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Drug, Alcohol, Tobacco & Intoxicating Substances Policy

The use of intoxicating and addictive substances poses many issues for Woodcraft Folk members, both for adults and young people. The following policy is to be adopted by all staff, adult volunteers and members of all ages.

Policy principles

  • All children, young people and adults should be aware of the behaviour expected of them, and who they should speak to if they are uncomfortable. Groups, Districts, Regions and Nations shall agree guidelines prior to any formally organised activity, event, residential or camp. Organisers of camps and other residential events, particularly where there are members from more than one group participating, shall take special note of the need to produce guidelines, which apply to every member of the camp or event.
  • Guidelines must not permit, condone or tolerate any illegal behaviour by any person attending the activity, event, residential or camp. Woodcraft Folk activities should operate within the law, see section below on legislation
  • At any one time there should be the appropriate ratio of responsible adults who must not consume alcohol or intoxicating substances (a minimum of two).
  • All adult leaders, helpers and staff are role models for the children and young people who attend Woodcraft Folk activities. Young people are impressionable and will inevitably be influenced by adult’s behaviour, as such adults should be mindful to demonstrate healthy choices.
  • Exploring health issues around drugs, alcohol and other intoxicating substances is a valuable group night activity, and could even be delivered peer to peer (see Drug & Alcohol Education Policy)
  • Every member has the right to speak out if they are concerned. If you are concerned about an adult’s or young person’s use of alcohol, drugs or intoxicating substances speak to your Local Safeguarding Lead

These principles and the recommended practice below covers usual Woodcraft Folk activities (group nights, camps, meetings and residentials). During fundraising and other social events, when adult leaders are not responsible for individual children and young people, this policy does not apply, however group leaders should still be mindful that they are role models to our young members.

Recommended practice

  • Agree a code of conduct/group agreement for your group and away trips. This agreement should be developed with adult leaders and young people and may include bedtimes, smoking areas, drinking alcohol, who to speak to if there are concerns
  • Adults must not offer illegal or over the counter drugs, alcohol, tobacco products or other intoxicating substances to children and young people.
  • Prescription medicine should only be given to the individual to which it is prescribed, and should be kept in a safe and secure location, separate from the First Aid box. Prescription medicine should be kept by a designated adult and monitored. 

Drugs and other intoxicating substances

  • Woodcraft Folk does not tolerate, permit or condone the use of illegal substances at any of its events
  • Any members found using illegal substances or ‘legal highs’ at a Woodcraft Folk event can expect to face sanctions


  • No tobacco or tobacco derivative will be purchased for or supplied to any person or persons under the age of 18
  • Smoking may only take place in designated smoking areas, which must be away from event areas and away from areas where children are likely to be present
  • All Woodcraft Folk events/activities must comply with relevant legislation, including that around enclosed public spaces including marquees
  • No person shall drive a Woodcraft Folk vehicle or transport Woodcraft Folk members while smoking tobacco products


  • No alcohol will be purchased for or supplied to any person or persons under the age of 18
  • All events must have an adequate number of adults abstaining completely from alcohol at all times sufficient to ensure supervision levels are maintained in the event of an emergency. Due consideration must also be given to the need for transport on and off site in the event of any emergency occurring.
  • When away on camp, a risk assessment is required to identify how many adults are required to take responsibility for the children and young people at the event. If there are additional adults they can drink alcohol once the children have gone to bed, but should not drink to the point that they cannot carry out their leadership responsibilities.
  • No person shall drive a Woodcraft Folk vehicle or transport Woodcraft Folk members if they believe or anyone else believes that they have alcohol in their system

Raising a concern

Concerns about a young person or about an adult volunteer should be shared with the Local Safeguarding Lead for the group, camp, event or project. Young people should be supported to share their concerns with any trusted adult, but these should be communicated to the Local Safeguarding Lead as soon as possible.

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