Thousands preparing to join scouts but volunteers needed

Growing movement: Oxfordshire Scouts County Camp at Blenheim Palace last year and inset, Phil Earl, lead volunteer

A record number of people are signing up to join the Oxfordshire Scouts, with more than a thousand wannabe members stuck on the organisation’s waiting list.

The number who are part of county groups increased by nearly 200 over the last year, according to latest annual membership figures released this month.

In total there are 2,520 adults and 6,976 young people now part of the Oxfordshire groups.

The annual membership census also highlighted that there are 1,124 young people waiting to join – but more than 150 new volunteers are needed to cater for the demand.

Phil Earl, lead volunteer for Oxfordshire Scouting, said: “I am proud to see that we continue to achieve such strong growth for Scouting in the county.

“Providing our unique programme of adventure and skills for life to more young people is a huge achievement.

“Much of this is down to our amazing volunteers. As one of the county’s leading youth charities, we’re acutely aware of the importance of all the volunteers in Oxfordshire who give up their time every single week to help others.” 

The national adventure group has seen an overall increase for the 13th consecutive year with 10,699 new
youth members and 9,371 adult volunteers joining in the last 12 months.

The news comes after the Scout Association revealed the results of a survey showing the positive impact volunteering can have on mental wellbeing for those involved.

A YouGov poll found the majority reported having improved life satisfaction and self-esteem since beginning volunteer work, as well as having reduced feelings of loneliness and stress.

Mr Earl said: “With the majority of volunteers saying they feel more motivated, confident and more skilled as a result of the work they do with us, it’s not just the young people they are working with that they’re benefitting.”

But Mr Earl said he is ‘concerned’ businesses are not doing all they can to better support employees who volunteer outside of work.

He added: “With known benefits to workers’ productivity, confidence and the extra skills they are gaining – being more flexible clearly benefits employers as well as their staff.”

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