Today the Scouts have launched the #GoodForYou campaign. We know our volunteers have just as much fun as our Scouts, so this campaign is all about telling others about how volunteering can help you.
After a year of being alone, we are now starting to reconnect with each other and begin again the work of building our young people's skills for life and supporting their wellbeing. The last year has seen many pressures and disruptions. Family lives and routines were upended and remote schooling brought new pressures.
Because of these unique challenges, the number of Scouts in Hampshire fell 18% (from 19,000 to 15,600). The number of volunteers also dropped from 6,600 to 6,000. We had grown by over 9,000 people since 2006 and this has set us back from our purpose. It highlights clearly the impact on so many families this year, especially in communities disproportionately hit by coronavirus.
The good news is that young people are coming back to Scouts in droves. We need to have the volunteers ready to greet them and empower the Covid generation. To do this, we need more adults to step up and volunteer to lead young people and support our adults. In Hampshire, we're targeting a thousand new adults and nationally at least ten thousand.
Volunteering is good for your health, makes you happier, lets you learn new skills and can boost your family life. It helps our young people, makes the world of difference and improves our community. Together we are more resilient to whatever comes next.
Martin Mackey, lead volunteer for Hampshire said:
"Despite Scouting shifting to online, this could not replace the fantastic adventure and challenge that young people gain from meeting up both indoors and outdoors. Added to that are the many pressures that people have and continue to experience as we emerge from this pandemic. It has meant young people have lost out on so much in the past year and our membership numbers show how many were unable to continue with Scouts due to lockdown.
Now that we have returned to proper scouting, although with some Covid-19 restrictions still in place, the good news is that we are seeing young people coming back and in large numbers, so we need more people to help us ensure young people can meet friends, have fun and fulfil their potential by learning skills for life. That’s why today we’re calling on people to volunteer with us. Volunteering is good for communities, good for young people and good for you."
The #GoodForYou campaign is being run across the country to encourage new adults to volunteer. Nationally, the Scouts are running this over the next six months with a local focus. We want those who drifted away during the pandemic to come back to us and we want new Scout groups in areas of the greatest need.
We've not been idle. Since the first lockdown, Scout volunteers in Hampshire have provided thousands of hours of Zoom sessions. We've supported young people with at-home challenges like the Great Indoors and Hike to the Moon. And when restrictions have allowed, have run socially-distanced meet ups. Our Scouts have met with astronaut Tim Peake, cooked together in twenty different kitchens and sewn home-made face coverings for their vulnerable neighbours.
James, a 9 year old Cub Scout from Gosport said:
“Our Scout group has been fantastic in helping me get off my Xbox and keep doing our fun challenges and helping people. We did so many worthwhile things during the pandemic like making 'keep smiling' bunting for our local care home. We did the Tim Peake and Bear Grylls ‘Hike To The Moon’ challenge and made loads of money for people affected by the virus. We've made pizza's and had a really funny magician on Zoom. I'm really proud of our achievements”
Amy Robinson, a parent from Gosport said:
“Cubs has been a magical lifeline for both my son and as parent, especially throughout lockdown - provided some much needed structure and routine and sense of community in quite an isolating time for these young people. Even the badge work became a focus and structure for home schooling! Amazing leaders that give up their valuable time - thank you so so much.”
Steven Osborn, a Scout Volunteer from Totton said:
“Taking part in activities with Scouts has been a mental health lifeline for so many of our young people. It's helped them stay resilient during the pandemic. Our young people and their parents value the hard work of our volunteers - they can see the difference it makes. We’re starting to see more young people coming back to Scouting so we’ve got to be prepared with more volunteers ready to welcome them back. It makes all the difference and is great fun too.”
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout:
“The past year has been so tough for so many. And it’s also shown just how important it is for us to work together to help those in need. Scouts plays a fundamental role in the lives of thousands of young people and our goal is to build back our membership by welcoming thousands of new volunteers across the movement. As an adult volunteer you can help us continue to make an incredible contribution towards helping young people learn new skills for life. You’ll gain some great new skills, new friends and be part of empowering young people to be prepared for their future.”