2nd Didsbury (88th Manchester) Scout Group AGM 14/5/08
Chairman’s review of the year
This has been a successful year for the Group. Numbers have held up well, indeed increased, and we now have several waiting lists which, unfortunately, we do not have enough leaders to eliminate.
This year we decided to introduce subscription payment by standing order. This simplifies matters for everyone. Parents do not need to remember to pay each term and the Treasurer’s job is made more straightforward since there is an automatic record of payment and it is unnecessary to chase up subscriptions.
Since we no longer have the income from the bonfire and firework display, it became necessary to increase the subscriptions for the first time for a while. Despite this, you will see from the accounts that we incurred a loss over the year of around a thousand pounds. It appears inevitable that subscriptions will continue to rise unless we can devise a new and substantial fundraising programme. I would point out however that our subscriptions are amongst the lowest of local groups.
Unfortunately our Secretary had to retire during the year and we have been without one for some months. I thank her for her input and encourage someone to take on this not very demanding job in the committee elections shortly.
The Gift Aid scheme is 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. The amount recovered from the Inland Revenue venue from your Gift Aid subscriptions makes a very useful increase to subscription income. Please continue to do this.
The website continues to flourish. It is a useful source of information on Group activities. The URL is now www.didsburyscouts.org.uk. The Explorers have their own website and are regularly publishing an electronic newsletter of remarkably high quality.
Following the success of the revived District St George’s Day Parade last year another was held on 20th April this year at St James’ church. Several groups and also some Guides and Brownies marched from the Towers to the church. The short service, again ably led by the Vicar, Revd. Nick Bundock, was even better attended than last year including by the District Commissioner and was followed by a wide game in Fletcher Moss park.
This will be my last AGM as Chairman, having announced last year that I believed that it was time for a younger person with more direct family contact with the group to take over. I would like to thank all members of the group, leaders and parents for their support over the last 12 years. Please continue to support my successor.
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. This year we have had a good input from families and section members which spreads the workload. Please keep it up and continue to help. I encourage parents and guardians to consider volunteering to be members of the Executive Committee – as section representatives or as officers. The work is not very time-consuming or demanding and it helps to run the Group for the benefit of your children.
The past year, as we all know was the centenary year of scouting and what a great year it was. The county centenary camp at Linnet Clough over Spring Bank holiday was excellent despite the damp. All sections attended the camp, the Beavers only for the day, a total of around 50 were at the camp.
The District took advantage of the promotional week in conjunction with Sainsburys, our group attended and helped to raise £2250 of which the group received a percentage. More importantly some 10 new leaders were recruited for the district.
Helen & Keith spent over three weeks at Gilwell Park on the Jamboree off site team. Four of the Didsbury Viking Explorers attended the Jamboree, three of them ex members of our troop. The troop also attended the Jamboree for a day whilst on their London trip.
The group numbers have continued to grow and the annual census return showed the group had grown by 17%. The Beavers and Cub sections have waiting list. We have had a number of new leaders to all sections and a warm welcome is extended to them. You will see from the scout section report we will soon be loosing a number of leaders from that section. Most notably Evan Roberts our Scout Leader who will be moving to Bristol, also Peter Dyer our tame junior doctor will be moving away
from the area at the beginning of August and David Knowles will be off to university after the summer. I would like to extend our thanks to them for all their assistance and hard work over the years they have been involved with the troop. I am please that Rowena has agreed to take over from Evan as scout leader.
David Leitch has already mentioned that he is finally able to step down as group chair. I would like to thanks David for his many years of support on the group exec. I am please to announce that he will not be severing his connections with the group and has agreed to take on the roll of group president.
I would also like to take this opportunity of telling the group that we will be holding a group family camp at September.
Last year was a very busy year for all of us as we celebrated our centenary year. The Beavers started the year by joining in with the district St George’s day celebration with a service at St James’s church followed by a wide game in Fletcher Moss park. We carried on with the theme during our evening sessions and had knight’s training and quest.
In May we attended the county centenary celebrations at Linnet Clough when the Beavers attended for the day and joined in the activities. Some of the activities were rides on the horse and cart, watching the birds of prey display and the displays put on by the police and the fire brigade, they also did craft activities. The day finished with all the Beavers who attended for the day having a camp fire in the main arena. The only draw back for the Beavers was that they had to walk back to the station in Marple Bridge when they were worn out after all the activities they had carried out.
The rest of the summer months saw us carry out activities indoors as the weather was not kind to us on a Monday evening and we did not get to the park once.
September saw Sue heading to Australia for a year but in her place we now have Fran Nice who is a student at the university. Thanks go to all those parents who have help on a regular basis whilst we are short of helpers.
We still have a long waiting list of children wanting to join us and this will not get much shorter in the foreseeable future.
The winter term saw us working towards our discovery, outdoor and friendship badges. Over the last months there has been a change in the badges in all the sections. The Beavers can now do six challenge badges and the number of activity badges has also increased. The end of the year saw the Beavers and the Cubs attending the panto in Stockport.
The New Year brought fitness, science and experiments. We carried out experiments about air and heat and attended the science museum. The majority of the Beavers have now managed to gain their experiment badge and also the work went towards their fitness and creative challenge badges.
We have attended district events’ they were the trip to the science museum, the treasure hunt at Abney Hall and the St George’s day parade. The county event for this year was the attendance at the centenary celebrations.
We look forward to another busy and rewarding year.
The Cubs have had a busy year with trips, visitors to the pack and a number of District events to take part in. The highlight of the summer term last year was the Scout Centenary Camp help in May. Despite the cold and rather wet weather the boys enjoyed taking part in a wide variety of activities from lazer quest to woggle making.
