All we’ve achieved



With the launch of our new strategic plan fast approaching, we thought it would be worthwhile to reflect on our successes and challenges over the past four years. In 2014, we committed to grow, be more inclusive, make a bigger impact in our communities and become more youth shaped by 2018. And thanks to your dedication, we’ve done just that. Below, some of our lead volunteers talk about all we’ve achieved against our Scouting for All objectives as of the 2017 census, and what we need to focus on now.


Mark Tarry, Deputy UK Chief Commissioner

‘Scouting succeeds when we offer opportunities to as many young people as possible. Key to the growth of the Movement is the recruitment of enough adult volunteers to open new sections, and to provide a great programme supported by amazing section leaders.

‘In 2014, we recorded 104,427 adult volunteers in Scouting. The 2018 census data is currently being processed and will be available in the 2017/2018 annual report in September but, as of 2017, we have 154,000 adults in Scouting. This is our highest-ever number of adult volunteers. Encouragingly, the number of front-line section leaders and section assistants had increased by 6.5%. 2017 was also our 12th consecutive year of growth.

‘In 2014, we recorded 432,000 young people in Scouting and in 2017, this number had increased to 457,000. Realistically, we are unlikely to hit our target of 500,000 young people by 2018/2019 but what we’ve seen is steady incremental growth and this is unusual for youth organisations today. We need to keep that up – more than ever, we need great leaders to deliver great programmes.

‘Following Cubs100, we saw an increase in Cub numbers of 1.3% and Young Leaders are on the up, with an increase of 6%. Encouraging Explorer Scouts to take on leadership roles

when they turn 18 is one of our greatest sources of adult volunteers. Increasing the number of Young Leaders will not only increase our Explorer numbers, it will also improve programme delivery immediately and lead to long-term adult volunteer numbers.

‘In order to continue to grow beyond 2018, we need to support Groups that are missing sections and make sure that sections are operating at capacity. We have 7,238 Groups in total but we are missing some 1,000 sections. If those existed at an average size, we would have 18,000 more members.’


Amir Cheema, UK Commissioner for Adult Support

‘Scouting continues to become more reflective of the diversity of UK society. In 2014, 22% of our membership was female and today, 27% is female, reaching 100,000 girls for the first time. We have also increased representation from minority and ethnic groups. Scouting in the Muslim community is growing and, in early 2017, we recorded over 3,500 members in local Groups supported by the Muslim Scout Fellowship across the UK.

‘Since 2014, we have started Scouting in nearly 650 areas of deprivation. These initiatives enable even more adults and young people to enjoy the adventure of Scouting and create spaces for young people of different backgrounds to mix and build friendships. We also celebrate our LGBT members with presence at Pride events across the country every year.

‘In January 2017, we set up the Inclusivity Advisory Group to advise, challenge and inform the future strategic approach
to inclusivity. The Group is made up of adult volunteers as
well as experts from external organisations, and ensures that underrepresented voices are included in this process. In 2015/2016, we partnered with the disability charity Scope to support disabled young people to fully participate in 

Scouting. The work resulted in 29 new sections opening and over 360 new young people welcomed into Scouting, as well as the development of guidance and resources.

‘Public perception of our diversity is steadily improving too. In 2016, 71% thought Scouting was open to people of all backgrounds; in 2017, it increased to 81%. To support us with public perception, we’ve recruited a great team of Scout Ambassadors including astronaut Tim Peake, Countryfile presenter Anita Rani, polar explorer Dwayne Fields, Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds, survival expert Megan Hine, adventurer Steve Backshall and Olympic rower Helen Glover. They’re helping us recruit more members from a range of backgrounds.

‘We need to continue to think about how we can actively and positively drive diversity. It’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure that Scouting really is “for all” beyond 2018.’



Youth Shaped

Frankie Smith, Deputy UK Youth Commissioner

‘Scouting works better when young people shape their experiences. That’s something we have always known and we’ve made great progress in ensuring that more young people are shaping Scouting across the Movement.

‘A major step forward has been the appointment of 173 District and County Youth Commissioners who are driving this change locally. Just as significant is the uptake of the revamped Sixer and Patrol Leader resources – it’s in our Sixes and Patrols where our future leaders get their grounding and one of the things that makes Scouting so unique.

‘There is now a wider Youth Commissioner Team, with four new assistant UK Youth Commissioners appointed in 2017 whose remits reflect the four areas of the Youth Shaped Scouting strategy: Programme, Leadership, Management and Governance. At a national level, it’s also great to report that 25% of UK Trustees are now young people.

‘Our yearly YouShape events have been held across the UK, attended by young people and they’re generating brilliant

ideas about how to improve Scouting. Over 56,000 YouShape badges have been earned since 2014.’

Community Impact

Graeme Hamilton, Acting UK Commissioner for Programme

‘Since the launch of A Million Hands, our social impact campaign, in 2015, over 4,600 Scout Groups have registered. That means 247,000 young people have had the opportunity to take part in high-quality social action on four big issues of our time. When we conducted our annual survey of adult members we found that the number of Scout Groups delivering community impact had risen from 25% in 2015 to over 56% this year.

‘The campaign is delivering for two reasons: firstly, it’s embedded in the Scout Programme, with opportunities for young people to do it as part of their termly programme rather than something extra. And secondly, it’s supported by strong partnerships. A number of great partners came on board in 2014 to provide expertise and support. This great teamwork was recognised when the campaign won ‘Cross-Sector Partnership of the Year’ at the Charity Times Awards 2016.

‘As a measure of the campaign’s success, over 1,400 projects have been logged and 90,000 Community Impact badges have been earned, recognising over 700,000 hours of action. There are now 16,000 Scouts trained as Dementia Friends. We’ve shared this news with the world too. Over 1,000 pieces of media about A Million Hands were generated, reaching over 90 million people.’

After extensive consultation with both adults and young people in the Movement, we will be launching the new strategic plan for 2018-2023 in spring 2018. We will continue to focus on Inclusivity, Community Impact, Youth Shaped Scouting and Growth through three pillars of work: People, Perception and Programme.

For more information on the 2018-2023 strategic plan, including research and blogs from senior volunteers, visit

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