We are now focussed on how we prepare for returning to face-to-face activities. Of course, we must all accept that this doesn’t mean we will be able to go back to doing things how we did them before. Our new way of operating will look quite different.

Framework & Guidance

To assist leaders, we have developed a Framework in line with guidance issued by the Government and Youth Sector which sets out the steps that need to be taken to prepare for welcoming young people back to face-to-face activities when it is safe to do so.

We encourage leaders to take time to read the framework and guidance, and to consider as a staff team, in conjunction with your local Church, how best to approach a return to face-to-face activities.

Check out our Framework and guidance at boys-brigade.org.uk/ourframework/ along with a range of resources to support leaders.

A key part of our framework is our Staged Approach (see stages by clicking on image to right) to returning to face-to-face activities, which is flexible and will provide clarity to Companies over what activities should be taking place at any given time.

 

Key Updates:

Important updates affecting BB activities can be found below:

DateUpdate
03/05/2021Wales moved to Stage 3 (indoors & outdoors) - see more information.
26/04/2021Wales moving to Stage 3 (indoors & outdoors) from 3rd May - see more information.
26/04/2021Northern Ireland moved to Stage 3 (indoors and outdoors) - see more information.
23/04/2021New guidance in Scotland with effect from 26th April - see more information
19/04/2021Northern Ireland moving to Stage 3 (indoors and outdoors) from Monday 26th April - see more information.
12/04/2021England moved to Stage 3 (indoors and outdoors) - see more information.
07/04/2021Next review date for Northern Ireland is 19th April (existing guidance remains unchanged).
06/04/2021England moving to Stage 3 (indoors and outdoors) from Monday 12th April - see more information.
01/04/2021Wales moved to Stage 3 (outdoors only) - see more information.
29/03/2021England moved to Stage 3 (outdoors only) - see more information. Note: Since the original announcement the NYA has now confirmed that there is NO maximum group size or bubbles required when operating outdoors.
22/03/2021England moving to Stage 3 (outdoors only) from Monday 29th March - see more information.
19/03/2021Scotland moved to Stage 3 (outdoors only) - see more information
15/03/2021Updated guidance on distributing materials/resources in Scotland - see more information
12/03/2021Following an update to the Scottish Government's guidance for youth work, from Friday 19th March we will be moving to Stage 3 (outdoors only) in Scotland allowing outdoor activities to take place with limited numbers. See more information and YouthLink info.
01/03/2021Based on the '4-step roadmap to ease lockdown in England' announced by the Government we are pleased to set out plans for a return to face-to-face activities and the steps that will see us to moving to Stage 3. See more information.
01/03/2021Next review date for Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales is 1st April (existing guidance remains unchanged).

 

Regional Operating Status for Groups:

Check the stage we are currently operating at and additional guidance specific to your region below. Please note that the stage we are operating at may differ across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales (find out more about our Operating Stages, Framework and Guidance at boys-brigade.org.uk/ourframework/).  Advice for Companies operating in the Republic of Ireland will be issued separately through Republic of Ireland Regional Office.

Jump to guidance for:  England  /  Northern Ireland  /  Scotland  /  Wales

Last updated: 28/04/2021 – this page will be updated as guidance changes

RegionStageWhat this meansRelevant government guidance
ENGLANDCurrently operating at Stage 3 (Indoors & Outdoors)Subject to being 'Covid-ready' as part of BB Framework including local approval, face-to-face activities can take place indoors and outdoors, including trips and visits. No residentials can take place. This is based on moving to Step 2 on the Government's 'Four-Step Roadmap' out of lockdown.

Groups can continue to offer Virtual Sessions and #BBatHOME activities where necessary to maintain regular engagement with members.

Additional guidance on returning to face-to-face activities in England includes:

- No maximum group size or bubbles, from 12th April, children and young people under 18yrs are no longer subject to controlled bubble/group sizes indoors or outdoors. Whilst there are no set limits, your maximum group size should be based on being able to maintain social distancing within your meeting space. Companies should review the Covid-ready risk assessment in line with this and also ensure appropriate leader supervision is in place and that you are following safeguarding policies and other guidelines. Where possible it is still recommended that group sizes are limited to reduce the risk of infection.

