Give a gift to last a lifetime this Christmas!

Throughout school, Hugh's autism Spectrum Disorder and Dyslexia felt like a struggle, but at Scouts he found a place to be himself. He developed his skills and became more confident, more independent and happier. With your help, we can support thousands more young people like Hugh this Christmas. 

We have a special twist to our Christmas Appeal this year. If you are looking to give a donation on behalf of a loved one, we will send you a personalised certificate so you have something to present to your loved on on Christmas Day!

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Hugh's story 

“I really struggled at school, but that’s the wonderful thing about the Scouts; no matter how rubbish school or work has been you can come to Scouts and it’s always fun.”

On his 18th birthday this year, Hugh became a Scout leader. Using his experiences growing up, he supports those in his Group with any learning disabilities and life-struggles they may have. This was what stood out to Hugh about Scouts; it offers the kind of learning and development rarely available in the classroom - one-to-one conversations, the freedom to run around if you find it hard to focus. 

When Hugh's Group nearly collapsed…

In September 2017, the Willesden Scout District was on the brink of having to merge with another District. They'd hit rock bottom, following a number of years of declining support. A distraught community of parents, young people and adult volunteers in Willesden were in desperate need of support.

They fought hard to keep their Group open, reaching out to parents and extended family to support the sections. But it was only when the Group reached out to headquarters for advice they discovered they could be fully supported by one our Growth and Development Officers.

As their dedicated Growth and Development Officer, Derek worked with Scout Leaders and the District Commissioner to learn about Willesden and its residents. Together, they set up a number of events to spark interest and ignite passion for Scouts. They also created a development strategy for the District.

Growth and Development Officers making an impact

Growth and Development Officer roles were introduced following the ambitious target set by Scouts of wanting to have 50,000 more young people in Scouts by 2023, as part of their recently introduced strategy. We’re proud that to date, we are making significant headway in helping groups around the country retain their leaders, attract more young people and improve the programme for all.

They work with local groups and districts to find opportunities for growth in a local community. This could mean opening new sections or groups, visiting schools and running a number of taster sessions for young people and parents. New adult helpers are identified and trained by the Growth and Development Officers and new sections are integrated into the Scout community. 

Without these roles, Derek wouldn’t be able to provide support like he has done for Willesden. 

The fastest growing District in the UK!

After setting out on their goals in their developmental strategy, it wasn’t long before Willesden was inundated with eager young people and passionate adult volunteers. Through a combination of outreach work, challenges and camps, a community came together.

Closing is no longer the issue - like Scout Groups across the UK, Willesden now don't have enough adult leaders to cope with the demand from young people wanting to join.

As Scouts, we want to continue helping Groups like Willesden to thrive. To do this we need your help this Christmas. By donating through this appeal you'll make sure Growth and Development Officers like Derek can help Groups like Hugh's, around the UK.

Thank you for all your support so far. We really appreciate it. And we're not the only ones - your dedication to Scouts makes the world of difference to those who need our support most.

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