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Host and Home Hospitality Guidance

UK Groups travelling overseas

(FS120821) (Published January 2019)

UK Groups travelling overseas

When UK groups travel overseas, members under the age of 18 must not participate in home hospitality experiences; this is due to significant challenges with ensuring the safety of the young people while in the host homes and as it falls outside the Scout’s Safeguarding policy. Hosted hospitality is both recommended and permitted, where a group of UK Scouts share a residential experience with Scouts and/or Guides from abroad.  

Scouts aged over 18 travelling abroad are able to undertake home hospitality experiences, as they are an adult member who can make informed decisions. Here are some top tips for keeping yourself safe during these experiences:

  • Check ahead of the visit what the accommodation is like. Will you have your own room and what are the bathrooms like?
  • Try to find a host who is of similar age and with similar interests to you, this is likely to mean you have more in common and the experience is more enjoyable
  • Think about how comfortable you are travelling alone; you may prefer to stay as a pair with another UK Scout
  • Think about your needs. Do you have allergies, likes and dislikes which need to be considered as part of the experience?
  • Make sure others know about your plans, have details of where and when you are staying,  and that you have an emergency plan in place

Group Hosted Hospitality

When setting up a group hosted hospitality experience it’s important to find suitable accommodation which allows for everyone to have appropriate space and privacy whilst sharing the experience. The main areas for developing cultural understanding are established through communal activities such as eating and clearing up, food preparation and socialising. It’s important to find space and activities which encourage mixing between the groups as it is very easy for everyone to stay within their comfort zone with their peers.

In setting up hosted hospitality it’s important to have shared objectives with the other party, making sure that everyone's expectations are aligned. Setting up partnerships and exchanges, allowing for a longer term connection, can be beneficial.

Don’t forget that when looking for group hosted accommodation, think about your budget. Look at campsites and residential centres, hostels and bunk houses, these should provide suitable dormitory accommodation along with sufficient communal space.

UK Home Hospitality for Scouts and/or Guides from abroad

Hosting Scouts and/or Guides from abroad in the UK homes is a permitted, although group hosted is preferable and recommended. Those who wish to undertake home hospitality must follow the requirements in POR 9.4.

A UK Leader in Charge must support the process of checking that the UK host families and accommodation is appropriate.

Click to download the host agreement. 

This form must be completed and signed by all parties involved, this includes the UK Leader in Charge, host family members and the host Commissioner.

When looking for suitable host families consider the following:

  • Is there space in the house for the guests (a minimum of two young people per household), with them needing a room to themselves?
  • How many adults live in the house, or will be staying overnight during the hosting experience? These adults will need to go through the appropriate Scouting vetting processes (DBS, PVG or AccessNI).
  • Does the host family have children of a similar age to those being hosted?
  • How long will the home hospitality last? Don’t forget that any visit lasting two nights or more requires a home visit by the UK leader in charge or their nominee during the stay (for every 2 nights stayed)
  • What programme of activities will be provided for the guests by the family and by the group?
  • What communication system is in place to ensure that the young person knows who to contact prior to and during the visit taking place?
  • What communication system is in place to ensure that everyone involved, guests, families and leaders, all have contact details for each other?
  • What contingency plan is in place, what will you do if a family have to pull out?
  • What support will be needed in advance of the visit and during the visit?