A summary of the key headlines (Source: South East Scotland Scouts Census 2023):
> Demand for Scouting by young people has grown across the whole of East Lothian with a 7.4% increase yoy in young people taking part in Scouting.
> East Lothian Scouts has a youth waiting list of 323. We need only 57 new adult volunteers to clear this.
> Example roles which need support by local communities – Section Leaders and Assistant Section leaders. These are the most accessible roles available in Scouting. We have seen the biggest drop in adult volunteers in these – collectively -38% yoy.
> The total number of young people in the East Lothian Scout District is 766 and the total number of adult volunteers is only 172.
> 17% of young people in Scouting are female which is up on the 2022 Census figures.
> 83 Top Awards have been issued to young people aged 4-25 including the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, Queen’s Scout Award (now King’s Scout Award) and Chief Scout Awards – all these build their confidence, and resilience and develop essential employability skills.
> East Lothian Scouts has 20 Young Leaders (male and female)enabling those aged 14-18 to develop leadership and the skills they need in life if that be as part of their CV, at university, in future employment or simply to improve the quality of their lives.
> We have 12 active Scout groups in East Lothian – Aberlady, Cockenzie, Dunbar, East Linton, Gifford, Gullane, Haddington, Longniddry, Musselburgh, North Berwick, Pencaitland and Tranent.
Demand for Scouts by young people across East Lothian continues to grow yearly. There is a shortage of adult volunteers at the 12 local Scout Groups, which is stopping 323 young people on the Scouts waiting list. Only 57 new local faces are needed to volunteer to clear this waiting list and enable more young people to benefit from the opportunities Scouting provides.
According to the latest Census figures released by Scouts, the number of young people part of the East Lothian Scouts District has increased by 7.4% to 766 year on year. While this growth is to be celebrated, more volunteers are needed to help return overall membership numbers to pre-pandemic levels. The Census also shows there has been a drop in the number of adult volunteers in sectional roles. Scouts is so popular that the massive waiting list and lack of new adult volunteer leaders mean Scouts is appealing for help to become section leaders, helpers or support in governance roles to ensure there is no barrier to participation.
More adult volunteers are needed to widen the participation in Scouting, inspire younger people and help teach them the skills they need for life. As a volunteer-led movement, Scouts is only possible thanks to the adult volunteers who help young people aged 4-25.
Hilary Cartwright, the District Commissioner of East Lothian Scouts said: “We have lots of terrific young people – boys and girls – wanting to join Scouting. We really want to accept them, but we need more leaders if that is to happen. We only need 57 new faces from across the whole of the East Lothian to support more young people to participate in Scouting. We think that’s totally doable and possible thanks to our local communities. The power of volunteering and reducing our waiting list lies with them.’
“At Scouts, we give young people the opportunity to improve their confidence, wellbeing, and resilience. We have so much fun. East Lothian Scouts wants to help young people realise how amazing they are, but the plea for more volunteers to enable this begins today.”
“We are proud to be inclusive seeing a growth in girls joining Scouts year on year. We are also pleased to have awarded over 80 Top Awards last year from the Duke of Edinburgh Awards to Chief Scout Awards. These build essential employability, personal and character skills that will help improve the quality of young people’s lives.”
“I encourage anyone to give Scouts a try. Anyone can help – working with young people or more ‘behind the scenes’ – and no Scouting experience is essential. Whether it be two hours a month or one or two hours a week. Everyone has a skill and Scouts can help you use it to support the future and the next generation. And we have rewarding flexible opportunities to help adults benefit from Scouting too.”
Caroline Danks, Beaver Leader at the North Berwick Scout Group said: “If you are unsure about becoming a volunteer in Scouting, come with an open mind. Don’t worry about the training, don’t worry about dealing with children, don’t worry about not having the right skills – just give it a go! There is so much knowledge and support out there that you are never on your own. The reward of hearing laughter, seeing smiles and seeing them develop confidence and new skills far outweighs any restricting concerns that you might have. There are many ways to get involved, and we always listen to what you feel you can commit to.”
Although there are 172 voluntary leaders, committee members and administrators in East Lothian, more are needed if the Scouts want to expand and grow their current membership of 766 young people.
Those interested in learning more about volunteering for the Scouts or joining as a volunteer can find out more information – https://sesscouts.org.uk/more-about-east-lothian-scouts/