5-8 years

8-11 years

11-14 years

14-18 years

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:

19/07/2021From Monday 19th July, Guidance for England has been updated based on moving to Step 4 of the Government’s 4 Step Roadmap out of the current lockdown. This sees a number of restrictions for indoor & outdoor activities as well as trips/visits and residentials being relaxed - see more information.
19/07/2021From 17th July, Guidance on residentials in Wales was updated. Residentials for up to 30 young people can take place subject to an appropriate risk assessment. - see more information.
06/07/2021From Tuesday 6th July, updates to guidance for residentials in Scotland - see full guidance
02/07/2021From Monday 5th July, changes to guidance for residentials in Northern Ireland - see full guidance
18/06/2021From Monday 21st June, changes to guidance for residentials in England, allowing up to 30 young people plus leaders - see full guidance
18/06/2021Updated guidance in Scotland with immediate effect - see more information
27/05/2021Residentials in Scotland - From the 1st June indoor and outdoor residentials may recommence based on the Protection Level for your Local Authority. See full guidance for residentials in scotland.
26/05/2021New guidance in Northern Ireland with effect from 27th May - see more information
21/05/2021Guidance added for running DofE residentials in England.
17/05/2021England moved to Stage 3 (indoors and outdoors) including limited residentials - see more information.
17/05/2021Scotland moved to Stage 3 (indoors and outdoors - depending on local authority level) - see more information
14/05/2021England moving to Stage 3 (indoors and outdoors) including limited residentials from Monday 17th May - see more information.
03/05/2021Wales moved to Stage 3 (indoors & outdoors) - see more information.


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: 19/07/2021 – this page will be updated as guidance changes

RegionStageWhat this meansRelevant government guidance
ENGLANDCurrently operating at Stage 3 (Indoors & Outdoors) including residentialsBased on guidance issued by the National Youth Agency in line with moving to Step 4 of the Government’s 4 Step Roadmap out of the current lockdown a number of restrictions have been relaxed.

As from 19th July 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/visits and residentials.

Although at Step 4 many restrictions have been relaxed, it is important to remember that we’re still in the middle of a pandemic and we all have a duty to make sure that we are being responsible in the way we plan and carryout activities. Whilst many of the legal restrictions have been removed, we have a responsibility to care for and protect our members by taking sensible precautions to minimise the risk of infection. Leaders are encouraged to review the latest guidance and make local decisions on how to operate.

You are asked to be COVID Responsible and adhere to the following;

- BB Framework & Local Approval Process – must be completed before returning to face-to-face activities, even with the relaxation of restrictions, it is important that the framework and approval process is completed by all Companies.
- Risk assessments – must be completed and reviewed regularly, reflecting local decisions on control measures put in place to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and protect our members.
- Hygiene must remain robust – hand washing / sanitising should continue. Shared equipment is allowed however continue to clean between use.
- Venue is to remain/kept clean – must continue to clean venue before and during usage, as well as check and follow specific guidance for venues that you are using.
- Face coverings – are no longer required for indoor activities for all young people and leaders – however they are recommended if there is poor ventilation or working in close contact with others. Face coverings may also still be required in some public places such as public transport.
- Social Distancing – is now optional, however recognising most young people will not be vaccinated it is recommended that social distancing is maintained in certain circumstances such as when operating in poorly ventilated spaces or in close contact with others.
- No maximum group sizes – whilst there are no restrictions, groups may benefit from operating in smaller groups and or keeping age groups separate, to minimise the risk of infection and need to isolate.

Residentials & Trips/Visits
Based on changes to guidance and the relaxation of some restrictions from 19th July, the latest guidance for residentials including some FAQ's can be found at boys-brigade.org.uk/residentials-guidance-england/.

Band/music activities – these are now permitted. Further guidance can be found at Brass Bands England guidance.
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.

