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Guidance for large scale events

As we see restrictions easing further across the UK we have updated this guidance to support your planning for the summer months. We still strongly recommend that in Scouts we do all we can to support the government's advice to minimise transmission and keep everyone safe, and therefore running a large event should be a last, not a first, thought.  

Section Leaders (and those in District/Area/County/Regional support roles) should continue to be focussed on strengthening each section/unit meeting in their own community, building back numbers and developing a strong, exciting and challenging programme of weekly activities with, and for, young members. 

For some large Scout Groups, it will be helpful to have these restrictions eased. For Districts and Counties, it will be tempting to run big events but we strongly caution against doing so unless you can show that the benefits significantly outweigh the risks of transmission, and that you have explored other options of delivering the same outcome first. e.g. you may plan to run a top awards evening in the town hall for all sections, but you could achieve the same outcome in a much safer way by hosting it outdoors at a local campsite and doing five smaller events for each section separately.  

Defining a large-scale event 

Unless identified in the readiness level table there is no legal limit on numbers that can gather within the Scouts, however having the space and systems to safely manage the event is key. 

An event is described as where young people, supported by adults, from more than two Scout Groups or Sections meet together for programme activities. For scouting purposes, it doesn’t matter whether a fee is paid to attend the event or not. Activities may be run by Scouts, or may include large-scale trips or visits, e.g. to a theme park. It is also generally recognised that events would tend to require large numbers of people to travel out of their local community.  

What is and is not allowed

Our focus during 2021 is to rebuild local Scouting for young people- by supporting local Sections and Groups to meet together, re-establishing contact with as many members and new members as possible, welcoming new leaders and adult volunteers and ensuring that young people have a great and challenging programme; and leaders complete all their outstanding training and compliance obligations.   

Whilst large scale events may offer great programme, we should recognise that bringing together large numbers of people increases the risk of infection and the spread of the virus and therefore should whilst planning may take place, delivery should not generally occur before the autumn/winter term of 2021.   

If you are planning a large event for later in the year you should still consider how you make it as safe as possible for everyone and minimise transmission, e.g. keeping everyone in small groups, running everything outdoors, having plenty of good hygiene measures in place, reducing contact between these groups, staggering arrivals and departures and following Government guidelines for COVID-controls such as use of toilets, hand washing/ hygiene/ social distancing as they apply at the time of the event.  You should also consider the impact any positive test would have on wider activities, and how will you minimise this risk.

Large gatherings for adults only events 

For general guidance on adults meeting without young people please refer to the guidance on getting adults involved again 

When considering larger adult only event, the principles outlined in the guidance above still apply, except that government guidance on numbers meeting together indoors and outdoors, and on socialising applies, and is different in each nation.  We remind everyone that it remains safer to meet outdoors than inside and where possible, continuing to use online functions is safe and offers re-assurance to many of our adult volunteers. Remember too that Charity Commission (and nation equivalents) still have exemptions in place which allow AGMs to take place online or by video link.   

Joining events organised outside of the Scouts

Taking part in an event organised by others still requires scouts to follow youth sector guidance. Examples might be PRIDE events, County shows or community/village festivals. The principles of maintaining safe distance, ensuring mitigation is in place, outside being safer than indoors and minimising contact and risk of transmission are still relevant. Risk assessments should be completed by the lead scouting participant, and adherence to the organisers’ risk assessments applied too.  Any additional controls and requirements put in place by the event organisers must still be followed in addition to Scouts ones. Where an external event has been allowed to occur with local authority permission then Scouts can attend but we recommend minimal contact with others attending the event. Remember we have a duty of care to our volunteers and youth members in all circumstances.