The Governance Support Team (GST) was established in Spring 2021 to assist groups in the District to thrive.
The GST became involved with 32nd Deptford and the 2nd Deptford in 2021 when it became apparent they were in a very poor state. The 32nd youth membership had plummeted and leaders were thin on the ground; whilst the 2nd was even worse with no youth members and one adult in the role of Group Scout Leader (GSL). The Group Executive (GEC) was not functioning so in effect the 2nd was closed. It was important to the District to keep both groups going as they served large catchment areas and there were no other Groups within walking distance; therefore a recovery plan was considered a top priority.
The GST decided both groups needed different approaches but both would benefit from positive efforts and active support. Two GST representatives, Richard Morrison and Luke Cohen were parachuted in to support the Groups on both a governance and leadership level, authorized by the District Commissioner. This was acted upon in May 2021.
Our strategy with the 32nd was to provide light-touch support as we had an experienced GSL, Rob Ludlow, who had returned to the group and a functioning GEC in place. Richard and Luke provided one-to-one support via meetings/telephone/What’s App and email.
Within a year, the 32nd has now become a much stronger group, having recruited more leaders and significantly increased the youth membership. The recent census return showed 73 youth members.
The 2nd required a different approach, Richard and Luke needed to tackle the morale within the group, as well as the lack of support to the GSL (Charlie Baxter). In consultation with the GSL, they set up an action plan. We sought County help asking Matt Butterfield, the County Development Officer, to join the team. A GEC was set up with Richard, Luke, and Matt becoming members. In addition, Michelle Buckle (ADC Beavers), who was still involved in the 2nd, agreed to come on board. Links were made with the 1st New Cross, a much strong group, to provide support and guidance within the local community. A publicity drive was launched and taster sessions for new Beavers and Cub Scouts were organised and run successfully in January 2022.
The 2nd Deptford now has a Beaver Colony and a Cub Pack, which were commenced following the taster sessions. The Beaver Colony has now got a waiting list. 6 new leaders/helpers including a Beaver Leader are in place and they are now going through the appointment process with the support of the GST. The Cub Pack now meets separately with Peter Buckle from the 1st New Cross leading the team, we are still however seeking more adult help for this section. An additional Squirrels section is being considered for perhaps later in the year. This of course is subject to DC approval. Finally and probably most positively, the GSL’s motivation has improved considerably and the general morale of the group is high.
If you feel you could benefit from the support of the GST, please get in touch with the District team and we will do our best.
Contributed by Richard Morrison
Member of the GST and District Supporter