to hold such records and have prepared a consent form accordingly. This year we have received over £900 from the Inland Revenue from your Gift Aid subscriptions. This makes a massive increase to the subscriptions. Please continue to do this.
5. Some improvements have been made to the Lodge. New storage facilities have been installed in the kitchen. The central heating has been overhauled. A considerable amount of wood in the hall has been replaced following the discovery of woodworm in the original.
6. The website continues to flourish, to the extent that digital pictures are now being taken specifically for it, as at the Remembrance Day parade. It is a useful source of information on Group activities. The URL is now www.didsburyscouts.org.uk.
7. There are some potential financial problems on the horizon or even closer. Following a recent review of the rent we pay to the council for the land we occupy here, we have, last week, received a rental demand which has increased ten times (1000%) from that of last year. We shall, of course, oppose this, using any means we can think of. However, if this proves to be unsuccessful, it will mean an increase in subscriptions of at least £5 per term. I hope I can count on your support to persuade the Council by any fairly legitimate means that they have made a mistake. My understanding has always been that they supported facilities for the youth of the city. I hope I have not been mistaken in this.
8. We need to improve the grass outside the Lodge to facilitate vehicular access. A working party will tackle this shortly. Volunteers are essential to achieve a decent surface for vehicles on our grass. This is scheduled for w/e 2nd /3rd July.
9. This year, the Group will go on its quinquennial camp to the international campsite at Kandersteg in the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland. We hope they all have a wonderful time and look forward to seeing the video.
10. Finally, I would like to thank, on your behalf, all of the leaders who give so much of their time for the Group. I must also thank the other members of the Executive Committee for all their work throughout the year. The Whist Drives continue, now under new management. These have given enjoyment to many people and provide welcome income for the Group. This year we have had a greater input from families and section members, particularly at Didsbury Festival last weekend, when we raised £520. Please keep up the good work and support the Group.
16th June 2005.
Firstly, thanks to leaders and exec for another successful year for the group, without their dedication the group could not exist.
I am pleased to announce that Roger Short was awarded a Medal of Merit for outstanding service to Scouting and that David Leitch was awarded a Chief Scouts Commendation for good service.
Our group chairman has once again done a good job of saying most of what I was going to say so this report can be short.
Most sections are running much better this year, mainly due to the increase in the number of leaders helping at section nights and the joint programme planning of the Beaver and Cub sections. The scout section is still weak in leaders but things are looking better. I would like to welcome Evan Roberts who has just recently joined the section.
In an attempt to improve the way children move up to the next section, a recent leaders meeting decided to only move sections after each half term. It is early days yet but it does seem to work better.
Two new tents have recently been purchased both are large dome tent with sewn in ground sheets the same as one we purchased last year. This purchase was funded in the main by a grant we applied for from Voluntary Action Manchester.
Plans are well advanced for this years summer camp in Switzerland 6-20 August 2005. There are 38 attending camp of which 17 are children.
Keith Hampson (GSL)
BEAVER SCOUT REPORT
This year, thanks to the joint efforts of the beaver and cub leaders, the beavers have been able to follow a more exciting programme than ever!!
We have followed a theme of detective work, been cowboys cooking our own sausages on the BBQ, travelled around the world in 80 days and even had a go at sending our home made rockets to the moon! As part of South District Scouting we made a visit to Blackpool Tower Circus and attended a wonderful Christmas carol service at St Clements Church in Chorlton. A day visit to our cub camp at Bowley, was also enjoyed.
A number of the beavers found time to earn themselves quite a variety of activity badges.
The leaders have managed to present 8 stage 1 swimming badges, 5 animal friend badges with IT and explorer badges being earned as I type!! We hope to introduce some more activity badge work after the summer break.
We are please to announce that 1 Bronze Chief Scouts Award has been gained this year.
At present we have 17 in the colony and have, comparatively speaking, a short waiting list. So please keep the names coming.
Thanks to all leaders and helpers for making this another successful year for the beaver colony.
Sue Sunderland Beaver Leader
Cub Report June 2005
The cub pack continues to thrive with high numbers of boys and a very full programme. There are 26 cubs in the pack at present with 6 having moved up to scouts at half-term and 5 new boys joining us. We are pleased to have more leaders working with the pack now, Chris Dunn who is studying in Manchester, Alex McNeill and Ben Bowen our young leader. The extra leaders have allowed a greater range of activities to be planned and more badge work completed. Alan Robinson has returned to lead the cub pack after helping with Beavers.
Recent cub programmes have included fitness evenings, a film night, a series of detective evenings, conservation work and 80 days around the world. The pack has taken part in several outings and district events. We had a trip to Cadbury’s World and The Sea Life Centre before Christmas which included eating large amounts of chocolate. The pack took part in a district football competition and a county wide game held at Abney Hall.
Our annual camp this year took the form of a space academy with lots of activities with a space theme. One more large county event will be held in July with a Euro Day for cubs at Linnet Clough, this will have bases run by different districts each representing a different European country.
We have been pleased to award many badges this year, the pack has completed fitness and outdoor challenge badges, individual boys have gained a variety of activity badges and we have been delighted to award 5 Silver Chief Scout Awards, the highest award a cub scout can achieve.
We are looking forward to a fun packed summer term when we can hopefully move outside more.
Sue Bullied (for the cub team)
Unfortunately Noel Privat left the section in March which left us with a leader problem. This was resolved in the short term by Martin Miller running the meeting night and Rowena Kidd becoming a regular helper also Keith and Mike are helping regularly as the warranted leaders. Recently Evan Roberts has joined us and has agreed to take out an Assistant Scout Leaders warrant. Alison O’Keefe from 123rd is also now helping. So things are defiantly looking a lot better than they did a few months ago.
The section is now running an active programme.
Numbers in the section have been slowly increasing over the year and there are 25 on the books at present. The recent half term sore 3scouts moved on to Explorers and 6 cubs move into the section.
Quite a number of challenge awards have been gained, by most of the scouts over the year and it would be nice to think we may soon have a Gold Chief Scouts award.
The section had a weekend camp at Sandiway last September and attended Technology camp at Linnet Clough in October.
8 scouts are going to Kandersteg this summer.
Keith Hampson (for the scout team)
Didsbury Viking Explorer Scout unit
The Didsbury Viking Explorer Scout Unit was opened 18 months ago to provide scouting for young people aged 14 to 18 years in the South Manchester area.
We are based at 2/88th Scout Headquarters and meet on a Wednesday night from 8pm until 9.30pm. The unit now has 10 regular members who previously were either scouts at 2/88th, 123rd Manchester (Chorlton) or members of the Guiding movement. We have also links with the group at St Catherines (2/241st Manchester) and anticipate members joining from that group later on this year.
The unit has had an active year with expeditions to North Wales and the Lake District for mountain walking, taken part in the county technology camp at Linnet Clough and the Bolton District Challenge Hike. Wednesday evenings remain diverse and have involved discussions about the criminal justice system, the impact of tourism and environmental issues and more light hearted evenings with trips to the Velodrome, Laser Quest and Kayaking.
Our summer trip this year is to Kandersteg with the Group and 6 of our members are making the journey to Switzerland for a couple of weeks that is sure to be fun.
The unit is expanding in numbers rapidly at the moment with members joining from across the district. This is great to see and it can only be good for all our members to experience the variety of scouting traditions that members bring from their original groups.
Explorer Scout Leader