A SCOUT group in the New Forest have become one of the first in the country to return to face to face meetings.

The 15th New Forest South (Milford-on-Sea and Keyhaven) Sea Scout Group returned to face-to-face meetings for the first time in over 100 days having hosted weekly virtual meetings during lockdown.

Following advice from the Scout Association that troops in England can start to have meetings in person again, beaver and cub leader Sean Reeves, a solicitor by day, spent over 40 hours putting together a policy for his group.

He said: “The scout association have provided a traffic light system for operation. When it is on red, we are not able to host face to face meetings.

“Amber means that we are able to meet in small groups outside of 15 participants including an adult, and green is pretty much back to normal.

“As of Tuesday, apart from areas like Leicester, the level in England was changed from red to amber which meant that, subject to approval from the district commissioner, we are now able to meet face to face again.”

Having had the policy approved, eleven members of the 18-strong troop were able to meet on Wednesday.

Having met at the scout hut in Keyhaven, the troop, accompanied by their two leaders and an adult helper, walked to a wooded area to take part in outdoor activities such as scavenger hunts and foraging.

Although they are now able to meet in person, Sean said the troop will continue to provide both face to face and virtual meetings in order to involve members of the group that are not physically attend future meetings.

Sean added: “We have engaged with the parents during lockdown and the majority of them have wanted their children to come back to face to face meetings.

“Some of our members have been shielding or don’t feel comfortable return to face to face meetings yet and we don’t want to deter them.

“On the flip side of that, we have had some people who don’t like the virtual meeting setting.

“So it is a very fine balancing act to try and get everyone involved.”