Community sponsorship To operate effectively scout groups need somewhere to meet, equipment, people, money and other support. Obtaining these resources from others in the community could be one way to satisfy one or all of these needs.
Many scout groups meet in church halls and put very simply community sponsorship is when an establishment such as a church, school or youth club etc. Agrees to allow a scout group to meet in their premises and use the facilities available for the benefit of the group. This said there are lots of other ways that they can help the group and these are detailed below.
The sponsoring authority
Whether an individual or a committee acts for the sponsoring authority, regular contact must be maintained. Make sure that a representative is invited to meetings of the group executive and keep them Informed of activities and progress.
Drawing up the sponsorship agreement
Together, the district commissioner, the sponsoring authority and the group scout leader should discuss and agree a framework for the partnership. Once agreed, a sponsorship agreement should be drawn up.
The role of the sponsoring authority
The programme and training of members is the responsibility of the group scout leader and the team of leaders. It is not for the sponsoring authority to say, for example, when a camp may be held or who may attend. This is a training matter for the scouters alone.
A sponsored scout group may operate a policy of restricted membership and recruitment. This must be defined in the agreement with the sponsoring authority. A sponsoring authority such as a place of worship or a school may restrict recruitment to its own members.
Similarly, a large business may sponsor a scout group with recruitment restricted to the children of its employees. No restrictions on recruitment may be made which contravenes the provisions of any statute or enactment. It must also be noted that membership of a school sponsored scout group must be voluntary.
It is vital that both the sponsoring authority and the scout group know their responsibilities. These must be agreed and understood by all concerned and written into the sponsorship agreement for future Reference.
The district commissioner must therefore be satisfied that the sponsoring authority is prepared to discharge the following:
To accept the aim, method and policies of the Association as defined in “policy, organisation & Rules.”
Development of scouting
To encourage the development of scouting within the Group and to give the fullest possible encouragement and assistance to the group scout leader in carrying out their duties.
The sponsoring authority might also be expected to take a lively interest in the group, giving general support, encouragement and endeavouring to maintain the group’s continuity. Likewise, the scout group should play an integral part in the corporate life and activities of the sponsoring authority.
Property and equipment
To prepare an agreement with regard to property and equipment to be adhered to by the sponsoring authority and the group and to be recorded annually by the district secretary.
It is necessary to differentiate between property belonging to the group and that belonging to the sponsoring authority. This information must be recorded in the agreement drawn up by the group executive committee and the sponsoring authority.
It is important to remember that the term ‘property’ includes land, buildings, investments and money. This means that a permanent headquarters built on land which does not belong to the group, is, in law, the property of the body to which the land belongs. The agreement must also make provision for the disposal of property, equipment and funds in case the group has to close at some point in the future.
The district commissioner will also need to establish which, if any, of the following responsibilities the sponsoring authority is willing to assume and is equipped to discharge:
To maintain the continuity of leadership and to approve scouters for appointment subject to the provisions of the association’s “policy, organisation and rules”.
The future of the group will depend upon maintaining continuity of leadership. If the sponsoring authority assumes this responsibility, it should select and approve the nomination of leaders and must sign the adult application form (Form AA) before it is passed to the district commissioner and the appointments sub-committee for approval.
To provide financial support or to ensure that the Group is able to acquire funds adequate to the fulfilment of its programme.
There are many examples of the financial support given by sponsoring authorities:
- total [100%] funding of all the group’s activities.
- a fixed annual grant, the group raising any funds needed over and above the grant.
- funding a portion of the group’s budget. The group executive committee would submit its annual budget to the sponsoring authority, which would agree to meet a certain percentage of the budget, which may be fixed or decided annually. The group would be required to raise the balance.
- a fixed or unfixed amount of money for certain group activities or specific projects such as the running costs of the meeting place or minibus, or meeting the costs of leader training.
- assistance with fundraising events rather than direct finance.
In the case of a religious body, to support the group scouters in their responsibilities for spiritual Development within the training programme of the beaver scouts, cub scouts and scouts.
When all the above considerations have been discussed and agreed, the district chairman must Prepare the formal sponsorship agreement. Our model agreement will help and can be found on our county development website at www.glscountyscouts.org.uk. The agreement must be signed by those concerned and lodged with the district secretary.
Both parties have the responsibility of ensuring that the agreement is reviewed at least every five years, or in the event of a change of sponsoring authority or group scout leader. The agreement can also be reviewed at any time at the request of either party.
The group executive
The sponsoring authority, or the authority’s nominee, is an ex-officio member of the group executive committee and takes part in the management of the group.
Relationships with the district
The sponsoring authority has the right of consultation with the district commissioner. The district commissioner must take all reasonable steps to ascertain the authority’s views before taking decisions on matters affecting the group, particularly:
- an appeal by a beaver scouts, cub scouts or scouts
- where the sponsoring authority has agreed to assume responsibility for maintaining the continuity of leadership, matters affecting warrants of leaders in the group, specifically signifying the approval of candidates for warrants.
- the suspension of any leaders, unless, in the opinion of the district commissioner, this is a matter of such urgency that there is insufficient time for consultation.
- group registration or recognition of a section.
- the amalgamation of the group with another.
As long as communication between the group and the sponsoring authority is maintained, there is little likelihood that a dispute will arise. Where a difference of opinion exists, the matter must be referred to the district commissioner, who will give both parties the opportunity to state their cases before reaching an objective decision.
Community sponsorship is based on three important elements; trust, enthusiasm and co-operation. Regular and frequent contact is the single most Influential factor affecting the success of the partnership.