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Coronavirus Update

Friday 3rd July 2020

Last updated: 24th July 2020 @ 7pm

Following guidance issued by the UK Government and other relevant authorities we have suspended ALL BB face-to-face meetings, activities and events until at least the end of the current BB session (31st August).

This applies to all meetings, activities, events, camps and residentials run by Companies, Battalions and Districts for both young people and leaders across the UK from Monday 16th March 2020 onwards. Advice for Companies operating in the Republic of Ireland will be issued separately through Republic of Ireland Regional Office.
 

Stronger I Safer I Together – A framework for returning to face-to-face activities

We have developed a Framework in line with guidance issued by the Government and Youth Sector across the United Kingdom to support a safe return to face-to-face activities.

The Framework along with guidance and supporting resources was launched on 24th July 2020 to support leaders in preparing for a return to face-to-face activities in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – find out more at boys-brigade.org.uk/ourframework/.

A key part of our framework is our Staged Approach 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. For more details on the ‘Staged Approach’ to returning to face-to-face activities see our Guidance on returning to face-to-face activities.

We are currently operating at STAGE 2 – Virtual Sessions & #BBatHOME Activities
Running leader led Virtual Sessions online where possible with a focus on maintaining regular engagement with members, supported by providing #BBatHOME activities which children and young people can do at home supported by parents/carers. No face- to-face activities or residentials can take place.

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 weekly emails to leaders, social media and this page. 

Read an update sent to all leaders by Jonathan Eales, Chief Executive on 3rd July 2020.

Although we may not be able to meet face-to-face, we would encourage Companies to make full use of the #BBatHOME resources and to continue with virtual session and other ways of maintaining a sense of community during these challenging times. The #BBatHOME programme was launched on 20th March and you can find 100’s of activities for children and young people to try out at home, as well as resources and support for leaders running virtual sessions, camps and more at boys-brigade.org.uk/BBatHOME.

If you have any questions in the first instance, we ask that you take a look at the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ we have put together (see below). Alternatively, our staff team will continue to provide support through the usual channels.

The UK Government’s Coronavirus webpage is frequently updated as things develop, so please check it regularly at gov.uk/coronavirus.

Please check back regularly for updates.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Please find below some helpful questions and answers . . .
Last updated: 03/07/2020

Do we have to close? What if we choose not to?
As per the statement which the Brigade released on 16th March all BB Companies, Battalions and Districts must suspend all face to face meetings and activities with immediate effect. This means that no face-to-face BB event or activity is to take place, including Battalion and District meetings for leaders.

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 a weekly communication 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?
All activities and events scheduled to take place up to the end of the session (31st August) should be cancelled. In terms of activities and events beyond this period, 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?
Where young people are working towards the Queen’s Badge or DofE Awards encouragement can be given to continue activities which the young person can still do at home. This could include the Skills and Physical sections or similar depending on the activity. It may be appropriate to consider changing the activity and encouraging young people to choose something that can be done at home during this period. Leaders should agree how activity should be logged and evidenced in consultation with parents/carers and the young person.

We have agreed that where a Queen’s Badge Completion Course has been cancelled, that in these circumstances it should not prevent a young person from attaining their Queen’s Badge this session. Where this is the case, the requirement to attend a residential course will be removed. Your Regional Headquarters will be able to provide more advice around this and supporting young people in completing the award.

We have agreed that where a Building Your Skills Course has been cancelled, that in these circumstances it should not prevent a young person from obtaining the President’s Badge where there is no viable option to complete the course at a later date.   

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.

What will happen next session (2020/21)?
Our plans for the new session will be based on face-to-face activities resuming in some form, and at some level during the Autumn. We have developed a Staged approach – 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. We will move through these stages in line with current Government and Youth Sector guidance and we are currently developing a comprehensive framework (which will be available by end July 2020) to provide leaders with the support and guidance (including an action log, template risk assessments, template emails/letters for parents/carers and digital resources) needed to move through these stages and return to face-to-face activities.

Please see the top of this page for the latest information including the current ‘stage’ we are operating at.

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’. Over the coming weeks the focus will be on delivering the #BBatHOME programme, providing essential support to leaders, including the safeguarding function, and in complying with our statutory obligations.  

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.

 

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