Our Lincs to Minsk link is almost thirty years old and something that has reached many members of Lincolnshire South and Minsk Region. As a County, we are very fortunate to have built a strong link with Guiding in Belarus, in particular, a direct link with Guiding in Minsk. Many members of both countries have enjoyed and benefitted from the link through travelling abroad, attending joint camps and the sharing of ideas and experiences. Our sharing of Guiding values and learning about different cultures and ways of life has seen many strong friendships form ensuring the link, too, grows in strength.

The County and Minsk Committee regularly review how the link is working and look for ways to support Guiding opportunities in both countries. The political situation in Belarus, and its impact on Guiding there has been difficult for a long time – the County has always refused to comment or be involved in politics. The focus has always been on extending an arm of friendship to fellow Guides and helping them to experience and continue Guiding, through the exchange visits and craft resource packs that are sent out on a semi-regular basis.

Everyone will be aware of the current situation associated with the war in Ukraine and the sanctions placed on Russia and its associates, of which Belarus is one. Because of this situation, we have decided to freeze all funds that have been raised for our link with Minsk across the County until there is either a change in the situation or the Government lifts the sanctions, and for now it will be held within the County account. We are still in contact with our Guiding friends in Belarus and aware of the situation they find themselves in whilst still trying to continue running Guiding meetings and events. This will continue, although we will not be sending any packages to them at this time, and obviously there will be no trips planned.

As a County, we remain committed to maintaining a link with Minsk as the future allows and we will continue to monitor and review the link in the light of events and the best interests of Guiding in Lincolnshire South and Minsk.