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Volunteer update 6th October 2020
06/10/2020 By Rich Terrell

This month’s update comes from the DESC at the Desk, well the Kitchen table. As I write this, we are moving back into Amber for face to face scouting outside with some groups starting up very soon.

From Maria at the Parc

For those groups who do not have access to outside spaces then the Parc field and toilets will be available to be used free. Outside activities can be booked for the normal rates and evidence of a signed off Covid risk assessment must be shown. All bookings are via the website.

ADC Beavers

I hope you all had a break over the summer holidays and feel refreshed for this term. For those doing virtual sessions this term please remember to email me the invite and I will pop into the meeting to say hello to the young people. Please remember that if you need any help with two year or termly planning, want to discuss what to do with the Beavers or just want a listening ear for scouting in Beavers drop me a message and I will give you a call.

Unfortunately Blackwood Miners have informed us that their usual Christmas Pantomime will not be taking place this year so we have had to cancel the trip, sorry to those who were looking forward to the event but we will try to arrange for 2021!

From the ADC Scouts

Some questions have been asked about Scouts who have not been able to get their gold award and will be moving to Explorers soon as they are almost 14. Both Gareth and Richard have discussed this and taken advice from HQ and they will implement the following. For Scouts who will be or have just turned 14 during lock down the Scout leader needs to submit to Gareth what they have left to undertake to complete the Chief Scouts Gold award along with a proposed plan on how they will achieve this ideally by the time they are 14 years and 6 months old. Gareth will discuss with Richard on if this is achievable and should it be achievable then the Scout will be allowed to stay to complete their award and move to Explorers once they complete the CSG or when they become 14 and half which ever is the sooner. Should it be felt the Scout can not achieve the CSG then a discussion will take place with the Scout lead and the Scout should be encouraged to move to Explorers ASAP.

From the DESC

In relations to the DofE and the Scout top awards dispensation has now been given on the Expeditions and for a short time, you can spent the night of the Expedition at home but still do the hike over the 2 days. As a reminder the expedition season is closing at the end of November this year and if you are using the extension period remember to risk assess the fact that day light is running out.


ADC Inclusion

Over the last few months, I have seen some fantastic Zoom sessions being delivered to our young people.  Even though many of us may be experiencing ‘Zoom fatigue’, it’s important that we consider how we can provide Scouting to those who are unable to return to face to face meetings.

If you haven’t already, please could all Leaders identify who is unable to attend face to face meetings and have a think about how your programme can include those at home.

I will be contacting GSLs over the forthcoming weeks to gather some feedback on this. In the meantime, I’m available to discuss any ideas or concerns you may have about blended Scouting or inclusion in general.


From The DC

Do you have a question that you cannot find the answer to? Get lost in POR? Need advice on permits and badge work and programs and training. Then this is for you! The next DCs drop in on 3rd Nov 7-8pm. District team aren’t scary (I know I am on it but honestly, we are not) we are or have been leaders within the sections of the movement and know the challenges you face. Come and ask a question or just get to know fellow leaders in CRAI


Returning Face to Face risk assessments

As a reminder the Covid Risk assessments MUST have an executive sign off before submitted.. if you have no exec member who is fully signed off for Safety and Safeguarding Symon is happy for the exec to nominate a trained leader to sign these off, but this decision needs to be minuted via an exec meeting. Without this name and minuted meeting your RA submission will be rejected.

Please also note, you must submit with the name of the venue where you intend to hold your meeting per section, one RA for all sections will not suffice. All sections who wish to return to Amber need to submit an RA.

For every change of location, you need to submit a new RA stating the change and any change of Risk. Please remember the risk assessments must be submitted via Smart sheets and the email address is

Safe Scouting and hope you can enjoy the face to face or the online Scouting.


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Volunteer Update: 24th July 2020
24/07/2020 By Hayley Keaveney

Hi everyone

It’s Hayley’s turn to compile our Volunteer update this time. She's the one in the canoe in the header photo, and has joined the District Team in the past few months to take the reigns from G as the Media and Communications Manager as G has taken up his new role as Commissioner Wales - Inclusion. Anyway, here is our latest update!

DC’s Message

Hi all,
Just a quick Covid update. At present we are still in a state of Red, this means we still cannot meet face to face in any form, whether it be outdoors or indoors. To move forward we need guidance from Scouts Cymru and the Welsh government. Red and Richard Flowerdew are working hard to lobby but at present sadly we are where we are. 
Your GSLS have been given guidance what needs doing to get yourselves prepared and the documentation needed to get signed off ready to start up when allowed. In the meantime, keep doing what you’re doing.
 If your closing down for the Summer enjoy your break, but please keep an eye out for more information. 
Thanks and Keep safe.

