This report is part of a series from members across the district for the Annual General Meeting to be held online on 8th July 2020.
It has been an eventful year for Scouting in New Forest North. Kerie Wallace completed rather more than his 10-year term as District Commissioner and stood down at the end of August after giving outstanding service to the District. We are now an innovative District within the County in having a Team DC. In September Robin Mair, Ian Sims and Lynn Tatavossian jointly took on the role of DC. They have already achieved a great deal individually and will make a fine team to take the District forward.
The Covid19 pandemic, which hit the country in March, resulted in the suspension of face to face Scouting, but the Groups have continued to provide the young people with online indoor activities. The annual District St George’s Day Service and Parade to be hosted by the Explorers and Scout Network had to be postponed until next year, as had the Chief Scout Award Day. The March County Conference for District Commissioners and District Chairs had to be cancelled. The March District Executive meeting had to be conducted electronically. The governance within the District and County has been maintained with the aid of technology.
In the last year the Groups in the District have participated in Group, District and County events and have continued to organise and participate in events in the community, including the Donkey Derby, local carnivals, Netley Marsh Steam Rally, Remembrance Day Parades and the Christmas Santa Run. Seven members of the District attended the World Scout Jamboree in USA, with four attending Project 19. The Project 19 team, led by Robin Mair, kept us informed of their activities with e-posts that showed the exciting range of activities they took part in. Those participants who applied, received financial support from the District.
Explorers from the District took part in the 2019 Malawi Expedition and it is hoped they will also be involved in the 2020 Gambian Expedition at the end of the year. There was a successful District Expedition to the Lake District which was fully subscribed. The Young Leader Section has grown in numbers and Pegasus Scout Network meets in the District. The Scout Active Support continues to provide vital support for District events and activities. Two Groups (2nd and 5th) have made substantial progress with the refurbishments to their HQs. The 2nd had an official opening of their new meeting rooms and kitchen. The 4th (Eling) Sea Scout group continues to improve the facilities at their HQ and on Testwood Lakes. The 1st (Lyndhurst), having completed payment of loans for building costs, are now generating income for the maintenance of the Group and HQ building. The 2nd are working with the County team involved in the use of Scout facilities for emergencies in future.
The District continues to participate in and benefit from the regular County Cluster meetings involving the New Forest Districts, Romsey District and Andover District, led by ACC (District Support) Darren Reed and County Executive Member Jackie Noakes. We have welcomed Darren Reed as ACC (District Support) to our District Executive Committee meetings and have appreciated his support and advice.
Sadly, in March Mike Szymanski, Chair of the 5th, went home. He had been very active in the Group for many years and will be much missed.
During the year Carol Sullivan, Chair of 6th, Anna Cygnan, Chair of 4th, and Nick Barwood, Chair of 1st, stood down and we thank them for their service to Scouting in the District and their Group. We welcomed Jim Gallimore and Debbie St John as the new Chairs of 6th and 5th respectively.
Graham George (Chair) and Carol Stanfield (member) have stood down from the Appointments Advisory Committee after 14 and 10 years respectively. We thank them for their long and dedicated service to the District.
This has been my last year as Chair. Since taking over from Peter Down in May 2006 I have been privileged to attend numerous Scouting events and to work with and meet some remarkable people. I will be handing over to the very capable hands of Clive Henry, who has a wealth of experience in Scouting.
I would like to thank the members of the District Executive Committee past and present, President Roy Farmers, Team DC, Treasurer Keith Greenaway, Minutes Secretary Fiona Francis and Kerie Wallace for their hard work and for their support and encouragement. I would particularly like to thank Fiona Francis for being a most efficient Minutes Secretary and great supporter of Scouting in the District.