Scouts spring into action to help local services during the big freeze

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On Tuesday night a team of Scout volunteers took emergency action to help local services in extreme weather.

Nottinghamshire Emergency Scout Support Team (NESST) is a Scout Active Support Unit of 32 Scout leaders who have been helping emergency and local services look after vulnerable members of the community in the recent harsh weather conditions.

Interviewed by Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 on Wednesday afternoon, Matt Rooney, Deputy County Commissioner for Nottinghamshire Scouts, reported that volunteers had been out and about in 4x4s with district nurses and health professionals, making sure that medical care could be delivered to people in the county.

Helping young people become active citizens

Volunteers from a range of backgrounds, including doctors, police, construction workers and office staff, have also been delivering medicines in the Mansfield and Sherwood areas, and towing stranded motorists out of ditches.

And according to Matt, it's about more than just the leaders helping out. They're also trying to encourage young people to check up on those around them and take a caring role in their community.

'As Scouts we believe strongly in encouraging all our Members to play an active and positive role in society. A real example of the big society in action.'

When schools were shut during the cold spell in January, Age Concern asked for support delivering supplies for elderly people unable to get to their daycare centres, and two teenage Explorer Scouts went out with the team.

'One of the people we visited was just so pleased to see another person', said Matt. 'It's the small things that make a huge difference.'

A decade of support

NESST was formed in 1986 to provide support and services to Scouting events, and has since developed its role to helping other organisations and running annual events for young people. It became part of Nottinghamshire County Council's emergency plan 10 years ago.

Mark Spencer, MP for Sherwood, praised the work of Nottinghamshire Scouts, saying, 'This is yet another example of Scouts going above and beyond to do something positive to help other people. I applaud the work of Nottinghamshire Scouts and know that the people in my constituency and Nottinghamshire are truly grateful for their acts of selflessness'.

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