CRAI Great Indoors Challenge

Our next challenge has been launched today! This time we are taking our inspiration from Matt Lucas's 'Baked Potato' song which raised so much money for our NHS during the COVID-19 Pandemic. We thought it would be fun to get our young people to bake their own potato, and then get creative and decorate it!! Lets see how your cooking and creative skills are. And all you have to do is take a photograph of your finished baked potato and send it in. More information at

ADC Activities Update 

We have been lucky enough to secure some grant funding from the Welsh Churches Fund Managed by Caerphilly County Council.  The fund is paying for us to improve our storage capability with a new Container for external storage, a Gun Safe to allow secure storage of our Air Rifles and lockable Metal Cabinets for storage of Archery and other equipment.  We will be buying a pressure washer and steamer to help us improve the cleaning of the park.  The Fund will also allow us to buy some fire ranges for fire lighting and Backwoods cooking activities and Hammock and Tarp sets that can be used for Hammock Camping (when we return to residential activities with our Scouts).
We have also released dates for the first Crossbows YPS Course to be held at CRAI (16th & 17th January 2020), if you are interested please let me know – there are 12 slots on the course and it is looking increasingly likely that we will need to arrange a second course due to interest.
We were fortunate enough to get a grant from the Coalfield regeneration Board to upgrade some of the lighting at the park.  An upgrade of the indoor Barn lighting to LED, external lighting so it's safer for us all when you use the park in the evenings and a flood light into the car park, improving security and safety.. this will allow us to extend our CCTV onto the car park at a later date..
Lastly, I have had a few people contact me about gaining Kayak/Canoe/SUP permits, not quite enough to get a course together at the moment but getting closer!  if you would be interested please contact me, we are quite well provisioned for these water sports now with about 20 Kayaks and six Canadian Canoes that we have immediate access to thanks to our relationship with Aberfan Canoe Club.  Young people love being on the water, come and help us get more YP out doing a wider range of activities!


If anyone has any ideas on activities that they would like to see at the Activity Centre please let me know and we can see what we can do to make it a reality.
Yours in Scouting
Dave Cook

Park Update

Hi all. 
I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who come to our working party. There was so much work done and our Park looks soo much better. 
I am organising another working party for the 8th August to try and get the outside finished.  I will be there from 10am - 4pm so anyone can come up and help for an hour or all day. Any time you can give will be very much appreciated. 
Maria Pitten
GSL 1st Senghenydd 
CRAI Park Manager

Using this down-time to get your Mandatory Learning completed

Here is a gentle reminder of the training modules you could be completing during this time.

Initial Modules (learning)

The links that you may need:

  • Module 1: Essential Information (all roles other than Executive Members)
  • Module 1E: Essential information for Executive Committee Members (including GSL/Commissioners who are trustees)
  • Module 3: Tools for the Job (Section Leaders)
  • Module 4: Tools for the Job (Managers and Commissioners)
  • GDPR Awareness


Initial Modules (validation)

For those of you looking for a way to validate modules 1, 3 and 6 during the lockdown where you aren’t able to meet with a Training Adviser face to face, we have developed the following Validation Quizzes as a new way of getting these 3 modules validated and signed off. So here are the links to those:

  • Module 1: Essential Information Validation Quiz
  • Module 3: Tools for the Job (Section Leaders) Validation Quiz
  • GDPR Awareness Certificate Uploading Tool
  • Module 6: Changes in Scouting Validation Quiz (although this isn’t one of the initial mandatory modules, it is an easy one to get completed as part of your journey towards the wood badge)


Mandatory Ongoing Learning

For those who have completed Module 1 more than 3 years ago, you will need to renew your training for the following 2 elements:


We have created a form where you can upload your certificate for these modules. You will need to log in using your CRAI Scouts Office 365 login details to access these forms:


Our website

Don't forget that our website ( is now the one-stop-shop for everything that you need to know about what is going on in the CRAI. We are trying to make sure that everything you need is on the website rather than you having to search through various social media platforms and emails to find what you need. If you think that something is missing or needs changing, please do let one of the District Team know. 


Many thanks



CRAI Scouts


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06/10/2020 By Elizabeth O'Malley
Volunteer Update 3rd July
03/07/2020 By Jeannette Baker

Well, what a busy time the district has had over the past couple of weeks! 

