#GoodForYou campaign launched to recruit volunteers to build back better

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.

Volunteering: it's #GoodForYou

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."

What we're doing about it:

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 Peakecooked together in twenty different kitchens and sewn home-made face coverings for their vulnerable neighbours.

Don't take our word for it:

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.”

Volunteer with us today or find your local group to help out on the Scout website.

This article was written by Hampshire Scouts, to view this article click here.

Our plan to #BounceBack from the past year

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?

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.

This article was written by Hampshire Scouts, to view this article click here.

Engaging with our community to tell them our story

Across Hampshire we're at the heart of more than 100 communities, delivering skills for life to thousands of young people. But our impact is much wider than just our young people and our 6,000 adult volunteers.

In the past year along, Scouts in Hampshire have spread the love for our local care homes by showing them we care and made meals to feed families during half term. Our young people have raised a smile for their neighbours and our volunteers stepped up to serve our communities.

Now volunteers are sharing our story with community groups like Rotary and Probus whose members remember fondly of their days as Scouts and want to be brought up to date with what we're doing.

Volunteer Steven, who has led one of these talks to Alresford Probus, described the talk as:

Lots of people in our communities have fond experiences of being a Scout in their youth and the skills they learned. But what they know of us isn't the full story these days. It's been great to tell them our stories, how we've gone from humble beginnings to where we are now; serving our community, giving young people a voice and growing to include more people.

Steven Osborn, Volunteer.

As well as covering the story of Scouts so far, he also looked at our plan for the future, the challenges we face in light of the pandemic and how we're rising to the opportunity.

The talks have been a big success with the understanding and appreciation of those listening for what we do today greatly improved. Reaction has been positive and they've been more likely to recommend others helping us.

[It was] very professional, clear and interesting, and [they] answered questions well. We could not have asked for better.

Glenn Gilbertson, Alresford Probus.

Want to invite us to your community group? Let us know at [email protected].

Can you help us rise to the challenge of the future? Volunteer today and see what vacancies we're looking to fill.

This article was written by Hampshire Scouts, to view this article click here.