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Guidance for large scale events

We understand that leaders will be looking forward and starting to think about programmes that may involve larger groups. It's hoped that this will be possible during June as some restrictions may ease again (for example following 21 June updates in England), and the following guidance is to support your planning for the summer months.

Defining a large scale event

A large-scale event where 100 or more people are present may not take place at the current time, with 100 coming from precedent set from POR rule 9.6, where with adventurous activities we can operate in a different way for events of 10 or more. Events with attendance below this number may take place.  An event is described as where young people, supported by adults, from more than two Scout Groups 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 support local sections and groups to meet together, to re-establish contact with as many members and new members as possible, to welcome new leaders and adult volunteers and to ensure 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 not form part of any planning before the autumn/winter term of 2021.  

Requirements and restrictions will vary between nations and jurisdictions but in all cases restrictions will remain for some time. As locations move towards and into Green we expect that restrictions will remain in place preventing larger groups from gathering. The exemptions to gathering limits which are in place for youth organisations exist to allow us to undertake our core purpose – delivering a local programme for young people. As restrictions ease across the UK we know people will be looking to bring larger groups together, however, at this stage, being responsible citizens, would guide us to doing all we can to minimise the potential for spreading the virus, staying local, minimising social contact, and maintaining other covid-safe controls like social distancing and face coverings.  

At this time events including 100 people or more (including young people, adults and supporters) may not take place. In stating this, we recognise that on some sites and community areas, there may be a number of such groups meeting, or the potential for Scout Groups to be in locations where there are many other people present.  That is accepted provided each scout unit remains separate and unique.

For example 

  • A Beaver Fun Day with a number of different round-robin bases where the total number of beavers, leaders and other adult helpers/volunteers exceeds 100 is not allowed at the current time. Organisers should think carefully and ensure all COVID controls are in place and other risks assessed and documented before planning to proceed in the autumn/winter term.
  • A District organised visit to an outdoor centre for bouldering or abseiling activities involving 75 young people and 20 adults would be acceptable.  

Government guidelines for COVID-controls such as use of toilets, hand washing/hygiene/social distancing as they apply at the time of the event must be followed.  

Section Leaders (and that of district/area/county/regional support) should 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.  Large scale gatherings can follow in due course. 

Note: This guidance will be updated as new government advice is developed and shared.  

Large gatherings for adults only events 

For general guidance on adults meeting without young people please refer to this document (adult guidance) 

The principles of this guidance in relation to young people gathering applies to adults only events too, except that government guidance on numbers meeting together indoors and outdoors, and on socialising applies.  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 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. Our cap at no more than 100 scouts (total including leaders and adult volunteers) taking part also applies. This guidance will continue to be reviewed through the year, closely linked to the developing guidance of the governments of each nation.

Where an external event has been allowed to occur with local authority permission then Scouts can attend but must remain in a Scout 'bubble' operating to our limits and controls within that bubble. Any additional controls and requirements put in place by the event organisers must still be followed in addition to Scouts ones.
Readiness levels across UK Scouts