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Safety considerations for your Scout fundraising activities.
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Fundraising Safety Considerations

Bouncy Castles - The supervisor must be king.
Bouncy Castles and similar inflatables seem to go in and out of fashion but they are generally seen as simple, safe fundraising attractions.

Like any piece of equipment, they can ‘bite’ if used incorrectly. There have been injuries caused by inflatables blowing over in high winds. More typically, injuries (and consequent liability claims!) arise from mixing large and small children (small ones break when bounced on) and from failures to supervise their use properly. A responsible person should be watching all the time and this cannot happen if the only person available is taking the money and supervising those about to go on. If the age/size range at the event is wide, run appropriate ‘sessions’. The HSE publish a guidance note (PM76) - ‘Safe Operation of Inflatable Bouncing Devices’ and this can be obtained from their website: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/etis7.pdf.

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Bungee Runs - A Horizontal Challenge
These come in a variety of forms, ranging from professionally built inflatable ‘runs’ to simple homemade versions consisting of plastic sheeting covered in soapy water.

The dangers should be obvious. Players will fall over and slide, so there must be a smooth surface. Plastic sheet on ‘hard ground’ (and that includes grass playing fields) is not suitable. Padding under the sheet is essential. Age and physical size is important and you may need to adjust the bungee to ensure that small children do not get catapulted backwards. There have been serious head injuries and at least one serious lower spine injury when a player landed backwards on a karibener attaching the bungee to the belt. As with bouncy castles, supervision must be constant and over-enthusiasm controlled. The Info Centre at Gilwell can provide a factsheet (FS 120003 Bungee Running).

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Car Washes
These can be a lucrative fund raising method, with the added advantage that you can include the Scouts in the activity. Children and water tend to go down well together!

The Scout Association’s Legal Liability Policy does cover car washes.

Inevitably, we have had our fair share of claims from irate drivers. In some cases, the Scouts have been the cause of the damage (like the one in which a bucket of water was placed on the bonnet of a car and then pushed across the shiny surface) whilst in others, the issue has been disputed (the dirt on the car may be concealing a scratch).

Planning can avoid many claims (not to mention avoiding adverse publicity for the Group). Consider some simple measures:-

  • A dropped sponge should never be picked up and re-applied to the car, even if it is rinsed in the wash water. One adult should be in charge of taking in dropped sponges and providing a replacement whilst the soiled sponge is thoroughly cleaned.
  • Use a soft brush to rinse the worst of the grime off the car (preferably with running water) before washing with shampoo and sponges.

Never use the last few inches of water from a bucket. That is where grit and particles will be concentrated.

Cleaners should not wear clothing with metal zips or similar hard accessories. Leaning over to clean the bonnet can result in zips scratching the paint-work.
Finally, a responsible adult should inspect the cars, with their owners, before cleaning commences. Any pre-existing damage can be pointed out to the owners, saving arguments later about who caused it.

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Bag Packing/Trolley Service - Your very own Supermarket Sweep

This has become a popular fundraiser, with many high street supermarkets willing to participate. It has many attractions, not least that it can be very lucrative!

The liability risks range from crushing a customers goods to crashing a trolley into a brand new car. The liability policy will cover such mishaps but avoidance should be the aim. This really comes down to supervision and that means rounding up enough adults to ensure a quality service without relying on a small Scout to push a huge trolley on their own.

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