Annual Census and Covid Effect
Every year Scout group across the country complete a January census, this lets Scouting HQ understand the current situation and membership levels in the UK. This is also how fees are decided for groups, this is refered to as Capitation but is basically a per head membership of the Scout association fee. This covers many aspects of the behind the scenes running of Scouting.
Membership fees & How we pay the bill?
The group generates the funds needed by the Subs (Subscription fees) paid by members termly throughout the year, which as well as funding the normal running costs of our group such as our building rent & weekly evening costs, is used to pay the Membership fees to HQ.
This Years Challenges
This year obviously lead to some unique issues when it came to completing this admin task, Although we have tried to maintain Scouting with virtual sessions in all our sections, it was obvious along with other groups in the country this task would prove harder.
The first challenge was to get an idea of how much the pandemic has effected our groups membership numbers. As with with most groups in the UK we were likely to see a drop in offical members as we had a substantial drop in Subs paying members, which considering the situation we had expected. We managed to contact group members and ask them to confirm if they wished to continue their membership in Scouting, which is how we have calculated the final census return.
One of the other challenge posed was due to the pandemic we had not pushed members for there subs fees as it was felt that the current situation would make this a difficult request and with many parents and families facing cut backs and hard times we did not want to add the issue.
Once it became clear that the situation was going to continue in to the new year, and with a rasie in the fees we needed to pay, we decided that we would need to ask members to pay Subs or we offered them the chance to pay a reduced amount if they felt they needed to. We are pleased to say that many of our members responded by paying there Subs and we also recieved a generous donation from a local IT company that will help us fund these annual charges.
The Results of the Census
What we found out from the census at 1st Colchester, as an old group we have a long history of adapting to situations and 1st Colchester have made it through both World Wars and we were determined that this severe but relatively shorter term issue would be something we could once again over come.
Although the results show we we have seen a drop in membership, we are pleased to say that 1st Colchester remains. Although the full picture will not be clear for some time, and which age ranges are most effected will not be clear until the return of face to face Scouting is possible.
Currently the effect seems to have been felt mostly in the younger sections, but only time will tell. With the lack of ability to effectively recruit members, this drop is really to be expected, as such we are making some plans to rectify the issue when it is possible, and safe to do so.
For your interest below is a chart that outlines our rough trend over the years, as you can see we often see highs and lows this is often the case in movements like Scouting as age ranges move through the movement and social trends change.
We would like to offer our massive thanks to all those young members and parents who have continued to support the group during this very unusal period, and a special thanks to the leaders who have helped keep the group operating during this period We hope our members have managed to benefit from our efforts, in some degree even if just from a social point of view.
At the time of publishing this we appear to be heading towards a brighter Summer than 2020, and we are very much looking forward to resuming safe face to face Scouting for our members hopfully in the not to distant future.