- Social distancing required across all age groups including leaders.

- Face coverings MUST be worn by young people in the Company/Senior age groups for all activities, except in the following situations:
- All outdoor activities are exempt, although it is recommended that face coverings should be worn where social distancing isn’t possible.
- When eating or drinking,
- Playing team sports in large open indoor spaces (i.e. sports hall),
- Individuals who are exempt and unable to wear a covering. More guidance on individuals who are exempt is available at gov.uk.

- Face coverings MUST be worn by leaders for all activities, except in the following situations:
- All outdoor activities are exempt, although it is recommended that face coverings should be worn where social distancing isn’t possible.
- When eating or drinking,
- Individuals who are exempt and unable to wear a covering. More guidance on individuals who are exempt is available at gov.uk.

- Trips & Visits are permitted (see our guidance on 'Transport' on page 19 of our Framework & Guidance).

- Residentials including camping and any overnight stays are prohibited.

- Some limited Band/music activities, although still considered high risk, are possible. Please use Brass Bands England guidance.
Moving to Step 3 on Government's 'Four-Step Roadmap' not before 17th MayWe are continuing to work with the National Youth Agency in line with the Government’s 4 Step Roadmap out of the current lockdown and will provide further updates as and when information is available.

At the current time the roadmap indicates moving to:
- Step 3 (not before 17th May) – as and when this is confirmed we will be able to announce that residential activities will be able to resume, although at this time we are still awaiting more information from NYA to understand what additional guidance and/or restrictions will be in place for residentials (i.e. maximum group sizes, social distancing, etc).

Please note that we do not expect guidance for residentials to be available until 17th May, based on expectations set out by NYA. With this in mind we would advise leaders NOT to commit to running residential activities until such time as we are able to confirm that a move to Step 3 has been confirmed by Government and it is clear what additional guidance or restrictions might be in place.
National Youth Agency
NORTHERN IRELANDCurrently operating at Stage 3 (Indoors & Outdoors)Subject to being 'Covid-ready' as part of BB Framework including local approval, face-to-face activities can take place indoors and outdoors. No trips/visits or residentials can take place. This is based on the roadmap set out by the Northern Ireland Executive and guidance provided by the Education Authority.

Additional guidance on returning to face-to-face activities in Northern Ireland includes:

Indoor Meetings - permitted at your regular meeting place:
- Maximum group size of 15 children and young people, plus leaders. Multiple groups are permitted to meet at the same time, although the venue must not exceed 50% capacity at the current time. (Note capacity relates to room/hall capacity when applying 2 metre social distancing).
- Social distancing is required across all age groups including leaders.
- Face coverings are mandatory (post primary school age) unless medically exempt.
- Contact Sports are not permitted at the current time.
- The sharing of equipment is prohibited as well as the consumption of food (unless for a medical reason).

Outdoor Meetings - permitted at your regular meeting place:
- Maximum group size of 15 children and young people, plus leaders.
- Where 2m social distancing cannot be maintained, face coverings should be worn (post primary school age) unless medically exempt.
- Contact Sports are not permitted at the current time.
- The sharing of equipment is prohibited as well as the consumption of food (unless for a medical reason).

EA have provided updated support and guidance materials which can be found at: https://www.youthonline.org.uk/restart

Trips/Visits and Residentials including camping and any overnight stays are prohibited.
Education Authority

NI Direct
SCOTLANDCurrently operating at Stage 3 (outdoors only)

The Scottish Government's planned timetable for easing restrictions will see all of Scotland move to Level 2 on 17th May and to Level 1 on 7th June
Following updated guidance from the Scottish Government for youth organisations, we have revised our operational guidance for Companies in Scotland which applies from Monday 26th April.

The general approach should be to minimize the size of groups where possible, and continue to use virtual sessions and #BBatHOME as part of a blended approach to delivering our work with children and young people.

