Blog | The importance of diversifying Scouting
Shabir Randeree CBE, Trustee of The Prince’s Trust and the Chair of Mosaic – a Prince’s Trust mentor-based programme that seeks to inspire young people from deprived communities to realise their talents and potential – shares his insights on how Scouting can empower young people from different backgrounds.
Diversity in Britain and the role of the Scout Movement
I believe the Scout Movement has a natural role to play in helping us inspire and broaden the scope of possibilities for youth from disadvantaged backgrounds, especially immigrant communities that are more isolated than others. HRH The Prince of Wales is committed to supporting a collaboration in this respect with Mosaic (founded by HRH in 2007). At Mosaic, we have found that a little movement from our side, mentoring and working with volunteer role models, goes a long way to inspire and change lives. Every young person mentored successfully, changes the future of that family indefinitely, uplifting their economic status.
It is our aim to move children and young people from the margins to the mainstream of our society – this is a fundamental and inspirational call, its what we aim to do at Mosaic and the Scout Movement has a significant role it can play.
On bringing people together – how Scouting can help
There is increasing evidence that structured and institutional segregation is on the rise – particularly amongst young people. Research shows that young people under 17 years old have 53% fewer interactions with individuals from ethnic backgrounds different from their own, than would be expected if there was no social segregation.
We know that Scouting is a successful model across all minority communities, in fact so much so that there is a waiting list amongst Scout Groups supported by the Muslim Scout Fellowship, offering Scouting in an Islamic environment in the UK. More resource could be focused to expand Scouting to these communities.
The American author Dillon Burroughs said: ‘God’s love for others does not stop at the border; neither should ours’. I believe this represents the very best of our spirituality. The Scout Movement has such a rich legacy of inclusiveness worldwide and with half a million members in the UK, I can only imagine the potential, the powerful impact that the Movement can make to uplift our disadvantaged and disaffected youth.
I have been involved for some years with 3ff (Three Faiths Forum) who have been hugely successful with their ParliaMentors programme, which seeks to assign small groups of students from different (and no) faiths to collaborate and to work together on a project. The results are astounding in helping to foster dialogue, understanding and mutual respect between communities (and faiths).
We are on a journey
Diversity is a key objective of the Scout Movement. As their strategic goals set out, they are working to ensure ‘that Scouting will be as diverse as the communities in which we live.’ Even though the Movement has not quite reached a diverse demographic as yet, I feel that the journey has started and taking these first steps to recognise and concentrate on increasing diversity, ensuring that Scouting is truly open to all, is both commendable and deserving of more resources.
I was very encouraged at Summit 17 to hear from the Chair (Dr Ann Limb OBE) and delegates that they supported to continue making this a priority: a Scout Movement that embraced diversity.
The Scout Association (TSA) is now planning Scouting’s future beyond 2018, thinking about priorities, the work we wish to continue and any new areas where we can make a difference, all to answer the question: how can we improve the life chances of young people and better support our volunteers?
This piece is part of a series of contributions intended to stimulate discussion and debate as we create a new strategic plan for Scouting between 2018-2023. In early August, we will release a toolkit to support consultation on a District and Group level, with views being fed back nationally. Make sure you’ve made time at a County or District level to take part in September or October.