Annual General Meeting 2021

Chair’s Report

This is my last report as Chair of the Executive Team of 3rd Macclesfield Upton Priory Scout Group. After 4 years as Chair, I have made the personal decision to step aside and our new Chair will be elected at the AGM.  I am sure that our new Chair will be an amazing asset to our exec team with their level of expertise and scouting knowledge.

After the challenges of 2020, this year we have been able to resume face to face meetings, activities and overnight camps.  You are no doubt aware that an incredible amount of work goes on behind the scenes to ensure all meetings and activities are the safest they can be.  As always, I would like to thank our incredible group of volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure the safety of our young people and volunteers, especially through these challenging times.  

Work is continuing with planning our hut renovation.  During this last year, planning permission has been obtained from Cheshire East Council to go ahead with the knock down and rebuild of our scout hut.  We have sent our final plans out to several potential contractors but we are experiencing a delay in obtaining quotes for their work.  We are lucky to have the help of a professional building surveyor and property management consultant who is guiding us with our project.  We are still hoping to commence the building work during Summer 2022 and at this stage we are hoping the delay in finding the right contractor doesn’t interrupt our plans any further.  I am going to continue supporting the exec team with the hut project after I have stood down as Chair.  

It has been an honour to work alongside such an amazing group of leaders, helpers, exec team members and young people.  Whilst my Chair duties are coming to a close, I am still looking forward to continuing to support the group in the future.  

Stay Safe

Kathryn Creswell

Group Scout Leader Report 

Scouting has always been able to adapt to react to what is going on around – “Be Prepared”.

As a volunteer organisation those involved either on the Executive committee or on the front line as leaders working with the young people have juggled family, work, scouting not to mention all the other things that contribute to life plus of course in the last 16 months coming to terms with a new normal. It has had its struggles, but we are still here. 

None of this is possible without the support of those around you. We have reached this point where our sections have managed to resume face to face scouting for a couple of months or so before the summer holidays.

Because of this new way of working, we as a Group were impacted in the fact of making the Hall Covid secure for hirers and scouting alike. New risk assessments were written and re written and the whole way we worked has changed – for now!

Because we are lucky enough to own our own Headquarters, we were able to apply for Leisure and Hospitality grants from Cheshire East Council, which helped us as we were unable to run any fundraising Activities during this period for the new Hut and equipment. 

Good news is that during this period our numbers only slightly dropped, but we have a few enquiries so hopefully we be back to pre-covid numbers or increase our numbers  

To find out more about the many activities going on please read the individual section reports.

After reading this report and hearing a little bit about what has been going on over the last 12 months, I hope you will agree that we have a vibrant and healthy group which is making a positive contribution to the physical, emotional, and spiritual development of the young people in our care. This would not be possible without the commitment and contribution of a talented group of leaders and non-uniformed helpers. Please join me in thanking them for all their hard work.

A BIG THANK you to Kathryn Creswell who is stepping down as Chairman after 4 years, BUT good news she is staying on the Executive Committee and working on our new hut Sub Committee.

A Final Word

I strongly believe that the key to a successful Scout Group is for all involved to feel fulfilled, gain development and have fun. This is much easier to achieve when we have a healthy base of leaders and non-uniformed support. BUT could do with more 

Why not consider joining the fun and getting involved?

Richard Hodges 

Group Scout Leader

Scout Section – Report

It’s been another mixed year again with the lockdown restrictions impacting twice on the ability to have face to face meetings as well as being able to camp / have overnight stays. Nevertheless, the scout section has, as would be expected, been very busy over the last 12 months.

We started the Autumn 2020 term outdoors and ran some great activities, including 

  • kayaking
  • hiking 
  • being involved with JOTI 2020 (Jamboree on the Internet). 
  • Zoom meetings in November 
  • and even linked with a group in British Columbia, Canada for an evening. 

Following the lifting of the lockdown, we made the decision to hold the rest of the terms meetings outdoors, irrespective of the weather. Fortunately the weather held up, especially for the end of term Extreme Carol Service Campfire in Macclesfield forest. 

Then came the next lockdown, which seemed to last for, well we all know! 

Anyway, at the request of Macclesfield and Congleton Scout District, who had heard our good our Zoom meetings were, we were asked to help 2 other scout troops during the lockdown period. So we welcomed 1st Gawsworth and 15th Macclesfield to the Zoom world of 3rd Macclesfield Upton Priory.

During this lockdown we did:

  • Burns night – making shortbread and cranachan
  • Celebrated Mario day – the Game character
  • Made Pancakes
  • Completed the fire safety activity badge
  • Celebrated St Patricks day
  • As well as many more fun activities

And, more importantly, ran Dungeon and Dragons events for 8 of the scouts – thanks to Ross for running. These were held virtually and over a period of 2 weekends. Not only were they a great success, but they have also proved to be very popular and demand and clamour for more is high.

