2015 Annual report

Chairman’s Report

The 2nd Didsbury 88th Manchester Scout Group has had another successful year and has maintained full numbers in Beavers, Cubs and Scouts.  We now have two evenings of Beavers, Cubs and Scouts. It was another action packed year for the Group with many camps and trips in addition to the weekly activities held in the Scout Hut.


Our main fund raising event of the year is a barbecue at the Didsbury Festival. Following the record breaking event of 2013, we had a day of very heavy rain which meant we didn’t sell anything like the number of burgers we would normally expect to sell. It also meant we couldn’t run the highly successful climbing wall that had impressed us all so much in 2013. Let’s hope we get the sun back this year.


I would like to thank all the Leaders, Assistant Leaders and the Executive members for all their valuable work throughout the year. 


Become involved

This Scout Group is run by volunteers and  it’s success is totally dependent on volunteers. If you have a bit of time to help out there are various ways you can do so. We have a great demand to join and we need leaders and assistants to help meet this demand.


If you have any great ideas, or know anyone with particular talents, that would make for a great session for the Beavers, Cubs or Scouts we would love to hear from you.  If you would like to help out on the occasional session do let a Leader know.


The subscriptions you pay and the fund raising activities we do, have ensured another stable year from a financial point of view. Subscriptions have finally increased to £10 per month per child - which I think we can all agree is still very good value. 


These subscriptions pay for the equipment and resources used, plus the rent and other bills.  A proportion also goes to the national Scout Association which helps pay for the resources they provide, including the fantastic camp facilities.

Chris Pearse

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This year has been one of significant investment in the group’s buildings and equipment with a new heating system being purchased for the hut at a cost of over £3,300 and a new mess tent being purchased for the group for over £2,500.  Didsbury festival was a bit wet in 2014 and this, combined with prepayments for the 2015 summer camp has led to our year end balance being down on last year by around £2,300.

As an executive team we’d like to continue with this kind of investment in the group over the coming years so have elected to increase subscriptions to £10 per month.  This is the first increase in eight years and not a decision taken lightly but one which will benefit the group as we become better equipped and able to offer more to members.

We received some very generous donations this year including £1,000 towards the new boiler and a contribution from the Scout Association of £400. plus some prize money from the Pike Hike!  We’ve also continued to give to the wider community, with the Beavers raising £400 for the RNLI in Rhyl.

As ever, thanks to everyone who has completed a Gift Aid mandate on joining the group.  A claim for over £2,000 went into HMRC last week on last year’s subscriptions where we have a Gift Aid mandate.  As you can see, this makes a big difference to the group.

See group accounts for a full breakdown.
Matthew Rushton

GSL’s report


Another good year but tinged with great sadness in September of last year, with the death of Lizzie Lowe, one of our scouts.

All sections have continued to thrive but as mentioned  in all reports, more adult leaders are needed for us to continue the good work.


Congratulations to; Sam Michaels, Will Simkins, Martins Vitolins and Lizzie Lowe from the scout sections on gaining their Gold Chief scouts Awards and Finlay Lowe from the cub section on gained his Silver Chief scouts award.
Also to Brian (scout leader Griffin troop) & Vicky Cosgrove on the birth of their first child Fin.


After last year’s summer holidays the Explorer scout unit became fully administered by the group, previously it was administered by the District but the arrangement did not work well. At this time all the existing unit leaders with the exception of  “the new boy on the block” Will McGenn moved away from the area. We were relieved when Will McGenn agreed to take over the running of the unit with support from the rest of the group, thanks Will.

It is hoped that the main hall will be decorated over the summer holidays and that we will get funding to enable work to start on modernising the kitchen, toilets and den.

Many thanks to all leaders and supporter, well done.

Keith Hampson

Group scout Leader

Beaver report

Beavers continue to have a very long waiting list and it’s likely that a number will never get into our group. We have the maximum of 24 on each of Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

We have had a very busy year,  packed with fun activities. The highlight of last year when we went to Rhyl to the sea life centre, the lifeboat station and built sandcastles followed by a sleep over when we got back. The beavers raised £420.00 for the lifeboat station by a sponsored sandcastle building competition. We also had a great day when we visited cub camp, the sun shone over all the activities. The activities in the evening, during the day and the sleepovers all count towards the beaver badges. These have all changed this year and we are just coming to terms with how we need to change some of the activities and incorporate others. There are more activity badges and we encourage the beavers to do some of them at home. I fear that there will be less bronze chief scout awards awarded, the highest badge that beavers can gain, due to these changes.

