Give a gift to last a lifetime this Christmas!

Without realising it, you have helped thousands of young people like Hugh in ways they never thought possible. Hugh has had incredible, memorable experiences from all the climbing, camping and international events he has taken part in, and the life-long friends he made along the way from all over the world. But, more than that, Hugh gained the confidence to help him take control as he moves into the adult world.

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Hugh's story


“I hated 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.”

Hugh became a Scout Leader on his 18th birthday earlier this year. Despite struggling at school with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Dyslexia, Hugh found the Scouts’ invaluable to improve his independence and self-confidence.

Hugh uses his own experiences to support his group with any learning disabilities and life-struggles they may have. This was the part of Scouting that stood out so much to Hugh growing up because the Scouts offer a type of learning and development that is rarely available in the classroom, like one-to-one conversations or the freedom to run around if you find it hard to focus.

Hugh’s group in Willesden nearly collapsed two years ago…

In September 2017, the Willesden Scout District was almost forced to merge with another district due to declining support over a number of years and eventually hit rock bottom. A distraught community of parents, young people and adult volunteers involved in the district were in desperate need of support.

Willesden’s community fought hard to keep their group open, reaching out to parents and extended family to support the sections.

It was when the group reached out to headquarters for advice they found they would be fully supported by one our Growth and Development Officers. Derek worked with Scout Leaders and the District Commissioner to learn about Willesden and its residents, and together they set up a number of events to spark interest and ignite passion for the Scouts. They also created a development strategy for the district.

Growth and Development Officers supporting groups around the UK

Growth and Development Officer roles were introduced following the ambitious target set by the 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.

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

Last year, Willesden was the fastest growing district in the UK!

Following Hugh’s district setting out on their goals for their own 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 of people that had never interacted with each other before came together to unite.

Now that closing is no longer the issue, Willesden have joined Scout Groups from across the country in a shared problem - they don’t have enough leaders to cope with the demand from young people.

The Scouts are here to continue with our initiatives to help groups strive, like Willesden has, and to do this we are looking for your help this Christmas. With a donation to this appeal we can continue working towards our strategic objectives and making more support roles like Derek’s available around the country.

Thank you for everything you have supported to date and your dedication towards the movement, we truly appreciate it.

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