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
22/10/2020Residential activities are not expected to be permitted until 1st May 2021 at the earliest (previously 1st January 2021). Please see FAQ's below for further information. This will be reviewed as necessary, particularly with reference to DofE Expeditions.
22/10/2020Wales moved to Stage 2 - see regional guidance below
20/10/2020Wales moving from Stage 3 to Stage 2 from 22nd October 2020 - see regional guidance below
19/10/2020Northern Ireland moved to Stage 2 - see regional guidance below
15/10/2020Update on the introduction of Local Covid Alert Levels in England - see regional guidance below
15/10/2020Northern Ireland moving from Stage 3 to Stage 2 from 19th October 2020 - see regional guidance below
01/10/2020Northern Ireland moved to Stage 3 - see regional guidance below
28/09/2020BB Guidance updated to version 3 - view at https://boys-brigade.org.uk/ourframework/
22/09/2020Following announcements regarding new restrictions (rule of 6) in England and Scotland, both the National Youth Agency and YouthLink Scotland have confirmed that there is no change to their guidance for youth sector activities. BB face-to-face activities can continue following BB framework and guidance.

 

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: 22/10/2020 – this page will be updated as guidance changes

RegionStageWhat this meansRelevant government guidance
ENGLANDCurrently operating at Stage 3Subject to being 'Covid-ready' as part of BB Framework including local approval, face-to-face activities can take place indoors and outdoors. No residentials can take place. Groups can continue to offer Virtual Sessions and #BBatHOME activities where necessary to maintain regular engagement with members.

Local Covid Alert Levels (15/10/20) - Following the introduction of the 3 Local Covid Alert Levels (Medium, High & Very High) across England, we have been working with the National Youth Agency to understand the implications for BB activities. We are pleased to confirm that in line with Government guidance on these restrictions BB groups are permitted to continue to run face-to-face activities across ALL 3 levels (Medium, High and Very High) providing the BB framework (including completing the local approval process) and guidance is being followed. The Youth Sector (Youth Clubs and Activities) has been designated as an essential service and the Government recognises the value of face-to-face work with children and young people during these challenging times.

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

- Maximum group size of 15 children and young people, plus leaders for both indoor and outdoor activity (although the number of leaders should be managed to keep the overall group size as small as possible).

- Where possible leaders are encouraged to remain in the same ‘self-contained’ group and not move between groups on the same day. Where leaders do need to move between groups this should be incorporated in your risk assessment with additional control measures in place to reduce the risk of infection spread.

- Social distancing required across all age groups including leaders.

- Face coverings MUST be worn by young people in the Company/Seniors age groups for all indoor activities. Whilst it is not mandatory, we recommend leaders working across all age groups wear a face covering during face-to-face activities.

- Some limited Band/music activities, although still considered high risk, are possible. Please use Brass Bands England guidance.
National Youth Agency
NORTHERN IRELANDCurrently operating at Stage 2With effect from Monday 19th October The Boys’ Brigade has returned to operating at Stage 2 of our framework in Northern Ireland.

This means that Companies must NOT meet in any face-to-face setting indoors or outdoors and should engage with children and young people through virtual session and #BBatHOME activities.

Following advice from the Education Authority this change should be viewed as a pause in face-to-face activities rather than a long-term suspension. Companies are advised to continue preparations for a return to face-to-face activities during this time, it is anticipated we will be permitted to return to face-to-face activities once schools return at the beginning of November.

The operating status will be reviewed on Thursday 29th October 2020.
Education Authority

NI Direct
No confirmed date to return to Stage 3Groups in Northern Ireland are encouraged to continue planning for a return to face-to-face activities following the BB framework and guidance, so they are ready to resume activities as soon as they are ready and able to do so.

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

- Group size – this will depend on the local setting and related circumstances. The risk assessment will be key and should adhere to up-to-date Public Health Agency and Education Authority guidelines (see links in right-hand column). Where possible, always work in smaller groups/sub-groups.

- Leaders – where possible, leaders are encouraged to remain in the same ‘self-contained’ group and not move between groups on the same day. Where leaders do need to move between groups, this should be incorporated into the risk assessment with additional control measures in place to reduce the risk of infection spread.

