ACHIEVEMENTS AND PERFORMANCE
Session (2019/20) was once again a busy and challenging one as the Battalion sought to support the work of its Companies in the advancement of Christ's kingdom amongst children and young people.
Unfortunately, as a result of COVID-19 and the impact of Coronavirus throughout the world, the Boys’ Brigade took the decision in March 2020 to stop all face to face meetings locally and at Battalion level, activities and residential camps were cancelled.
In order to keep in touch with youth members Brigade nationally introduced a BB@Home programme, and the Battalion continued to communicate with leaders providing updates on matters arising, with Companies keeping in contact via technology with virtual meetings and displays.
Prior to lockdown the Battalion hosted a programme of events for all Sections, both of a competitive and non-competitive nature.
- Company Section & Seniors events included: badminton, indoor football, physical training and table tennis. Unfortunately, regular favourites including pitch & putt had to be postponed.
- Junior Section events included: Laser Quest, indoor football, swimming and a quiz night.
- The Anchor and Junior Sections came together to take part in a nativity Challenge, painting the Christmas story using rocks and stones.
The new session started with a good number of youths attending the Pre-dress rehearsal of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in August. This was followed the first weekend in October with an Adventure Weekend at Craggan Outdoor Centre for Company Section members.
During the session the Battalion ran a full training programme, including Captain’s Training, Child Protection, Youth leadership, Building Your Skills, Emergency First Aid and Camp & Holiday Leadership.
Congratulations go to the 48th Edinburgh Company based in Penicuik who won the Scottish Masterteam trophy and who now go onto the national final to be held in Northern Ireland.
The annual Company Section Worship Event was attended by youth members from Company sections and seniors, adult leaders and Honorary Officers on 28th February. The evening was a great success and enjoyed by all who attended. The theme of the evening was “Time Travellers” and was held at Colinton Mains Parish Church.
The East Lowland Area (ELA) Queen’s Badge Completion course was held on 6th-8th March at which 10 of our seniors completed the work to gain this award.
This unfortunately is where things took an unexpected change with events throughout the Battalion being cancelled due to COVID-19. These included key events we look forward to each year; Beating Retreat at Edinburgh Castle, parading at the opening service for the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the ELA Certificate presentation which was due to be held in Galashiels on 3rd June and our attendance at the Royal Highland Show as runners.
Pollock Pavilion, Lethem Park and Craggan Outdoor Centre continued to be extensively used, both by groups from within and out-with the Battalion up until March 2020. The closure of these premises has undoubtedly had a major impact on our income this session and planning has commenced into re-opening once it is safe to do so.
A key project set up during the session was the Craggan 2020 Project where we want to ensure that our outdoor centre, Craggan is “Fit for the Future.” This includes looking at refurbishment, facilities on offer, brochures, advertising, risks & issues etc. One of the first tasks was to upgrade the heating and this was completed at the beginning of March. Another task was to seek external funding and following a submission to the William Syson Foundation (William Syson deceased, being an Honorary Vice President of the Battalion who served as a boy, Officer and Captain) we were delighted to receive a donation of £20,000 towards the Craggan 2020 Project.
We were also fortunate that the Lethem Park Allotments, due to the size of the plots were not impacted greatly by COVID-19, with social distancing being maintained, the local residents continued to tend to their plots and income stream was not affected.
Finally, I would like to extend my thanks once again to all the dedicated Leaders who carry out such great work in both our Companies and Battalion.
Ian Montgomery, Battalion Secretary