Cabot District Scouts – Ten Tors Team in their Rohan waterproofs donated through Gift Your Gear taking a well earned rest during a day’s navigation training at Ashton Court in November. Starting out with sleet, heavy rain and strong winds, the day turned dry and relatively mild only to end with showers and a cool breeze. All four seasons in less than 12 hours – just like Dartmoor.
“The benefit of Gift Your Gear is best defined as providing an opportunity to all so as to ensure that ability to pay (for training and kit) is not the over-riding criteria for participation. The scout district boundary includes some of the most wealthy areas of Bristol but equally includes areas of council and social housing; single parent families etc. Having been born just after the war in London I know first hand how families sometimes have to make difficult choices as they do not have elastic funds. In some of the areas the scout District covers the first question we get asked is how much? (from the scouts as well as parents) rather than when do we start?. That is why we started the equipment bank in the first place – we also quietly and gently support some families financially by subsidising the training fee. As a social commentary what we are also witnessing is the other end of the spectrum chequebook scouting where finding financial resources is easy for families, but parents are so busy with their own lives that they don’t have the time to spend with their own children. Inclusion covers both ends of the spectrum.
Cabot scouts Ten Tors training team set up its own equipment loan bank over 15 years ago in order to ensure that everyone in the District had access to equipment of the standard required to cope with the harsh conditions of Dartmoor. It can be mighty rough during the training period February to May which has taken its toll on kit. Now however thanks to Rohan and Gift Your Gear we have a set of nearly new waterproof jackets to loan out to our team members as they navigate the 2 day self sufficiency challenge carrying all their kit over a minimum of 35 miles. There’s a 45 and 55 mile route for the older age groups. We are just one of 400 teams from across the South West from, schools, cadet units, scouts and other youth groups who take part each May in the annual event now in its 53rd year, which is organised by the army”. – Laurence Parsons