From the end of March, just as the last lockdown ended, we’ve been back out as a troop, where we:

  • Joined 190 scouts from the Scout District on a Survival Day Camp where it snowed heavily on the Saturday
  • Held our own day camp with the theme Back to Basic – cooking all meals on open fires – very yummy and having an epic water fight – scouts v leaders. LEADERS won.
  • More kayaking with the District Explorer Leaders
  • Archery

3rd Macclesfield Upton Priory Scout Leaders: Carl, Elizabeth, Hope, Lynsey, Martin and Ross Young Leaders supporting scouts: Katie.

Cub Section Report

Online Again

The Autumn and Winter terms sent Cubs back online via Zoom after a great start back at cubs mainly outside. However this didn’t deter us!

We: learned about maps, and drew a map of where essential and emergency services are near our two meeting places; completed the whole of the Astronomy badge, learned to pack for camps and hikes, celebrated Burns Night with a quiz, writing poetry and Scottish dancing, and cooking haggis for our families, doing more and more inventive scavenger hunts and games. 

In October, we camped at home again, for the international Jamboree on the Air/Internet (JOTA/I) and again in January for Chinese New Year, with thanks to Martin our Scout Leader aka Big Bear, amazing organiser of virtual camps!

We completed the Skills Challenge during this Virtual Term, which is a real achievement for our cubs completing tasks at home. 

Back Together again

Spring term brought us back outside into the sunshine and we took full advantage of the lovely green space at Henbury Millennium Green for outdoor joint meetings and the outside space at both Whiston Street and CORE Upton Priory.

Back at the huts, Matthew led us through the entertainer badge. We finally had the hike postponed since March 2020 in Macc Forest (of course it rained!), Emily taught us how to build catapults, and we met with the Cheshire East rangers for Balsam Bash, one of our key activities to help our local environment.

At the end of June, we had a Day Camp at Barnswood and about 20 cubs completed their Adventure Challenge with Archery, Orienteering, Backwoods Cooking and a Sensory trail. We had so much fun that the Scouts and Beavers copied us a month later.

Another Year
We are back in the swing of ‘normal’ meetings now with a mix of indoor and outdoor activities.
Most of the pack attended our first Group Camp in nearly three years at Barnswood in September, Celebrating all Four Seasons in one camp. Christmas Dinner around the campfire was a real treat and the cubs learned new skills and created stunning artwork. The bread was edible, honest!

Cubs and Leaders
As most of the cubs have now moved up to Scouts and some others asked to move nights, we have currently no Monday cubs, but the two Thursday packs, at the Whiston Street Hut and CORE Upton Priory have strong numbers still post Covid.

Thank you to all our adult leaders and helpers for all their hard work both virtually and face to face over the last year. Thanks to those who supported our extra events with sausages, tent pitching, kitchen duties and running activity bases, especially Annie, Ian, Sonja, and Big Bear.

We have waved our young leaders Emily and Matthew off to University. We want to congratulate them both on completing their ‘A’ Level year still in a pandemic and completing their Young Leader Awards. We will miss their energy and creativity in Cubs and look forward to seeing them in the holidays. Luckily, we have new young leaders coming through this term, so welcome to Spike, Janneke and Amy and thankyou to Aaryaa who is staying on.

We have enormous fun at cubs and would invite anyone who is looking for an excuse not to grow up quite yet to talk to one of the team about how to get involved. Grown-ups can have badges too you know 😉

The Cub Team
Aaryaa, Elizabeth, Emma, Emily,
Kathryn, Matthew, Tim and Richard

Beavers Report

To start off our report this year, we’re beginning with a huge thank you to our amazing Beavers who have soldiered on throughout the toughest year and a half they’ve ever had to face before. They turn up every week full of smiles and exciting stories to tell us and are eager to join in with whatever activities we throw at them. 

We currently have 31 very happy Beavers, 5 eager leaders, and 4 fantastic young leaders. We have a waiting list of children eager to join us when they reach 6 years old. 

Lots of our Beavers have achieved their Bronze Awards over the last 12 months, the highest award a Beaver can achieve. We are extremely proud of their hard work and dedication towards the Bronze Awards, and hope they wear them with pride on their Cubs uniforms when the time comes. 

We enjoyed being back outdoors and face to face from September 2020 for a few weeks, doing activities to cover our Navigator badge and part of our disability badge. Unfortunately, lockdown struck again and we went back to Zoom where we did baking, scavenger hunts and even virtual white water rafting! 

