1st Hassocks Scout Group
Present: Alec Gaskin (District Representative), Janet Slaughter (District Representative), various leaders, Young People from the group, parents and carers (approx. 60 in total).
Apologies: Holly Pattenden – District, Vernon Cowdell – District, Brian Spencer – AGSL, Michell Binks, Debbie Dillon, Philip Richardson (all Hassocks Executive Members)
Welcome and apologies
The Chair welcomed all to the meeting and outlined the agenda for the evening. The Chair also listed apologies received, noted above.
Minutes from the last AGM (5 June 2018)
Proposed Bill Whitehead, Seconded Miranda Pocock – Agreed
Chair’s Report (Michael Buss)
The Chair reported another successful Scouting year for all sections and gave particular thanks to all volunteers – uniformed leaders, assistants and helpers – who gave so much over the last year making the point that without their support, the Group would not be as successful. Bill Whitehead, Group Scout Leader (GSL), was also congratulated on his team and the varied Scouting programme that they offer all sections. The Chair also gave personal thanks to Brian Spencer, who as Asst GSL, Quartermaster and HQ maintenance manager, kept the Group’s assets in first class order and other committee members who worked ‘in the background’ to keep the Group running.
Although the Fundraising Committee has been disbanded, the Group will continue its activities of the Christmas postal service, bag packing at Budgens and other section ideas to raise some funds.
The Chair also made the meeting aware that this Group is one of the largest in the District, with currently over 150 young people Scouting in Hassocks and a waiting list that reaches until June 2025 as some names are added days after birth. This popularity reflects the quality of Scouting in Hassocks which comes from a quality leadership team. New Leaders and helpers are always being sought however, for satisfying and fun roles.
An update on the cladding situation from the HQ building was given, stating that a contractor was appointed in early September and so the works will be actioned late October/early November (Autumn Half-term plus a week). The cladding would help to protect the building against inclement weather, but also make it more energy efficient and so reduce running costs. Once completed, this would only leave the interior decoration of the HQ building to be completed.
Treasurer’s Report (Beverley Whitehead)
The Group bank balance is in a healthy state, at approx. £35,000, including a surplus of £6,000 from the last financial year and the reserve that is legally required to be kept, for one year’s running costs, of £12,000.
Beverley pointed out that a reserve 0f £13,000 has been set aside from this amount for the Cladding Project
As there is no Fundraising Committee now, each section will do its own fundraising and manage its own account from activities ie:
Cubs – Christmas Card deliveries
Scouts – sponsored events
Hall hire income – this has decreased due to a regular tenant giving up their weekly contract and it was reiterated that we all needed to use the hall more and advertise that it was available for use.
Gift Aid – all were reminded that this is a very important income stream, which did not cost the signatory anything additional to their contribution and should be signed up for regarding parental subscription payments and it is a personal responsibility to action. 80% of parents from Group young people have signed up for it, but it is the GSL’s ambition that this is 100% so that a maximum claim could be requested from HMRC.
GSL report (Bill Whitehead)
Bill also thanked the leaders, young leaders and others who volunteered and supported the Section, reminding the attendees that Jane, Gavin and Jenny have left this year, but Adam and Dan have come on board and Teri has re-joined the group of helpers. But more are always required.
Bill re-iterated how important is was for parents to be involved either in uniform, with training given for the roles or on the Executive Committee, acting as a critical friend to the Committee or as a fundraiser for the Group.
OSM (on-line Scout Manager) – this is the default tool now for the Group and it is used for communicating programmes, keeping records and collecting subs, but it needs to be kept up to date with current contact information. All parents were asked to check that information on OSM was correct.
Bill Whitehead gave reports for:
Lisa Sendall, Scout Leader Pathfinders, gave the report for the Scouts (see attached)
Election of officers and other Executive members
Chair – Michael Buss nominated, seconded and agreed
Treasurer – Beverley Whitehead nominated, seconded and agreed
Secretary – Jeanne Brooker nominated, seconded and agreed
Leaders opting into Executive – Paul Twaites and Holly Pattenden, agreed
Parent Reps and other volunteers – Miranda Pocock, Debbie Dillon, Philip Richardson, Tony Chaitlow and Michelle Binks, agreed
AOB and questions
There was an earnest plea from Miranda Pocock for more current Group young people’s parents to volunteer either regularly at the weekly sessions or by being on the Executive. She pointed out that a number of those on the Committee didn’t even have young people still in the Group at all. This comment was noted.
Gift Aid – clarification given to how to sign up for this.
District Representative (Alec Gaskin, VP of District)
Alec gave a short encouraging speech of his observation of the Hassocks Group and how well it was doing and wished the Group even more success in the future.
