A Million Hands Project of the Year 2016

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109th Leicester (Countesthorpe) Scout Group win title of A Million Hands Project of the Year 2016.

From hundreds of projects across the UK, The Scout Association has chosen their A Million Hands Project of the Year. The two Beaver Colonies at 109th Leicester chose dementia as their issue, because they thought it was important for everyone to be happy.

Each Beaver Scout was supported to complete four hours of individual action, to raise awareness in their community and improve the lives of those affected by dementia. As part of this, the Beavers organised a visit to Cherrytree Residential Home, meeting residents with dementia and taking part in activities, supported by leaders and care staff.

To raise awareness of dementia, Beaver Scouts Ewan, 8, and Darwin, 7, decided to volunteer at a Christmas dinner for elderly people who would be alone over the festive season. The Beavers helped to take orders and clear plates, and chatted with many of the 80 people present, some of whom suffered with dementia.

‘The boys gave up some of their own time over Christmas to spread some cheer and make a difference to those less fortunate in their community,’ says Section Leader Jack Barber.

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Jack also took two of the Beavers, Michael, 7, and George, 6, onto BBC Radio Leicester to talk about their actions, the ongoing project, and A Million Hands as a national initiative. Through this, they spread the word of their project even more widely.

Freddie, aged 8, chose to run a cake sale as his individual contribution to the project. He baked and decorated chocolate cakes which raised £10.60, helping boost the total that the two Colonies raised to £399.25.

The Group presented this donation to Dee Lehan-Matthews from Alzheimer’s Society at a celebration evening, designed to share the success of the project with their community, including District Councillor Sheila Scott. Money raised by Scouts will help Alzheimer’s Society fund vital research into the causes of dementia.

The project culminated with a visit to a local residential home, where the Beavers listened to residents talking about their childhoods, school days and memories of the war – experiences very different to their own. The Beavers learned songs and played games with the residents. ‘It was really interesting listening to people talking about their pasts,’ says 8-year-old Ewan.

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‘Many of the carers commented on how much the residents had enjoyed seeing the Beavers,’ Jack explains. ‘This is a perfect example of how young people can really make a difference to the lives of others in their community.’

The judging panel, young adults from the UK Community Impact Group, including Callum Holt, selected 109th Leicester as their Project of the Year. ‘The project stood out as one which hit everything we look for in a strong Community Impact project,’ says Callum. ‘It was Youth-Shaped, and has the potential to be expanded upon. It’s a fantastic testament to what young people can achieve, given the right encouragement, support and space to be creative.’

‘We’re so happy that the Beavers at 109th Leicester have had their hard work recognised,’ says Section Leader Jack. ‘The hope was to make it their project and do what they wanted with it, and it turned out to be a real success.’

‘The young people are really enthused by the thought of doing something good in their own area, and being in control of making something better. We’ve already started our next Community Impact project!’

Congratulations to all who have helped us to work towards to our target of mobilising 500,000 young people to take action in their communities by 2018. If you’ve not yet registered or logged your most recent action, visit the website to get involved or tell us what you’ve done.

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