Since we’ve been back to face to face, we’ve continued to meet weekly and have been joining both Beaver colonies together. We’ve stayed outdoors as much as possible, come rain or shine. 

Some of our favourite activities have been painting a giant sunflower with our feet, water games and den building. 

We attended a Beaver Day Camp at Barnswood in the Summer. The Beavers completed their Outdoor Challenge badge by pitching a tent, singing some campfire songs, and playing wide games. We also followed a trail through the woods and learnt some knot tying and first aid. We used apples to make bird feeders, and leavers to make bunting to decorate the tents we pitched. Each Beaver who attended took home their Outdoor Challenge badge along with the activities they had made throughout the day. 

Jess joined us as a Young Leader late last year and has been a fantastic asset. We have also recently welcomed a new leader to our colony – Mandy. Mandy has recently moved back to area and has volunteered to help us out in the Beaver section. We are in the process of welcoming 3 more new young leaders – Isaac, Eleanor, and Ethan. We’re confident our growing team will be able to provide an even bigger range of skills and experiences for the Beavers. 

September 2021 saw our first group camp since before the pandemic hit. 13 beavers slept over in the lodge on the Friday night and another 10 joined us for the day on Saturday. We did lots of activities and explored Barnswood even more. 

This year we have sadly had to say goodbye to Chris as a leader. After years of hard work and fantastic skills, Chris has had to take a step back. We hope to see him back at some point, but for now we wish him all the best. 

We are so grateful to all our leaders and parent helpers. Without you all, we couldn’t be running our amazing Beaver groups and providing all these activities for the children.  

We’re looking forward to another year of fun, adventure, and happiness! 

Beaver Team
Emma, Mandy, Nicky, Helen, Matthew, Jess, Isaac, Eleanor and Ethan. 

Hike to the Moon!

Walk 240,000 miles in one day they said! Equal to the distance to the moon. This was UK Scouting’s seemingly impossible challenge to young people across the UK as part of BBC’s Big Night In raising money for Comic Relief and Children in Need.

With so many members across the land, if we all covered 1 mile at least 240,000 miles didn’t seem so impossible as long as we did it together. Naturally 3rd Macc couldn’t resist playing our part and rose to the challenge. Of course this was right in the middle of lockdown so we each took part as families. Being part of something as huge as this felt fantastic!

In all 45 members covered at least one mile up and down the stairs, dashing round the garden, and short walks in the local area too.

Not that we are at all competitive, but here’s the breakdown of the distances per section. Well done Cubs, you pipped the Scouts to the achieve the greatest distance.

Beavers: 13.76 miles
Cubs: 63.29 miles
Scouts: 59.66 miles
Leaders: 69.12 miles
Parents: 25.74 miles

Several group members added a twist to their walk either in fancy dress or by making it even harder. Here are a few highlights.

Hiking to the moon on stilts
Martin walked backwards dressed as a unicorn

3rd Macc takes part in World Record attempt with 84,000 Scouts around the world during lockdown

During lockdown we’ve been keen to find ways to transcend the isolation it creates. Those regular weekly meetings at the hut can’t happen but we are still managing to infuse fun into our members lives, take them a million miles away from the worries in the world.

Camp at home complete with fire

We had an incredible night on 30th April at 3rd Macc taking part in #CampAtHome, a world record attempt organised by Northumberland Scouts to get as many people camping on one day as possible. 28 families from our group joined in along with 67 Countries all over the globe including Croatia, Hong Kong, Malawi, Czech Republic, Mauritius & Grand Cayman.

Families from 3rd Macc across Macclesfield set up dens, tents inside and even braving hail outside in bivouacs. Brothers and sisters joined in on the fun too. Here’s a fun video of a front room takeover.

The event was a perfect distraction for our young people and they were able to get creative, have little adventures and feel safe in a time which has created a lot of anxiety. Even some mums and dads camped out too! All good practice for when we are back to normal and our group camps can happen.

A sense of togetherness despite lockdown – 3rd Macc Online campfire

So we at 3rd Macc have a long track record and good reputation for rowdy fun campfires. Several of our adults are excellent campfire leaders, so it seemed only natural in the middle of lockdown we’d have a campfire right? Yes really!

In the true spirit of Scouting, and despite the COVID-19 lockdown, leaders from 3rd Macclesfield Upton Priory Scout Group found a way to create a sense of togetherness. On 17th April 2020 we gathered online for a very special camp fire.

75 families across Macclesfield joined us via Zoom

Joined by special guests Tim Kidd UK Scouts Chief Commissioner and David Giles Macclesfield & Congleton District Commissioner the night was an opportunity to forget all the worries of the world for an hour of unbridled fun and hilarity. We even made a highlights film so you can what crazy songs and dances we did!

Screenshot 2020-04-29 at 21.17.44