Presentation – GSL award
Scout of the Year was won by Sam Barclay
Everyone was thanked again for attending by the Chair and the meeting closed at 19.30
This year the beavers have been a bit more adventurous compared to previous years. We started out the year slowly by doing things like Disability Awareness and celebrating the Chinese New Year, before trying a new and exciting activity which was Geocaching. We did this around Hassocks, and it helped to introduce the Beavers to orienteering type skills.
As the weather improved, we ventured outdoors for some Hikes. We went to the Chattri, we had a scavenger hunt around Adastra Park and a Meadow Walk at Pyecombe Golf Club.
This year the Beavers got to attend the one day Go Beavers event at Blacklands farm. Which was full of fun with games, craft making, climbing walls, bush craft, tree ropes and many other activities. The day had almost perfect weather if a little warm at times
We ended the year off with our most adventurous activity to date, Paddle Surfing and Yachting at Hove Lagoon. This was not only a fantastic activity but this time the weather conditions where perfect.
Looking to the future, we are hoping to continue with having more new experiences and adventures that the Beavers will hopefully remember with fondness when they think back to their time within Scouting.
This year Cubs started out with the Annual swimming games and Gala.
Tie dying T shirts proved to be lots of fun!
We enjoyed our annual London trip, once again staying in Docklands on a converted ice breaker ship, with a Visit to the Postal museum was far more interesting and lots more fun than a lot of the Cubs feared. We then enjoyed a different take on Mother’s Day this year by using power tools to create the gifts.
In the summer term the cubs really enjoyed making ARMPIT Fudge, this was not only a tasty first for us but very mess and enjoyed by all. The Cubs enjoyed the sun with several outdoor activities ranging from hiking to the chattri to doing bash craft at Woods Mill.
Many of the cubs had a fantastic time at the Annual Dads and Cubs camp which we held a lot earlier this year than normal due to the County Cub Camp in September. We had fantastic weather all term and before finishing of the year with a bounce by visiting to Jump in, a trampoline fun park.
Looking forward we will be starting the year with the County Camp which will be great fun we hope to do a lot more adventures stuff that we have already booked and have exciting ideas for next year’s London Trip as well as the Dads and Cubs camp
2019 has been a busy year in scouts with our year starting with the district raft race last September and ended with climbing last term.
The other district events we’ve taken part in this year included the quiz and checkpoint challenge hike in January, swimming gala in February where we came in position 4th and 7th, the 24 hour challenge in March where 3 of our scouts took part and the cooking competition in April where scouts have just a week to learn a recipe and then have to cook in teams of 4 without any help and present a 4 course dinner to a judging panel. We did really well, coming joint 3rd and 5th and being the only group in the district to have two teams.
A new event in our programme was the Monopoly Run up in London. Lots of miles clocked up racing from location to location whilst seeing the sites.
We continued with our exciting camps including a toothbrush camp in September where scouts brought minimal equipment, a gadget camp in October, one of our most popular events of the year the Children in Need Sleepover where the scouts assemble here with lots of cardboard and made shelters outside to sleep in all night. As well as having a huge amount of fun and trying to keep warm they raised a very impressive £1,371 for the charity. Many thanks to all of you who supported and sponsored our Scouts. We also added a new cycle camp to our programme, where scouts cycled from Shoreham to Guildford and raised over £1500, with a date for next year already in discussion. Our last camp this summer was at Broadstone Warren where the scouts had an opportunity to try new activities.
The end of term meeting is always memorable, and this year included ice skating at Brighton Pavilion at Christmas and bowling in the marina in the spring, which entered the scouts into the worldwide jamboree. A total of 1102 teams took part and we came 105th, 129th, 154th and 180th.
We also try to help around the village include the bag packing in Budgens’s in December and litter picking during our hikes and will be repeating this again this year.
Badges covered included astronomy, rifle shooting, electronics, model maker with robot wars, pioneering and knots which including investing new scouts by making them walk the bridge they made, local knowledge, DIY where we made the pallet chairs outside and last term we ran a practical first aid evening where we need to apologise again for sending your scouts home covering in fake blood stains.
As leaders we get very proud to see our scouts grow in confidence and enjoy the activities we plan out. We are particularly proud of two individuals who have taken their scouting experiences to a larger level, one training with the National Scout Rifle Team and one getting selected to join the district team and go to Poland for the European Jamboree next year
In writing this year’s report I have tried to keep it brief and avoid repeating anything in the chairman’s report. That said I would like to thank all of the leaders, young and old for giving up their time, Brian for managing the equipment and the planning application, Paul for his efforts on OSM and Alick for overseeing the website.