- Level 1 & 2 - Youth work permitted indoors and outdoors with a maximum number of 30 people in any space (including leaders).

- Level 3 - Youth work permitted outdoors with a maximum number of 30 people in any space (including leaders).

- Level 4 - Youth work permitted outdoors with a maximum number of 15 people in any space (including leaders).

- Face coverings - should be worn indoors by everyone (young people and leaders) 12 years and over. It is recommended that those under 12 should be encouraged to wear face coverings indoors. Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings. See further information on exemptions from the Scottish Government.

- Physical distancing (2 metres) for people 12 years and over (including between leaders, and leaders and all children/young people).

- Companies should consider working with 'self-contained' groups ('bubbles') based on age to manage the different physical distancing requirements.

- The household restriction does not apply to any gatherings for the purposes of education, training or voluntary services.

- Although individual travel is now permitted across Scotland, we are asked to limit travel as far as possible while providing youth work activities.

- Organised outdoor youth work activities may include games and non-contact physical activity. Leaders considering outdoor contact sports should follow the latest Scottish Government guidance, including adhering to the maximum number of individuals who can meet together at any one time, and Sports Scotland guidance.

After a period of no face-to-face activities good planning, preparation and communication will be very important. Leaders should follow our Brigade guidance framework for a safe restart to face-to-face activities, including the completion of the Covid-Ready Risk Assessment and Action Log - https://boys-brigade.org.uk/ourframework

We expect guidance on Residentials and Expeditions will be confirmed following a further review during the week beginning 3rd May.

YouthLink Scotland have provided FAQs on their website which may be helpful - https://www.youthlinkscotland.org/covid-19-guidance/youth-work-recovery-resources/frequently-asked-questions
YouthLink Scotland
WALESCurrently operating at Stage 3 (Indoors & Outdoors only)Subject to your Company being 'Covid-ready' as part of BB Framework including completing the local approval process, face-to-face activities can take place both indoors and outdoors including visits/trips. No residentials can take place.

Additional guidance for returning to face-to-face activities in Wales as follows:

- There is no maximum group size or bubbles required when operating indoors or outdoors. Whilst there is no set limits Companies should consider group size as part of their risk assessment and ensure appropriate leader supervision is in place and that you are following safeguarding policies and other guidelines.
- Social distancing of 2 metres should be adhered to for all those aged 11 and upwards including leaders. Where social distancing cannot be adhered to face coverings must be worn by everyone aged 11 and upwards.
- Face coverings are to be worn by those aged 11 and upwards including leaders indoors. Whilst face coverings are not required outdoors, face coverings should be worn where social distancing isn’t possible.
- Trips & Visits are permitted, although travel should be kept to a minimum >(see our guidance on 'Transport' on page 19 of our Framework & Guidance).
Welsh Government

We will be continuing to follow guidance issued by the UK Government and other relevant authorities to ensure the safety of both young people and leaders and will provide further updates through our regular emails to leaders, social media and this page. 

Where groups are not able to meet face-to-face, we would encourage Companies to make full use of our resourced programmes, including Socially Distanced, Virtual Session and #BBatHOME activities alongside  other ways of maintaining a sense of community during these challenging times. Resources and support for leaders running virtual sessions, camps and more at boys-brigade.org.uk/programme/.

If you have any questions please get in touch with our Staff team using the normal channels. You can get in touch with us support@boys-brigade.org.uk or 0300 303 4454.  

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Please find below some helpful questions and answers . . .
Last updated: 01/04/2021

When did The Boys’ Brigade originally suspend face-to-face activities?
The Boys’ Brigade issued a statement on 16th March 2020, that all BB Companies, Battalions and Districts must suspended face to face activities with immediate effect. Further details on how we are currently operating can be found above.

Where can I find the Brigade’s advice and update on the current situation?
All of the Brigade’s latest advice can be found on this page and we would suggest checking back regularly for any updates. In addition to this, we will be sending out regular communications to all leaders by email.