CRAI’s Got Talent was a huge success and thank you to all who were involved, we have so many talented young people in the district, the whole team were beaming with pride, even if we did have to send the DC home!.  A mahoosive THANK YOU goes to Rhys Bennett for editing the video which was a mammoth task with the help and direction from G (Gareth Tanswell) who organised the AGM papers and information you saw on the night.  If you missed anything, please watch it here: 

From the District Commissioner 

As a result of the recent AGM, we warmly welcome Matthew Whitcome as the incoming Chair and Alan Britt to the Executive team.  We also offer our thanks to Johnathan Thorne as the outgoing chair. 

Other changes in local groups see Gareth Tanswell standing down as GSL for 5th Risca and Terri Wiltshire stepping up, Ruth Morgan stepping down as GSL for 7th Caerphilly and Jeannette Baker stepping up.  A big thank you to Gareth and Ruth for your dedication and hard work you have given scouts and good luck to Terri and Jeannette in their new roles.  We are always here to assist you. 


Please don't forget to register for the ScoutsCymru All Member Call which is next Tuesday. Use this link to register


From the Activity Park Manager 

Outdoor working Party 11th July 10am-4pm 
There is loads that need doing at the Park so would appreciate any help people can give. Come along for an hour or for the whole day. 
The work that needed: 
Weeding the paths and car park. 
Reclaiming parts of the car park and trimming back hedges and trees. 
Weeding and tidying up around the fire area. 
Strimming around lodge, toilets and where the farmer couldn’t cut. 
Finish painting outside of the lodge. 
It will be outside working only with no one permitted to enter the lodge, people will be required to stay 2 meters apart. 
Please bring your own refreshments, unfortunately we can’t provide these 
If you feel unwell or have any COVID symptoms, please stay at home. 
It would be great to actually see people and speak to you in person. Maria 


From the DESC at the Desk 

Hi all, 

DofE have now given more guidance on their partial completion certificates and that information can be found here   It is vitally important to be eligible for this to complete your sections and upload evidence by December 2020. A video showing you how to upload your evidence can be found here 

Further guidance has been released on the expedition section which is here. 

 I am looking to set up a District Explorer Committee and I would like 2 representatives from each of the units to sit on the Committee to help us plan events for the future. I hope to hold the first meeting over Zoom in September so can I have unit nominations in by August please? 

As always, I am on the email or on the District Explorer Closed Facebook group if you have any questions.  Rich 


From ADC Activities

We are hearing more and more about the return to face to face scouting and the district teams are starting to formulate some plans as to what we may be able to offer.  Please be aware of any skills that you have not used for a long time, reach out to me if you need me to set up any refresher courses or you want to “have a go” before you engage with young people again.


Whilst social distancing is in place one of the sports that has been identified as being a good fit for keeping fit is kayaking!  And it just so happens that we have all of the equipment needed to deliver Kayaking for Young People but we are short on Instructors.  I have managed to make an agreement with a suitable coach that should mean we can deliver a course that takes you through the basics of paddling to a point where you are competent to lead in sheltered waters Class C type waters such as the Brecon Canals.  If you would like to come and learn to kayak please contact me and we can arrange something.  The cost will be kept as low as we possibly can but there are some courses (such as the FSRT Course) that you will need to take at some point at a cost of about £50).


Panto Time! 

Oh no it isnt......but it is fast approaching. 

Following the successful trip to the Pantomime last year your ADC Beavers is arranging another CRAI pantomime evening this year. It will be Thursday 17th December 2020 to see Cinderella, cost will be £10.50 this year, just ticket no treats sorry! Again, it will be open to all young people/leaders and family members. Blackwood Miners have confirmed that should the performance not take place then full refund will be given. Dates for actual ticket numbers and payments will be given ASAP.  Please complete the following link to register interest, thanks. You know you want to join us! (Oh yes you do!!) 


Scouting Going Forward 

You will now have received the risk assessment paperwork to prepare for face to face scouting and some blended scouting when we are given the amber go ahead.  If you missed the all member update, please find the link to the framework and information here. 

It is important to note the differences for devolved nations. 

A few of the district team have been to assess the activity centre this week to undertake some risk assessments ready for blended/face to face scouting.  Watch this space for further information on forthcoming activity days this summer. 


Challenge 4: Design Our Badge 

Deadline: 5pm  Friday 17th July 2020 (entries only accepted by uploading to  this link ) 

As you know, we've decided to reward your hard work with a special award called the 'CRAI Scouts Great Indoors Challenge', so this next challenge is to design the badge that all members that complete at least 3 of the challenges will be awarded.  