- Social distancing – this is required across all age groups, including leaders.

- Face coverings MUST be worn by young people in the Company/Seniors age groups for all indoor activities. Whilst it is not mandatory, we recommend leaders working across all age groups wear a face covering during face-to-face activities.

Companies operating in areas with local lockdowns or restrictions should follow the additional local guidance – see the NI Direct website (link in right-hand column).
Education Authority

NI Direct
SCOTLANDCurrently operating at Stage 3Subject to being 'Covid-ready' as part of and following the BB Guidance Framework including local approval, face-to-face activities can take place indoors and outdoors. No residentials can take place. Companies can continue to offer Virtual Sessions and #BBatHOME activities to maintain regular engagement with members.

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

- Maximum group size of 30 children/young people and leaders, for both indoor and outdoor activity.

- Physical distancing (2 metres) required for young people aged 12 and over.

- Young people in Company Section/Seniors are required to wear a face covering if physical distancing can't be maintained. Whilst it is not mandatory, we recommend leaders working across all age groups wear a face covering during face-to-face activities.

- Leaders of all age groups are required to wear a face covering if physical distancing (between leaders and between leaders & children/young people) can't be maintained.

- If using any transport, all leaders and all children/young people aged 5+ are required to wear face coverings.

- Companies may wish to begin with a smaller number, or a consistent group of children/young people.

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

- Where possible leaders are encouraged to remain in the same 'self-contained' group and not move between groups on the same day. Although there is no specific restriction on the number of groups a leaders could work with, leaders should take into account how many households they are meeting up with in a day and look to minimise risk by restricting movement between groups.

- Some limited Band/music activities, although still considered high risk, are possible. Please use Scottish Government guidance.

Companies operating in areas with local lockdowns or restrictions should follow additional local guidance - see areas currently affected at https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-local-measures/
YouthLink Scotland
WALESCurrently operating at Stage 2With effect from Thursday 22nd October The Boys’ Brigade has returned to operating at Stage 2 of our framework in Wales.

This means that Companies must NOT meet in any face-to-face setting indoors or outdoors and should engage with children and young people through virtual session and #BBatHOME activities.

Companies are advised to continue preparations for a return to face-to-face activities during this time, it is anticipated we will be permitted to return to face-to-face activities once schools return at the beginning of November.

The operating status will be reviewed on Monday 9th November 2020.
Welsh Government
No confirmed date to return to Stage 3Groups in Wales are encouraged to continue planning for a return to face-to-face activities following the BB framework and guidance, so they are ready to resume activities as soon as they are ready and able to do so.

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

- Maximum group size of 15 children and young people plus leaders for indoor activity (although the number of leaders should be managed to keep the overall group size small as possible).

- Maximum group size of 30 children and young people including leaders for outdoor activity.

- Where possible leaders are encouraged to remain in the same ‘self-contained’ group and not move between groups on the same day. Where leaders do need to move between groups this should be incorporated in your risk assessment with additional control measure in place to reduce the risk of infection spread.

- Social distancing required across all age groups including leaders.

- Face coverings MUST be worn by all young people in Company/Seniors age groups for indoor activities. Whilst it is not mandatory, we recommend leaders working across all age groups wear a face covering during face-to-face activities.

- Some limited Band/music activities, although still considered high risk, are possible. Please use Brass Bands England guidance.

Companies operating in areas with local lockdowns or restrictions should follow local guidance – see areas currently affected at https://gov.wales/coronavirus
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 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 01442 231 681 (option 4).  

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Please find below some helpful questions and answers . . .
Last updated: 21/10/2020

When did The Boys’ Brigade 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 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.

Find out more about #BBatHOME by going to boys-brigade.org.uk/bbathome including guidance for leaders on keeping in touch with members. We have also put together guidance to support leaders in running ‘Virtual Sessions‘ with children & young people during this period. Click here to read the guidance.

Additional resources are also available to support leaders running a #BBatHOME Camp and virtual Fundraising Challenge. 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 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. We would encourage.

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.

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, 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 01442 231 681 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.