hardship policy

1st Methlick Scout Group and Explorer Unit Hardship Policy last updated 10/03/2020.

While Methlick Scout Group ("MSG") is a Charitable Non-Profit Organisation we understand that there are times when financial situations cause difficulty for our young people and their parents/carers but their participation in Scouting would be both deserving, and of significant benefit. We want all of our young people to have the opportunity to experience camps, activities and of course our usual weekly Section meetings. Therefore, we have developed a financial hardship fund and policy whereby the Parent/Carer of a young person can request assistance with the financial obligations of being a member of MSG. This policy outlines the framework for handling cases of financial hardship related to events. Hardship cases are always considered on a case-by-case basis, and only where sufficient funds are available.

If you find yourself in this situation please do not give up, speak to your Section Leader, on a confidential basis, they will put forward your case to the MSG Group Scout Leader for Hardship Fund consideration. Contribution to, or full payment of, regular subs and/or the cost of additional activities will be considered for those young people with attendance records of 75% or above for the prior and current term. Consideration will also be given to non-member siblings of current MSG members where financial circumstances prohibit siblings joining MSG. Young people will be expected to continue attendance at the 75% and above level unless exceptional circumstances are discussed and agreed with the Section Leader.

Funding for nights away camps will be considered on a case by case basis but cannot be guaranteed even where regular subs assistance is given.

While consideration will be given to all cases, where funding will be provided, it may be subsequently withdrawn.

Where funding has been agreed, each case will need to be reviewed at the conclusion of the Scouting year (31st March), by reapplication by the member. They will not be automatically renewed for the year ahead. All cases will be handled in a sensitive and confidential manner, with as few people being aware as needed.

What do we fund?

Things we intend to be able to fund include:

  • Support for youth & adult members in financial hardship to purchase uniform
  • The cost of a youth member attending an activity that they may not otherwise be able to take part in
  • Section subscriptions (up to a maximum of 3 terms) provided the Commitment to Scouting has been shown. (see below)

Implementation

  • When a young person’s parents or carers approach the relevant Section leaders, the Section Leader should enter discussions within the constraints of this policy. The Leader(s) should ask the GSL to participate. The application form should be completed and given to the GSL following the discussions.
  • Final approval requires the agreement of both the GSL and either an AGSL or the Treasurer.
  • The total amount available for support (the Hardship Fund) in a given financial year is set at the AGM. The GSL or Treasurer will not allocate support beyond this total. Any request for further support must be agreed by the Group Executive Committee.

The primary consideration must always be the young person: if they are keen and active members then we should be doing everything we can to enable them to attend scouting activities.

Commitment to Scouting

The applicant must show a regular commitment to the Group, commensurate with the subsidy requested.

For a main summer camp, the following is a minimum:

  • Membership of the Association
  • 6 months of regular attendance (75% of nights), confirmed by their relevant Section Leader.

For a one off event / camp, or subscriptions:

  • Membership of the Association
  • Attendance records of 75% or above for the prior and current terms confirmed by their relevant Section Leader.

For new members who are just joining, then discussions will need to take place and items form Appendix 1 considered as there will be not past history of Scouting for that person.

Financial Situation

The Group normally uses the list in Appendix 1 as a guideline.

We will consider the following:

  • Support for members in financial hardship to attend camps/events in the UK or abroad
  • Support for members in financial hardship to purchase uniform
  • Support for members in financial hardship to support subscription payments
  • Support for individual members with additional needs to participate in Scouting
  • One-off Section grants of up to £200 per year for activities/camps

The fund will support individual and family members in ‘financial hardship’, something which can be a difficult subject to discuss with young people, parents and leaders. Therefore a section grant is also available so a leader can offset the cost for some activities they feel are in danger of being exclusive due to cost. Young people and adults who are carers or are considered ‘looked after children’ (in care) would also be eligible. The Appendix reports the different categories at the time of writing.

Payment Options

This clearly varies with the type of event the support is requested for. The following examples for a Summer Camp may be considered during discussion for example.

It could be a timing issue for payments, so the following could be appropriate:

  • Individual makes payment of 2/3 of the camp fees. The Group pay the final third.
  • Payment of 1/3rd up front to secure the place on the camp. The second third is paid after the camp, ideally within three months. The Group provide the final third. Repayment periods must not run into the next financial year.
  • Offers of help to the Scout Group. It should however be noted that people going through a crisis like a breakup or illness cannot often cope with extra commitments.

Loans / delayed payments beyond the above are to be avoided as they are hard to enforce.

The GSL has final say on all payment options, and Section Leaders should not agree anything unless discussed with GSL.

Subscriptions

In cases of hardship, subscriptions may be reduced at a rate agreed by the Group Executive Committee, or waived in their entirety.

Confidentiality

Information relating to individual hardship cases is often highly personal and is treated as strictly confidential. Any record of discussion of a hardship case at Group Executive Committee will be reported in a Confidential Minute, separate to the normal minutes. We will keep the number of people aware of any personal details to a minimum.

Policy Revision

This is v1 of the Hardship Policy, and was adopted at Group Executive Meeting on 10-Mar-2020, and will be reviewed annually at the leaders meeting/executive prior to the AGM.

Appendix 1

Evidence that can help make the best judgement of ‘financial hardship’ would be if a family is in receipt of and not limited to one of the following: (Documentary proof must be witnessed)

  • Carers allowance
  • Severe Disability Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support or Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit)
  • Working tax credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit
  • Jobseeker’s Income-based Benefit
  • Disability Living Allowance (PIP)
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Allowance
  • An income-related employment and support allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

How do I apply?

Simply have a chat with your section leader, who will advise of any issues to the Group Scout Leader. They will discuss your case one a one to one basis. The application form to be completed and handed in is below.

MSG Hardship Fund Application.pdf