A local scout group has changed how it connects with its members to overcome COVID-19 restrictions.
100th Salford Scout Group has been meeting via zoom calls since April, when the coronavirus pandemic made convening in person at their usual site impossible.
Assistant scout leader Victoria Boon said: “At first we expected the lockdown to last for just a short period of time, but after a few weeks we had a sudden realisation that it wasn’t going to end anytime soon.
“We didn’t want any of the children to feel like they’d been forgotten, so we started sending badge work to them at first. Then I happened to join a zoom call with my son, and I thought it was really cool.
“I could see how the lockdown was having an impact on my own children, and I knew that there must be other children who were feeling the same. We decided we had to do something to break up the monotony of staying at home and only seeing the same people.”
Via their zoom meetings, the scout group has gotten involved with scavenger hunts, online puppet theatres, group cooking, and have learned the scout promise in sign language as part of earning their disability badge.
Ms. Boon continues: “My eldest son is severely disabled, and he’s a scout. The inclusivity at this group has been really good – it proves that scouting is for all. My son is non-verbal and isn’t able to walk; he has no danger awareness, which you might not think would work at scouts.
“This scout group has been so welcoming and adaptable – it’s a really positive group to be a member of.”
Most recently the scout group has been involved with Santa Super Sleigh Salford, and has done a tour of Irlam o ‘th’ Height with the sleigh, taking six different routes across six nights, which came to a close on Wednesday evening.
Scout leader Michael Rollinson said: “we’re trying to bring a little bit of happiness and joy to young people and families in the area. It’s about supporting the community – we can see the cheer it brings to people when we’re going up and down the streets, even in the rain.”
The Santa Sleigh tour has previously been carried out by The 41 Club, supported by the scouts, but this year they offered the scouts the opportunity to take over. The event has raised money for many different causes in Salford, with this year’s proceeds going towards the 100th Salford Scout Group.
Mr. Rollinson continued: “As a group in a deprived area, we try to seek as much funding as possible to make it as affordable as possible for our young people and their families to be involved”
“On average this event would make around £3000 across the six nights, but this year we’re at £150, with just one night left to go. We’re really grateful to everyone who has already donated, and we’d really appreciate any more donations. It will mean that we can support the provision of scouting in our area for next year.”
The huge difference in donations could be because this year residents will have to donate via text or online, instead of the usual door to door collections.
Mr. Rollinson said: “We usually have about 10 scouts collecting door to door but this year, we’ve been restricted by the government guidelines.
“We’re only allowed to have three households involved, the driver of the car, the person on the sleigh as Santa, and then a support vehicle behind in case anything goes wrong.”
To donate to the scout group, text SALFORDSANTA followed by the amount you would like to donate to 70085.