Scouts launches volunteer recruitment campaign after thousands stepped down during pandemic

The charity hopes to attract 5,000 new volunteers to help plug the gap left by 15,000 who left over the past year

The Scout Association has launched a campaign to recruit more than 5,000 volunteers after numbers fell by 15,000 over the past year.

The charity said its number of adult volunteers dropped from almost 156,000 in 2020 to just under 141,000 this year. 

The membership has also fallen by more than 117,000 – almost a quarter – to just under 363,000. The numbers rose by almost 200,000 between 2006 and 2020.

Declining membership numbers indicated the pressures and disruptions people had faced over the past year, the charity said. During that time Scout volunteers ran hundreds of thousands of online sessions. 

Disruption had been particularly keenly felt in communities disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, it said.

The #GoodForYou campaign aims to boost volunteer numbers by showing potential volunteers how Scouts can benefit them. 

Volunteers will be tasked with supporting young people’s wellbeing and helping them gain skills.

Scouts will run a series of local recruitment campaigns over the next six months to encourage volunteers and invite former members to rejoin.  

In addition to the campaign, earlier this month the Scouts and Girlguiding were awarded more than £2m for a joint project to streamline recruitment processes for volunteers over the next two years. 

Matt Hyde, chief executive of the Scouts, said: “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.

“The good news is they are coming back in droves, so we need more people to help us make sure young people can once again meet friends, have fun and fulfil their potential by learning skills for life.

“That’s why today we’re calling on people to volunteer for Scouts. Volunteering is good for communities, good for young people and good for you.”

Hyde has also written an exclusive blog for Third Sector about the importance of volunteering as the UK continues to emerge from the pandemic. 

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