How do I keep in contact with members in my Company?
To help support leaders, on Friday 20th March 2020 we launched #BBatHOME – a new programme concept to enable BB leaders to continue to engage our members with opportunities to learn, grow and discover through a balanced programme of activities in their own homes, supported by their parents/carers.

In addition to this we have launched programme resources and support for Socially Distanced Face-to-Face activities and Virtual Sessions. Additional resources are also available to support leaders running a #BBatHOME Camp and virtual Fundraising Challenge.

Find out more about all our programme resources on the Programme Hub at boys-brigade.org.uk/programme/.

Leaders need to be clear about their boundaries and good safeguarding practice when it comes to making use of social media and electronic methods of communication. Remember that all communication with children and young people should be through their parents/carers. If you have any questions please contact BB Headquarters. For more details about activities permitted at this time, please see the top of this page for the latest information including the current ‘stage’ we are operating at.

What do we do about events, residential’s and trips due to take place?
Whilst trips will be possible once we move to operating at Stage 3 (where it is stated that ‘residential activities are permitted’) based on local risk assessments etc, residentials including camps and sleepovers will not. We do not expect that residentials will be permitted until 1st May 2021 at the earliest. We would advise leaders to consider contractual/financial obligations and where necessary make contact with venues/providers to review contracts/terms for cancellation to understand the options available should events/activities have to be postponed or cancelled.

Events organised by The Boys’ Brigade UK & RoI Headquarters and/or Regions will offer a refund on all registration/booking fees. Unfortunately, The Boys’ Brigade is unable to cover costs for travel or other expenses. The relevant course organisers will make contact with the person who made the booking in due course regarding these arrangements.

Companies that would have offered a residential opportunity during this period to consider running a #BBatHOME Camp for which a range of resources are available to support leaders including guidance, activity cards, sample programme and templates. Also find out more about taking part in the Virtual Unite Camp taking place in May 2021 at unitebb.org.uk/.

Can young people continue to work towards the Brigade’s Major Awards?
We have published Guidance for continuing with the Queen’s Badge during the 2020-21 session, which we hope will enable the opportunities provided by the award to continue. The guidance includes details of temporary changes to Queen’s Badge regulations along with ideas and suggestions of activities that young people could undertake.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award have created a ‘DofE With A Difference’ hub where Leaders, young people and parents can find the latest information, advice and ideas. They have also introduced a number of temporary programme changes to make it easier for young people to keep doing DofE.

If you have any questions about the Brigade’s Major Awards please contact your Regional Headquarters.

How will BB Headquarters operate during this period?
Based on the contingency plans and systems we have in place The Boys’ Brigade UK & RoI and Regional Staff Team will continue to offer support to the membership and provide essential services from home. You will be able to contact us by phone, email and online in the usual ways, although we ask you to refrain from sending post to our offices at this time.  As of 1st April 2020, the Brigade has been operating a reduced staffing structure, with a significant number of staff going on ‘Furlough’. BB Supplies will continue to operate as normal, with contingency plans in place. You can place orders through the Online Shop or by calling 0333 320 8078.  All general enquiries should continue to be directed to 0300 303 4454 or support@boys-brigade.org.uk.

Can we return forms to HQ in a different way?
We recognise that completing and send forms by post may become more difficult. We already receive a large volume of registration and disclosure paperwork from BB Companies where it is scanned and e-mailed to the Support Team and would like to encourage more Companies to do so. Adopting this approach of completing the paperwork will also mean that this can be done between all parties involved in the completion of paperwork, who can scan and e-mail forms to one another locally.

All completed forms should be sent to support@boys-brigade.org.uk, or you can also now directly upload these completed forms to us by using our website contact form at boys-brigade.org.uk/submit-forms-online/ On lots of printers now there are in built scanners which can be used. However, if you don’t have a scanner then there is another alternative. On smart phones/devices there are lots of free scanner apps available which can be used to take a snap of the completed form. Go to your app store on your phone/device and search for a scanner app; one app we have found and used ourselves is ‘Scanbot’, but there are lots of other apps that also do the same job.