Staying Safe

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Our new lockdown website has hundreds of activities and games to do at home, weekly challenges to try and a regular programme of live workshops and events online, as well as information on how our groups can operate during the COVID-19 outbreak.


You're in one of the main sections of Woodcraft Folk's New Group Journey training module. The most important points to remember are listed first, and following that is a fuller explanation of what you need to do in this area. There are many different ways of doing things in Woodcraft Folk, so we've included only the essential guidance in this module, leaving you to develop your own methods to suit your group.

Links to individual resources are in bold green, and you should read each of these for a full understanding of good practice. Links to other pages of the website are in non-bold green.

Use the Ask for Help link to request help on a particular topic, or request a Twin group with whom you can share ideas and joint activities.

This module works alongside a checklist, timeline and guidance sheets for you to print out and work through. Download the staying safe guidance sheet


Keeping children safe from harm in all we do is at the heart of Woodcraft Folk. This means following certain good practice procedures as well as screening our volunteers who work with children and young people.

Key things to remember

  • All regular helpers must be DBS checked
  • Use the Risk Assessment template to assess risks before doing a new activity
  • Familiarise yourself with Woodcraft Folk's main policies

Information about each participant

In terms of group administration you should have a child consent or health form for each under 18 year old that attends the group. This should have parent contact details on as well as health information in case of a medical emergency. These forms should be kept confidential and secure, preferably at your meeting place, but should be carried with an appropriate volunteer in the case of a group outing, camp or residential (unless a separate event specific one has been obtained). It is useful for the form to also ask for permission to use photos for publicity purposes. You should also be aware of our data protection policy.

You also need to take a weekly register so you know which children and young people are on the premises and under your care, and signing them out at the end of the group night. Have a look at an example group register.

Local safeguarding policy and practice

All parents and volunteers should be aware of our national safeguarding policy and procedure which outlines procedures that should be followed, such as adult to child ratios. In addition, groups and districts should develop their own local safeguarding plan and review it regularly, since this helps keep everyone aware of the need to follow certain safety procedures that everyone has agreed. The staying safe guidance sheet has more information on this.

All districts (and groups if there is no district structure in your area) should have a Safeguarding Officer who oversees these procedures and is the first point of contact locally, should there be an incident. Our key safeguarding information is gathered together at This includes a role description for the Safeguarding Officer, procedures and guidance, as well as some scenarios and activities to use for local training sessions to increase members' awareness. In particular, with the rise of social media, your group may want to take a look at our social networking, website, mobile and email communication guidance.

DBS checks

In England and Wales, all over 16s in a childcare role such as being a group leader or helper will need a Disclosure and Barring Service certificate and will therefore need to fill in the online application form ( . Note that the forms are different in England from Scotland. In Scotland, the forms are not online and will be sent out to the applicant from Folk Office.  There are two types of form depending on whether you are already a member of the PVG scheme or not. In Woodcraft Folk we ask that volunteers redo their DBS disclosure once every three years. It is the group's collective responsibility (usually with onus on the Membership Secretary and Safeguarding Officer) to keep a list of all adult volunteers and ensure that they have a current disclosure through Woodcraft Folk. Individual members will receive reminders about renewing their membership and disclosures but often this needs attention at a local level to ensure it's carried out. There is guidance on the recruitment of ex-offenders online.

First aid

You will need to think about first aid; who will administer it? Where is the first aid kit? Who keeps the first aid kit supplied? How do you record an accident and what measures were taken? An example first aid policy is online.

Risk Assessments


Using a written risk assessment will help to lower the chance of an accident and of a child coming to harm. Watch the risk assessment webinar for guidance. Often this is just common sense, written down and checked. For instance, taking a register can be part of your risk assessment. You should have a risk assessment for every activity you do. This doesn’t mean writing copious assessments, as you can use the same assessment for similar types of activity, such as one for arts and crafts, one for bike rides etc. You should show what risks have been identified and then what steps will be made to minimise them. You should review your risk assessment regularly, particularly after an accident or incident. Also have a look at our health and safety for groups policy.


Your group and members are covered by Woodcraft Folk's insurance,  as long as you're putting Woodcraft Folk's policies into practice and staying safe. Woodcraft Folk has public liability insurance against legal liability arising in connection with our activities up to a limit of liability of £5,000,000. Other policies you might like to be aware of include our drugs, alcohol and tobacco policy. All Woodcraft Folk policies are available from our policy page

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