Thank you to all my leaders for all their efforts and to the parents that have been helping this term but it would be nice to have more permanent leaders!!

Helen Hampson
Beaver  leader

Cub report

I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all the leaders and assistants who have helped in the running of the cub pack this year. Without their continued support the pack would not be the success that it currently is. The leaders are:-

Rolando Johnston – Cub Scout Leader (CSL) (Thurs; Saxon)

Claire Lydon – CSL (Mon; Celts)

Alan Robinson – Assistant CSL (Thurs)

Vicky Morrison – ACSL (Mon)

Ralph Bolton – Parent Helper (Mon)

Emma Roberts – CSSA (Thurs)

Rachael Longhurst – ACSL (Thurs)

Fran Bray – ACSL (Thurs)

Matthew Cameron – ACSL (Thurs)


We have now been running 2 cub sections for 18months and the packs are still growing in size and attracting more and more interest for people wanting to join. The main issue that we have is attracting enough leaders to be able to provide an interesting and challenging program for the children to enjoy. The Monday night section currently has the largest pack and the fewest leaders which needs addressing.

Between the two sections we currently have 58 children, because of the large numbers it made it difficult to manage the Online Scout Management system (OSM) with regards to attendance and badge records etc so we have now split the packs and each pack now runs with its own OSM system. We started to implement this late last summer but its full roll out was not completed till later that year and I apologies for any difficulty and confusion this may have caused anyone.

The annual cub camp for 2014 was held at Bowley and the theme was “Spy Camp”. The activities included weapons training (Archery and Air rifle shooting) and gadget making along with finger printing, false ID’s, camouflage and building a forward OPs. The camp was well attended with 43 cubs attending and over 50 Beavers joining for the Saturday making a grand total of nearly 100 children! The Saturday night wide game was a scream (quite literally)

The Cub Section entered 2 teams again this year into the Pike View Hike Challenge (Bolton), which is a difficult and demanding challenge when the weather is good, when the weather is bad the difficulty increases tremendously. Both cub packs distinguished themselves this year by achieving a result that we have only equaled once before in 2011. The Saxon cub scouts came 3rd overall out of 32 packs that attended the event and the Celts walked away with 1st Prize and the trophy.

Over the last year we have awarded more than 200 badges between the 2 sections and one Chief Scout silver award to Finlay Lowe. We would like to award more badges next year, but that is up to the children.


I would also like to express my thanks to all who have given me and my family their love and support over the last 10 months and also to all the leaders who have held things together in my absence and shown me that I am dispensable after all. However my biggest thanks go to the children who welcomed me back to cubs which has always been and will remain a constant source of joy and pleasure.

 Kevin Lowe
AGSL - Cubs


Scout report

Since last year both  troops have had the opportunity to attend the County “4zero”  camp at the end of May last year and a number went on to spend 4 days rock climbing. We had  a very cold Winter camp in January and entered a team  from each troop in the Pike View Hike in April.

Phoenix troop (Wednesday)

The Phoenix troop is now 18 months old with 26 troop members, a very healthy number with scouts bringing their friends in from outside the troop, as well as coming up from cubs. Our average age is lower now since an influx of new scouts last September from cubs.  We're working hard to build their skills, knowledge and confidence, all the time having good fun.

We're sending 11 scouts to PEAK 2015,  looking  forward to a great camp.

Over the next year we aim to get away on more camps, with some Patrol Leader and Assistant Patrol Leader activities and training too.





DVESU (Didsbury Viking explorer scout unit)

I have been involved with the explorer unit for just over a year and took over the running of the unit at the end of last summer. To begin with other leaders in the group would kindly come and help run the evenings which helped to ensure that we had the necessary 2 leaders, since Christmas Rolando has joined the explorer group as a permanent leader. For most of the year we have had between 6 to 8 explorers at the meetings, and about 10 to 12 on the books. This should increase steadily as hopefully more scouts will continue onto explorers in the next couple of years.

We are starting to run joint explorer events across the 3 units in the district, we went along to the explorer winter camp this year that was great fun and we will be hosting the other units for a bbq in July. We have also been invited on the summer camp that is being run by the Wythenshawe unit. Other stand out activities for this year have included a self defense class, a paper plane making competition, a cooking evening and most recently building a catapult. We have also begun looking at doing the expeditions for the bronze DofE and chief scouts awards and had our first 'camp', a sleepover in the hut.

Will McGenn
Explorer scout leader