SCOUT groups across Colchester are set to finally meet together face-to-face after five months of lockdown.

Lockdown brought an end to activities towards the end of March, with the 2020 Essex International Jamboree being cancelled due to fears over coronavirus.

The traditional St George’s Day parade through Colchester town centre was also cancelled this year amid fears of spreading the virus.

For the past five months groups have been meeting virtually online, but now they’ve been given the all-clear to meet up again in person, provided an adequate risk assessment has been completed.

Dave Reid is district commissioner for Colchester North Division Scouts.

He said: “Groups are now putting together risk assessments so they can meet in person again.

“It is quite a complicated situation and there is another round of meetings with the Scout Association coming up.

“The leaders understand what it involves because it is not just going back and everything is normal.

“There are different issues with different groups and lots of things to think about.

“It is basically a minefield and the volunteers have got to be happy to come back too.

“Things are getting back to normal but it will happen slowly.

“I am confident we will have at least 95 per cent of our groups back up and running by Christmas.”

Some groups which are part of Colchester Estuary Scouts have already started meeting up again in person, with more to follow over the coming weeks.

Mr Reid said it had been a difficult time for Scouting generally, but groups were looking forward to getting up and running again.

He added: “It is very difficult when you have leaders shielding and some of them are key workers too.

“But Scouting in Colchester never stopped anyway.

“We have been running online meetings and virtual camps for youngsters so they’ve still been working on their badges.

“It is not quite the same as scouting is all about the great outdoors, but we have managed the best we can in the situation we have been in.”