We’re the 12th Winchester (Royal Green Jacket) Scout Group – and we’d love you to join us. Action is at the heart of everything we do and it is the single most important thing that sets Scouts apart. Scouting is an inclusive, values based movement and prides itself on being open to those of all genders, faiths and abilities.
Our history and our name
Dating back to 1921, the 12th Winchester is the oldest continually operating Scout Group in Winchester. We’re also the only one with a military affiliation. If you’re wondering why, we need to take you back to May 1940 when the Rifle Brigade, nicknamed the Royal Green Jackets, helped hold off the German advance for long enough to allow the Dunkirk evacuations. In the aftermath, many of the Royal Green Jackets were taken Prisoner of War and spent the next five years in appalling conditions. Meanwhile, back home in Winchester, the 12th Winchester collected £80 in donations (equivalent to £4000 at today’s prices) for the Regimental Prisoners of War Fund. As recognition, in 1943, the group was granted honorary affiliation with the Rifle Group and changed necker colours and insignia to model those of the Royal Green Jackets. We still use the colours today and, every year on Remembrance Sunday, we’re proud to turn out to lay a wreath at the Cathedral’s War Memorial with past and present members of the Rifle Group.
Supporting an embattled NHS during Covid-19
Inspired by their predecessors from the 1940s, members of today’s 12th Winchester Scout Group made weekly collections of drinks and toiletries for intensive care staff at the RHCS. The Group subsequently received a County commendation for its support of the NHS throughout the pandemic.
Recognising the risks posed by social isolation, we were keen to ensure that our young people continued to access Scouting. Our section leaders used Zoom to conduct meetings for Beavers, Cubs and Scouts throughout the spring lockdown. Whether it was cooking, quizzes, badgework or even “at home” camping in the living room, every meeting offered something different and our members-only Facebook page buzzed with photographs and stories of what everyone was getting up to. We even made new friends across the Pond, holding meetings with Scout Groups in several US towns also named “Winchester”.
Throughout lockdown, we kept a close watch on emerging Government guidelines, which made us first off the starting block among Winchester Scout Groups once in-person meetings were permitted. Prior to entering tier 4 in December 2020, we used constantly monitored risk assessments to enable our young people to meet up at section meetings indoors and outdoors. Now, in the current lockdown, we are once again running weekly Zoom meetings.
2021 is our centenary year – and we have lots planned in celebration. Lockdown permitting, we plan to hold a Scout camp in Guernsey at Easter, which will be an excellent warm up for our grand centenary camp – involving Beavers, Cubs and Scouts – at Brownsea island in the summer. We’re also looking forward to participating in our centenary St George’s Day parade in April. Needless to say, we are also planning contingency events should Covid-19 necessitate them.
As befits a Scout Group with such strong associations with the armed forces, Remembrance Sunday is always an important event for us. In 2020, we obviously could not mark it in the usual way (at Winchester Cathedral). However, the section leaders devised a new project for our young people, which saw each of our Beavers, Cubs and Scouts adopt a war grave at one of the Winchester cemeteries. The leaders turned photographs and video clips of our young people – many in uniform – laying poppies or crosses on the graves into a Remembrance Day video.
With a strong, experienced leadership base, all three sections enjoy a momentum that means our young people experience everything Scouting has to offer – including during Lockdown.
We have two active Beaver Colonies (for girls and boys aged 6 – 8), Cub Pack (for girls and boys age 8 – 10.5) and Scout Troop (for girls and boys age 10.5 to 14). There are also several exciting Scout Explorer Groups around Winchester for young people aged up to 18, and where they can also work towards their Duke of Edinburgh awards.
We’re always keen to welcome new members – and volunteers! – so head to our joining and volunteering pages to get in touch with us. We have room for your young person and look forward to welcoming them. Although we’re based in Winnall and our traditional “catchment” is Winnall, Highcliffe and the City Centre, we also have children from across Winchester.
Updated January 2021