Our plan to #BounceBack from the past year.

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As Scouts we've been prepared for more than 100 years for whatever life throws at us, ready with a plan B.

Last weekend, Hampshire Scouts looked to the future and unveiled our plan to recover from the impacts of the pandemic. We want to continue to give as many young people skills for life as possible and to do that we need to make sure our local volunteers are supported to do this.

How was Hampshire Scouts impacted by the pandemic?

One of our many Scout Key Heroes.

A year ago, Scouts up and down the county had to leave the great outdoors behind and began Scouting indoors to keep each other safe. They couldn't see their friends and some couldn't access Scout activities because of a lack of digital devices.

For nearly all of our volunteers, they faced new uncertainty with their jobs or their lives. Many carried on delivering activities and trying all they could. Plenty were working as key heroes and saw their hours increase dramatically - Scouting took a back seat.

Many had to stop Scouting for the time being. Newer Beaver Scouts, who would be raring to start learning new skills and making new friends at age 6, couldn't start or wanted to wait until life returned to normal. As a result, we lost about 3,200 Scouts and 900 adults, around 15% of our members.

What we're going to do about it.

We're doing all we can to get all of our Scout groups back to face-to-face activities as quickly as possible. We've made a resource for Scout leaders to help them do this, we're mobilising our reserves to support groups locally and we're trying new things like continuing the pilot Scouts for 4 and 5 year olds.

We're supporting our volunteer leaders directly through new digital tools, training online to help them do their role well and exploring new ways to develop our local trustees. Our local managers are key to this so we're launching a Step Up campaign to fill any vacancies and amalgamating smaller districts so local volunteers are part of larger, well resourced teams.

We can't do this alone, so we're also going to create links with Hampshire County Council, Portsmouth City Council and Southampton City Council to forge connections across the youth sector where we live.

We're determined to grow back to where we were. Thousands of parents have been able to experience first hand what Scouting activities look like; we're sure many will want to help us to keep giving those experiences. Just as many girls and boys are eager to join us again and our team are doing all they can to create as many spaces for them as possible.

We're ready and have got the vision but do you? We've all learned again the importance of being outside so get involved to help our young people appreciate it themselves. Find out about joining or volunteering with us.

Words by Steven Osborn

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