Half of staff at the century-old charity have been placed at risk of redundancy as the Scouts grapple with a £2.3m loss
Scouts Scotland has placed half its staff at risk of redundancy.
The charity has been hit by a £2.3m loss as a result of Covid-19 and has said it now has no choice but to make compulsory redundancies. It is understood that around 30 staff members are at risk.
Up to 80% of the charity’s employees were placed on furlough as the Scouts grappled with loss of business at its centres, the cancellation of scouting and fundraising events, cancelled bookings for its marquee hire service and dropping investments.
Although some of its activities are beginning to restart, the organisation – which was founded in 1909 – has said this will not make up for the loss in income over the spring and summer.
A joint statement from Andrew Sharkey, chief commissioner for Scotland, chief executive Katie Docherty and chairman Gordon Robertson, said: “We have done everything we can to try to reduce the impact on our finances. We moved quickly in March to furlough 80% of our staff, cut all but absolutely essential expenditure, and worked tirelessly to try to secure extra funding. Despite this we are still facing a large deficit that we simply can’t absorb, and so we have had to make some incredibly difficult decisions to try to save our charity.
“In June, we made the heart-breaking decision to begin a consultation with our employees about restructuring, which put nearly half of our staff at risk of redundancy across our three outdoor centres and our headquarters teams.
“The consultation has now ended and our board of trustees has met to discuss the outcomes and agree next steps. Through the consultation we have looked at every possible way to reduce the number of compulsory redundancies needed. However, sadly we have no choice but to proceed with the restructuring plan and compulsory redundancies.
“This is such a horrible situation that none of us ever wanted to be in. We are trying to support staff as much as we can, and we have been so grateful to staff for their support, understanding and participation throughout this incredibly difficult process.”
The Scouts’ new structure will focus on supporting local groups to continue to support young people to develop skills for life and improve their mental health and wellbeing. Adventures Centres at Forell Firs, Meggernie and Lochgoilhead will remain open.
The statement ended: “Scouting will be needed more than ever as we begin to rebuild society, the work that we all do is vital to thousands of young people across Scotland. We are making difficult decisions now to protect the future of scouting in Scotland.”