Following confirmation from the Northern Ireland Executive of the move to the next step on the roadmap, and after receiving updated guidance from the Education Authority, our guidance on face-to-face activities is as below:

Indoor Meetings - not restricted to your regular meeting place:

- Members to be broken into smaller groups (max 25). Multiple groups are permitted to meet at the same time, although the venue must not exceed 75% 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 and face coverings are mandatory (post primary school age) unless medically exempt.

- Supervised sports activities permitted within restrictions.

- Personal and group hygiene is paramount. Hand sanitiser should be placed in each meeting room and communal area.

- Food and refreshments are permitted provided there is no sharing between participants.

- No limit on the number of in person staff meetings or training.

Outdoor Meetings - not restricted to your regular meeting place

- No limit on the number of children and young people engaged using outdoor spaces.

- Where 2 metre social distancing cannot be maintained, face coverings should be worn (post primary school age) unless medically exempt.

- Supervised sports activities permitted within restrictions.

- Food and refreshments are permitted provided there is no sharing between participants.

- Non-residential education visits within Northern Ireland are permitted.

- Residentials - Following the announcement by the Northern Ireland Executive and guidance received by the Education Authority, with effect from Monday 5th July limited residential activities will be permitted. See full guidance for residentials.

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

NI Direct
SCOTLANDCurrently operating at Stage 3 (indoors and outdoors - depending on local authority level)Following updated guidance from the Scottish Government for youth organisations, we have revised our operational guidance for Companies in Scotland.

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 0 - 2 - Youth work permitted indoors and outdoors. Following a risk assessment, a 'space based' approach may now be taken - numbers permitted are to be based on the capacity of the venue/space provided physical distancing and other mitigations remain in place.

- 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).

To find out which level you are in you can use the Scottish Government’s postcode checker at https://www.gov.scot/check-local-covid-level/

Please follow the guidance below for returning to face-to-face activities in Scotland:

- 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).

The following physical distancing measures apply in Level 0:
• no physical distancing required in outdoor settings
• physical distancing of one metre in indoor settings

Leaders must take all reasonable measures:
• to ensure a distance of one metre is maintained between any persons in indoor settings (except between members of the same household)
• to ensure that they only admit people to in indoor settings in sufficiently small numbers to make it possible to maintain that distance
• to ensure that a distance of one metre is maintained between any person waiting to enter the premises

- 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.

- Residentials - Based on Youth Work guidance issued by the Scottish Government on 5th July - indoor and outdoor residential youth work activity may recommence based on the Protection Level for your Local Authority. See full guidance for residentials.

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

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) including limited residentialsSubject to your Company being 'Covid-ready' as part of BB Framework including completing the local approval process, face-to-face activities both indoors and outdoors including visits/trips can take place. Residentials for up to 30 young people can take place subject to an appropriate risk assessment. Wales remain at Alert Level 1.

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).

The Welsh government will consider whether Wales can move to the new Alert Level zero on 7 August following the next review of the restrictions.

At Alert Level Zero:
- Legal limits and caps on the number of people who can meet, including in private homes, public places or at events will be removed.
- COVID risk assessments will remain a legal requirement.
- Reasonable measures will legally be required to manage the risk of coronavirus but they will be for each organisation to determine based on the outcome of their risk assessment, including in relation to physical distancing.
- All businesses and premises can open, including nightclubs.
- People should continue to work from home wherever possible.
- Face coverings will remain a legal requirement in all indoors public places, with the exception of education settings and hospitality. We expect to gradually ease these requirements – and are beginning with hospitality settings from 7 August. Schools and colleges will use the framework announced by the Education Minister to determine use of face coverings.

Find out more at gov.wales/coronavirus-control-plan-alert-level-0-zero.
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: 21/05/2021

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?
Trips/Visits and Residentials are ONLY permitted if the Operating Status and specific guidance for your Region (England/Northern Ireland/Scotland/Wales) permits such activities; and based on your Company being Covid-Ready including completing the local approval process. You should be aware that the Operating Status and/or guidance could change at anytime and so you should ensure you review the guidance regularly. Companies are required to notify BB Headquarters of all residentials in the usual way.

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.