2021 has been another unusual year for 3rd Portchester Scouts. At the start of 2021 both Fareham & Portsmouth were in Tier 4 Covid-19 restrictions meaning that we were essentially in local lockdown and had to revert to virtual methods of delivery. During the year we did see lots of easing of Covid-19 restrictions and did even make it back to the green Covid-19 readiness level, before seeing more Covid-19 restrictions come back in during December.
While we able to do various different activities we did our best to support a wide variety of activities for the young people in our Group.
Please feel free to take the time to find out more about our fundraising efforts during 2021 as detailed below.
Similar to 2020, the government announced various funding to help support local businesses which we were eligible for. This made a huge difference to helping cover some of our core overheads allowing our leaders and volunteers to directly focus on activities that were focused around supporting those in our group and the local community.
Public Access Defibrillator
Back in 2019 (yes that was pre-Covid-19) volunteers from 3rd Portchester and Castle View WI started fundraising to get a new public access defibrillator installed at 3rd Portchester HQ. This would be the only one of its kind to cover this area of Portchester as while there are defibrillators at Portchester Sailing Club and the local schools these are not accessible 24/7.
Through the effort completed during 2019 by 3rd Portchester & the WI, our Crowdfunder Campaign in 2020 and also the kind support offered by the Alex Wardle Foundation this was a project that we have been able to make happen at the start of 2021. While the AED has yet to be used (and we hope it will never be required) it is available in the local community should it be required.
This initiative during such a tough time gathered a lot of attention by others, if you would like to read more.
As restrictions eased over the warmer months we were able to see a return of some community based events. These included:
Where we ran our traditional tea and cake stand, along with supporting other local community organisations (such as Portchester Community Association) with various tents for the event.
Breakfast with Santa
Half through 2021, we changed the way that we collected our Membership Payments from Standing Orders to Direct Debits linked up with Online Scout Manager (OSM), enabled by GoCardless. While this wasn't a painless task swapping over 100+ parents we can now say that this is complete. While there is a small cost involved, the reduced administration burden on our volunteers has made such a huge difference enabling them to focus their time and effort elsewhere. OSM will automatically remind parents if a parent is due, along with automatically reconciling payments against each individual member.
We have also started using OSM for Gift Aid Declarations and at the end of 2021 we had returned Gift Aid Declarations for over 90% of our parents (we have still got some more parents to follow up with). This is the highest amount of returned Gift Aid Declarations that we have ever had completed and as you will be aware it enables us to claim back an extra 25p for every £1 of our Membership Payments and no cost for any UK Income Tax Payer.
We have yet to work out our gift aid claim based on the Membership Payments and donations that are eligible from 2021. It is also possible for us to go back up to 4 years if we have members who have now returned us a Gift Aid Declaration but have not done so in the past.
We are truly thankful for the support from all donors regardless of Gift Aid, but we are very mindful that this additional funding can make such a huge difference in helping us maintain an affordable cost to Scouting in the area.