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Welcome to Edition 24 of Tails of the New Forest. This month, a round up of the festive events from our groups, events coming up to fill your programmes, calls for volunteers and uniform for Malawi. Find out more below:

What’s coming up?

Cubs to be Top Trumps

Hampshire County Cubs are hosting a Top Trumps tournament which your District is invited and encouraged to be involved in.

This is one of the County’s Youth Shaped activities; as it’s an activity chosen by the young people themselves.

Full details, forms, posters here.

A packed year for Scout section events

A past skills weekend.

The next District event will hopefully be the Eagle Trophy, an incident hike in the dark for those that have not taken part. The teams arrive late afternoon on the Saturday, check in, take part in the hike then on return most camp the night, have some breakfast then return home after the presentation. Date to be confirmed.

For most of these events to be successful we require a bit of help, either with help to organise or just a bit of help on the event manning bases etc. Please let myself or Barry Stride know if you are available to help with any of these events. The Stag’s Head was very successful, in that it had wide participation from across the district, this encourages greater participation in the future which can only be a good thing.

Regarding other events, I am waiting for response from those that showed an interest. So far we have

  • A rafting event to take place in June at Testwood lakes. Dave and Lisa to organise.
  • Patrol Camping Competition and training weekend. Barry liaising with Warren on date.
  • Expedition challenge weekend, Joe potentially to lead on this with support from other troops.
  • Patrol Leader and APL Training weekend – Alastair to lead with help from Simon and Barry and others.
    Survival Camp including tarping, backwoods cooking and other survival skills. Dave (Poulner) to look into possibilities.
  • Leaders Skills weekend – Probably a greenfield event with Warren to lead.
  • Master at arms camp – Archery, Shooting. Warren and Mike to look into this.
  • Stag’s Head Barry and Simon will lead this, most probably September /October time.

Science abounds at SOTSEF

The Southampton Science and Engineering Festival (SOTSEF) Open Day 16 March 2024 and is a perfect idea as a day out for our Scouts, families and community. If you’ve not been before, it’s a fun day with lots of free activities for anyone to try run by the University of Southampton. 

Book shows and talks early (especially if you want the lasers, astronomy and magic science demo’s), information about the typical sort of things on offer can be seen in the highlights of last year. They are not only really good, but there is a surprising amount of walking around, so sitting down for a show is a rest for your feet. Please share with anyone who might be interested.

Things usually start around 10am. Details at

Reminders, opportunities and notices

Uniforms for Malawi

One of our ex-Explorers, Barnaby Knight, recently completed a trip out to Malawi on his own and met up with some of the local scout groups. They have recently set up a new scout group and are looking for help with scout uniform as they get started. If any groups or anybody have some second hand uniform they would be willing to donate, please get in touch ([email protected]) and we can arrange collection.

For those interested, the uniforms are going to the 1st Sochi Scout Group in Chilobwe Township in the City of Blantyre, South Malawi. They have around 50 Scouts at present and plan camps throughout the year. The leader used to be at 1st Ekwendeni Scout Group (Mzuzu District) who had some friends in the United Kingdom that used to send uniforms and other assorted items to run our troop. They’re looking to extend a hand of friendship in a similar way.

Transformation FAQs now live

We’re a Scout Movement and we move with the times. Undoubtedly, you may have questions with Transformation and the changes that are happening in the future and ones that are beginning to happen now.

We’ve launched on this website a FAQ page for your questions and we’ve got a go-live support team ready to help once the main date is known. Check out the page and find the enquiry email address on our site or find it from the menu under ‘What we Do’ and ‘Transformation‘.

Gain a permit in 2024

Play your part in the Outdoor in 24 challenge and gain an adventurous activity or nights away permit this year so our young people can experience these led by competent and confident leaders.

Rafting, Sailing, Kayaking and Power boat.

Eling have offered to advertise opportunities to gain Rafting permits and Sailing and Kayaking permits. Lisa will let me know and I will cascade to troop leaders.


Those wishing to gain a permit to use the wall at Poulner should contact David Gates at Poulner. This would reduce the cost of hiring the wall at Poulner HQ.

Nights away Permits

If you have a permit and wish to upgrade a level or two speak to myself or Barry. If you don’t have a permit and would like to attain one, speak to myself or Barry. You can find dates for Module 16, Introduction to Residential Experiences, and Module 38, Skills for Residential Experiences, on the County website at

Totton based and able to lend a hand?

Two of our Totton based groups, 4th Eling and 5th Testwood, started the new year with calls for new volunteers for their youngest sections. If you know anyone who would be amazing, please encourage them to get in touch or share the social media posts below with them:

What’s been happening?

Sandleheath Sea Scouts have been busy taking part in some community work. First, tackling non-native species in the forest:

And then serving tea and cake from their community centre:

Rosie le Bas was surprised at a thank you dinner for supporters of 1st Lyndhurst Scouts with her Chief Scouts Commendation for Good Service. Rosie has always been outgoing with achieving top awards and taking part in amazing events. In April she told us all about being part of the Team of 10 at the National St. George’s Day Celebration in Windsor Castle – remind yourself of that in April’s Tails.

Speaking of adult awards, Roger Newland, part of the Scout Active Support unit, received an Award of Merit:

And Explorers volunteer, Andy Austin received his Award of Merit while volunteering at the Totton Santa Run:

and Max received a 5 year Length of Service award!:

After a great deal of organising and a last minute surge in sign-ups, 5th Testwood’s Totton Santa Run was a success raising around £3,000 for the group. There’s loads of photos on their Facebook page but how about a video from some student journalists of the run:

And while we’re covering festive events, 3rd Ringwood held their carol concert in more unusual but poignant surroundings this year.

After torrential rain and a flooded field stopped our planned group carol service in December, the Scouts were not to be put off and rearranged for the next week in the garden at the Scout Hall. A collection of Scouts and Explorers formed a brass band and a campfire provided warmth, while Scouts led the readings and families joined in with the carols. Afterwards large amounts of hot chocolate and mince pies were consumed.

We were pleased to have the Bethlehem Peace Light presented at the service, especially poignant this year, after a difficult journey out of Bethlehem. At the end of the evening one of our Scouts, Alice McNally was presented with her Chief Scout Gold Award. It was a good family evening for the end of term and to start the Christmas celebrations.

Fordingbridge’s Scout Post was a major success with other 2,000 stamps sold, raising vital funds for the group:

Kicking off the new year in style, 5th Testwood’s Cubs took on the latest in a long line of Parent and Cub Camps:

What a fantastic end to 2023 and a cracking start to 2024. Remember you can stay up to date with what’s going on on our Facebook page (/newforestscouts) or Instagram (@newforestscouts). Plus if you’re a volunteer you can be part of the Facebook group for members too.

Lynn, Robin and Kevin.

Tails of the New Forest – 29th January 2024
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