Important Instructions: 

You can either design their badge on paper and then get a grown up to help them to take a detailed photograph of the design, or can design the badge on a computer and get a grown up to upload it 

Design should be drawn on a circle with a 50mm diameter 

Do NOT use the Scouts Fleur de Lis symbol within the design (we aren't allowed to use it on local badges) 

It will be for all groups/sections 

It should reflect the theme CRAI Scouts Great Indoors Challenge.  

To send us your pictures of your design, please click this link and upload them directly onto the system for us. We won't be able to accept photos sent by any other means, but if you have difficulty, send us an email at and we can see what we can do to help.   (The picture upload link is: Please put your group name in the same box as your surname) 

We will need your pictures to be uploaded to the above link by 5pm on Friday 17th July 2020 so we can judge them and announce the winning design. 

Please ensure that you get an adult to submit your picture for you. 


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After a brief chat on the Cairenes Troop’s Facebook site it became apparent that we both were enthusiastic to arrange a Zoom Meeting between our Troops.

It was decided that it would be imperative an agenda be drawn up and circulated to our own Scouts for them to compile their own personal presentations to share with the Cairenes Scouts. This plan/procedure would assist in making it a success.

The Cairenes Scouts are based within a French School, of Christian denomination, within the city of Cairo. The school has a very imposing building within the city and is approximately 45 minutes form the historic and renowned Pyramids of Giza. The predominant religion in Egypt is Islam, i.e. 90% of the population.

Naturally, they speak Arabic, but also French and English; they communicated with our Scouts in outstanding English whilst ours attempted to speak, out of respect, in Arabic and French during their presentations. Their efforts were highly commended by the Cairenes leaders and appreciate by their Scouts.


We exchanged in pictorial form our traditional foods with their respective ingredients, but we must admit Egyptian food looked more appetizing. In exchanging Facebook messages after the call, both sides agreed to have a go at the respective dishes and exchange photos afterwards.


Our own Scouts presented a spectacular and amazing array of personal interests including photographs of local places and buildings of importance and historic interests not only in Abercarn but within a 10-mile radius from where some of the Scouts live. The Cairenes Scouts were particularly fascinated by the importance of coal mining in our area.


The Cairenes Scouts reciprocated and portrayed that traditional Scouting skills were evident and that they formed an important part of their Scouting today, e.g. pioneering, the patrol system and various activities.

They were in awe of our mountains, forestry and green spaces with one Scout shouting “look at the size of that” referring to a local football pitch. The leader asked whether we have deserts in Abercarn and the answer, with respect, given by one our Scouts was “no we don’t, only trees and fields.” They confirmed that they have very few green spaces or parks.

Both troops shared details of their home lives and personal hobbies; destinations for family holidays were varied between both troops. Very few ventured outside of Egypt with Alexandria (on the Mediterranean coast) appearing to be a popular travel destination.

School timetables of the Cairenes Scouts were shown and explained, from French, English and Arabic schools. Shocking to our Scouts was that the French school was open on Saturdays, but it was closed on Fridays. The lack of a 2-day weekend was the biggest concern of our Scouts! The Cairenes Scouts were impressed that many of our Scouts attend a Welsh school, and also learn French, Spanish and sometimes Mandarin Chinese on the side.

Individuals proudly shared their respective country’s uniforms and badges to each other with each Scout explaining what their own meant, and the names of their patrols.

We are now going to exchange badges and neckerchiefs, but owing to the unreliable postal services in Egypt we are to send ours to the leader’s friend in Toulouse who will make the relevant delivery.

As the meeting was coming to a close we were “Roomed” into combined groups of Welsh and Egyptian Scouts where they instantly communicated with each other asking and exchanging personal thoughts/questions and ideas that the meeting had given them.

This was followed by the Cairenes leader leading in the traditional KIM’S game whereby 30 items were shown and the roomed  groups had to work together to remember the items.

Sadly, this non-stop interactive International Scout Meeting had to close as a period of 2 ½ hours had flown by!

From a leader’s perspective this was a truly humbling experience where your own Scouts, that you lead and teach on a weekly basis about Scouting, its traditions and laws, portrayed mutual respect and friendliness to their fellow overseas Scouts, on this occasion from Cairo.

The Cairenes leaders stressed that, if we were to ever visit Cairo, over 30 homes would open up and welcome us into their lives. We kindly returned the offer, and look forward to chatting to our fellow Scouts and international friends again in the not-too-distant future.

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