Our leaders are what makes the group great fun for the young people, they provide support and encouragement in doing your best, be that in the everyday, in having fun or in achieving things never believed possible. This year we have said goodbye to a few in Jane, Gavin and Jenny but also welcomed in new faces such as Adam and Dan and welcomed back others like Teri.
As always, we can always find room for more to ensure we continue to provide up to date activities. Free award-winning training is available, and you don’t need to be Bear Grylls’s in order to be just who we want.
Over the next few years we may well run short of spaces in Scouts so if you are a cub or beaver parent now would be a good time to step up and secure the future of our troops or even help us achieve a goal of opening an new one.
If you don’t feel able to make the regular commitment of being in uniform how about helping out behind the scenes on the exec as a critical friend or as a treasurer or fund raiser applying for grants. Just think what we could do outside, a climbing wall, a shaded kitchen or herb garden if we had the money.
Talking of money, we lost some regular hall hirers last year so if you know of anyone who may like to hire the hall during the day please do persuade them to get in touch.
As a group we have really started to utilise OSM (on-line scout manager) to the full we plan our programs on it, we keep our record on it, we collect our subs, camp fees etc. via it and you the parents can look at some of the information via my-scout. It is however only as good as the information that is entered and to comply with GDPR I would urge you at the start of another scouting year to log on and double check that everything is up to date, no new mobile number??
My favourite part of the evening is celebrating our young people. This year I am not announcing the section nominations as there are just too many stars to name. For scout of the year however there can be only one, so this year’s winner is: Sam Barclay
Sam really enjoys scouting and gives 100% to everything he does.
He has helped and attended all our activities and camps throughout the year.
These include Monopoly Run, Spring Camp, District Cooking Competition, Downslink sponsored Bike ride and Summer Camp.
Sam’s future plans are to complete his Chief Scouts award which will include a 2-day expedition hike in October.
He is a great role model for the newer scouts in the troop and we wish him every success for the future.’
1st Hassocks GSL
Again, I am very happy to report yet another hugely successful Scouting year for all sections of the Group in Hassocks.
On behalf of the Young People, Executive, and parents, I would like to give our heartfelt thanks to all the Uniformed Leaders, Assistants and anyone who has helped in any capacity for their help and enthusiasm over the last 12 months. Without these Leaders and Helpers, the Group would not be as successful as it is and the time and effort put in by these leaders and helpers far exceeds the time in Section meetings, that is the ‘visible part’ of Scouting. We must never forget that they are all volunteers, and that the time and expertise they bring to the Group is reflected in the continuing success of Scouting in all sections in our village.
Bill Whitehead, as Group Scout Leader, is to be congratulated on his team of leaders and the wonderful and varied programme of Scouting activates they offer in all sections
Brian Spencer continues in his roles as AGSL, Quartermaster and HQ Maintenance Manager, and his efforts in these last two functions ensure the Group’s assets are kept in tip top condition, and I would like to personally thank Brian for all his efforts.
As always, my thanks go to all the members of the Group Executive, which works unseen in the background to ensure that everything is in place for the “visible” parts of scouting to take place.
Sadly, the Fund-Raising Committee has disbanded but the Group will continue to undertake fund raising activities such as the Village Christmas Postal Service, Bag Packing in Budgens and other items the sections come up with.
The District Explorers (Age 14+) continue to use our Headquarters as a base and we wish them every success in their continued endeavours, and this section is the next in the chain as our Young People get older, and they are encouraged to go onto this older group to expand their personal development and experiences in Scouting.
We are one of the largest groups in the District with currently over 150 young people Scouting in Hassocks. We have a waiting list for starters that stretches to June 2025, with names being added within days of birth! This is indicative of the popularity and quality of Scouting in Hassocks and reflects well on the Leadership Team. We are always on the lookout for new Leaders and Helpers and it is a very satisfying job with loads of Fun
Our plans to upgrade the Cladding on the Headquarters building should be actioned over the Autumn Half Term, subject to planning permission being granted, which will help with protection against the weather but more importantly make us more energy efficient and help reduce running costs. This will complete the refurbishment of the building (which has seen the replacement of the roof, upgraded the Lighting, replacement of the Heating system, replacement of the Toilets, replacement of the windows and doors and the addition of Disabled access and exit, and will then only leave an upgrade of the internal decoration.
We as a Group and Executive are conscious of the fact that everything we do is for the benefit of the young people, and it gives us all great pleasure and a sense of achievement when we see such enthusiasm and commitment to Scouting. It is very pleasing to see the Young People take full advantage of everything we are able to offer, both at County, District, Group and Section level.