The autumn term included a visit to St James’s Church in Didsbury where we all learnt about the history of the church and were able to climb up into the bell tower, fun for the Cubs but rather scary for the leaders! The Cubs and Beavers had a Christmas trip to the pantomime in Stockport and the Cubs also presented their own 3 minute pantos for parents which included some memorable performances.
In the new year we all did some star gazing and then turned our eyes to earth to complete the Global Challenge. Work for this included discussions on recycling, learning about life in Tanzania from a local doctor who lived there for several years and thinking about what we can all do to help look after our planet.
Over the year we have also taken part in several District events, the 5-a-side football was well attended with 2 teams both of whom played very well, one reaching the final stages of the competition. We have also attended the Faith is Fun evening, the Treasure Hunt at Abney hall and recently the St Georges Day Parade and wide game. District events allow the Cubs to meet other packs, try new activities and have fun. I would like to thank all the parents who have come along to help and support these events.
The pack is presently full with a waiting list, we have a number of boys leave us over the year to move on into Scouts and both Beavers and new members join Cubs.
The year has also seen a large number of badges earned by the Cubs including 2 Chief Scout Silver Awards. This is the highest award a Cubs Scout can earn and we look forward to presenting more in the coming year.
As always the activities and outings the Cubs enjoy would not be possible without the work and time given by the leaders and I would like to thank them for their continuing support. We would welcome any parents who would like to join us, please speak to one of the leaders if you are interested.
Scout Section Report
Scout numbers have remained steady over the year and there are now 28 scouts on the books, with weekly attendance at a healthy, high percentage of this. Tuesday night activities have included a session as a Roman Legion, fish mongering, a fitness programme, bike maintenance and clay craft work.
A good number of the troop turned out for Remembrance Sunday and a number also paraded at the rather damp St Georges Day Service, braving the waterlogged Fletcher Moss Park for a couple of hours afterward for a wide game.
Two of our PL’s, Josh Kidd & Sam Bolton attended the Nation PL’s camp at Brownsea Island, the birth place of scouting. They representing the County along with 4 others, this was the week before the Jamboree.
After the success of the troop’s visit to the Jamboree in London, in which we introduced commuters to the dubious pleasures of sharing rush hour with 12 heavily rucksacked and dangerously curious scouts. The troop has attended a number of camps over the winter period. Technology camp at Linnet Clough in October saw a number of badges being gained, whilst a January frostbite camp, also at Linnet Clough, resulted in 18 of the troop being awarded not a polar bear award for enduring temperatures of -5 degrees as they were in 2005, but a Hippopotamus Award for enduring a deluge so unrelenting that the mess tent featured a small stream running through the entrance flap.
Our summer expedition to Norway is a mere two weeks away and 12 of the scouts will be joined by 8 leaders in flying out for 7 days on the 25th May. The scouts will experience a wide range of activities including climbing, rafting, canoeing, mountain-biking, a visit to Kristiansand, archery, and axe throwing. The camp will be held at Troll Mountain activity centre with accommodation provided in “Lavos” or teepees. Fundraising to meet the cost of the camp is going well with £1000 received from the Elm Grove Trust. Applications rest with Gilwell and the City Council, and £300 was raised bag packing at M&S last month. Further fundraising activities are planned over the summer.
Well done to Josh Kidd who gained his Gold Chief Scouts award before moving up into the Explorer unit last summer, well done. Josh is the first to gain the Gold award in the group for a long time.
A year ending summer weekend camp for the scouts will be held at Sandiway Forest Camp on the weekend of 11th to 13th July. This will be an opportunity for our newer recruits to have a taste of camping scout-style whilst the weather is (hopefully) more amenable.
The leader situation has been extremely healthy all year with Rowena, Pete, Ben and I ably assisted by David from our Explorer unit. In recent months the group has also welcomed Kieron, David and Sarah into the unit as helpers and prospective leaders. This could not have been a more timely set of additions to the troop as we will be bidding farewell to Pete in the summer as he takes up a post in the midlands as a Junior Doctor, and at the beginning of June, I will be reluctantly leaving the troop to move to Bristol. We appreciate this is a time of significant change in the Scout Leader team and wish our new leaders the best of luck for the rest of the year.
Evan Roberts (SL)
Minutes of Annual General Meeting
1. The Chairman, David Leitch, welcomed members and families.
2. Apologies had been received from Sharon King (Treasurer), Roger Short (Quartermaster) and Ian Carey (District Commissioner).
3. The minutes of the 2007 AGM were accepted as a true record with the correction that Claire Holditch is Scout (not Cub) representative.
4. The Chairman reviewed the year’s activities, mentioning in particular the substantial increase in numbers and the continuing success of the District St George’s Day parade. Subscriptions had been raised following the loss of income from the bonfire and fireworks display and a standing order method of payment had been introduced. He confirmed that after 12 years he was standing down and thanked everyone for their support over that time. The audited accounts and balance sheet, presented by the Chairman in the absence of the Treasurer showing a deficit of £1056 for the year. The two reports were accepted by the meeting.
5. Written section reports were made available to the meeting and were commented upon briefly by Keith Hampson (GSL). He expressed his pleasure at the 17% increase in numbers over the year. A number of leaders were leaving at the end of the session and were thanked by Keith for all their work.
6. The following were elected as office-bearers and section representatives for the next year:
Chairman Martin Woodfield
Vice-Chairman Matt Rushton
Treasurer Sharon King
Assistant Treasurer Michelle Williams
Secretary Reuben Flynn
President David Leitch
Beaver rep. Diane Matthews
Cub rep. Wendy MacDonald
Scout rep. Claire Holditch
7. The meeting closed at 7.35pm, to be followed by a Beaver badge presentation, a short film of the Centenary Camp and Jamboree and “The Show.”