Community Impact Project of the Year 2018: Our winners
As Scout Community Month draws to a close, the Community Impact Group (a group of young people who lead this work across the UK) have chosen the winners of their Project of the Year competition. All prizes will make a big difference to local Scouting and an even bigger difference in their local community. Those in first place will go back to their Scout meeting place with £500, while those in second and third place will win £250 each and £150 each, respectively.
Well done to everyone who took part, and huge congratulations to all of the winners below – you all made a real difference in your local communities.
Joint 3rd place: Grantham Explorer Scouts and Central Yorkshire Scouts
A selection of Grantham Explorer Scouts have trained as mental health champions, reaching out to local Sections to provide them with their own age-adapted mental wellbeing training.
Beavers and Cubs began by talking about their feelings and mental wellbeing, discussing how we all have good days and bad days, and why it is OK to have a not-so-good day. Cubs also discussed social, domestic and educational influences. For the Beavers, this was followed by an activity that demonstrated the strategies they can adopt to make them feel better, and finished with a game in which they made snowballs out of paper, writing down any negative thoughts or feelings and having a relay race to throw them away. Cubs did an activity where they thought about something they did in the past day or week that made them feel really proud or good, but also to think of something they didn't do quite so well at. If they felt confident enough, they presented their ideas to their peers who then discussed what strategies they may put in place to deal with it more positively should it happen again. The main message for these age groups to grasp is that there is always someone they can talk to, be it their mum, dad, guardian, grandparent, or best friend. They also learnt about links between mental health and physical health, such as healthy eating and sleeping habits.
For Scouts, the emphasis was placed on situations - related to their age – which could affect their mental health. They discussed what their core trigger points may be and how these could reach a climax and picked one of these as a focus. They then made a mind-map of triggers and potential outcomes. Explorer Scouts also touched on what the Scouts could do to support their peers and themselves.
The sessions were about empowering the young people to identify strategies that will promote their wellbeing, and still continue. Young leaders and adult leaders are involved wherever possible to facilitate the activities, in order to increase their awareness of mental health and wellbeing, too.
Central Yorkshire Scouts
The Central Yorkshire Scouts created the 'Youth Commissioners' Challenge', an award supporting Candlelighters, a Yorkshire children's cancer charity, and the Scout and Guide hospital Unit based at Leeds General Infirmary. The award was launched in September 2017 and ran through until September 2018.
The challenge was unique in being open to every single member of the County - young people and adult volunteers alike – and the criteria was to complete Stage 1 of the Community Impact Badge and do 'something' to support one of the two charities. This could involve volunteering, donating resources, running an evening for the Unit, or fundraising. Over the course of a year, the Troop saw over 1,300 individuals get involved, easily completing well over 5,000 hours of service. Candlelighters received nearly £6,000, using the money towards the construction of the 'Candlelighters Cottage', which was being built to provide free overnight accommodation nearby to families at the time. The cottage has since been finished and Candlelighters kindly invited all the Scouts who supported them to visit and see where their support went.
The Troop held a ‘Thanks Day’ at their County Campsite. This was a free activity day provided for everyone involved in the award, and Chief Scout Bear Grylls came along to express his gratitude for everyone’s hard work.
Joint 2nd place: 24th Lincoln (Saxilby) Cub Scouts and 1st Lickey Cub Scouts
24th Lincoln (Saxilby) Cub Scouts
After hearing that elderly residents in nursing homes are more prone to falls if they don’t remember to use their walking supports, 24th Lincoln (Saxilby) Cub Scouts visited local nursing homes, hoping to help solve the problem. Their idea was to personalise Zimmer frames and other walking aids with the residents, reminding them to use them. The Cubs went into the homes with a range of craft materials, helping residents to choose how they wanted their walking supports to look, and having lots of meaningful interactions. In addition to creating some lovely frames, nursing staff reported a significant increase in their usage after the Cubs visited. The project also led to further interaction with one nursing home in particular, where the Pack are visiting for a Halloween campfire with fun and songs. Further visits to other nursing homes are in the process of being arranged, and older Beavers will be included as part of their Moving On programme.
1st Lickey Cub Scouts
A mental wellbeing project undertaken by 1st Lickey Cub Scouts has had an impressive scope, reaching over 28,000 individuals. The Pack began by discussing what is meant by mental health, with many Cubs giving examples of their own experiences of feeling stressed, worried, sad and happy, before making stress balls together.
Later that month, they held an open evening at their meeting place, inviting parents, relatives, friends and District Leaders. Guests at the evening were able to make their own stress ball, see displays that explained 'A Million Hands' and the Pack’s planned project, and learn about a petition the Cubs were putting together to send to their local MP, the Right Honourable Mr Sajid Javid. The guests were then asked to sign and decorate a plaster each so it could be added to the petition. The Cubs were also asked to think and write down a creative way they could present the plaster petition to really get the attention of the MP. The session ended with tea, cake and a chat, which fitted perfectly with one of the five recommended ways to maintain and improve mental wellbeing: staying connected.
The winning petition presentation was a life-size poster of a mannequin, which the Cubs stuck the plasters onto. The 1st Lickey Cubs posted their petition to Mr Savid Javid and were featured in their local newspaper. They received a 3-page response letter from Mr Javid, who also re-tweeted the news article on the project to his 80,800 followers. Mr Javid said he was very pleased to read of the support being given to this campaign and thanked the Cub Scouts for the fantastic way they had attracted his attention. He said the petition of signatures on plasters was a 'wonderful piece of artwork', and it’s now on the door of his Westminster office.
1st place: 2nd Hawkwell Scouts
2nd Hawkwell Scouts showed that sometimes the most practical forms of help make the most impact. Once a month, they went down to Southend High Street with a garden trolley loaded with hot chocolate, water, snacks and personal items like socks, gloves, and hats. They walked around handing everything out to the homeless people of Southend, chatting to them and asking how they were doing. Many people told the Scouts how it had made their night to see young people giving up their time to help them and many shared their stories, giving Scouts an insight into life on the streets. 2nd Hawkwell also made up shoeboxes full of useful items for Christmas presents and handed them out in December.
Well done again to these inspiring winners!
Supporting community impact is part of our new Skills for Life strategy and is vital to the future of the Scouts. Find out more about how you can take action within the strategy here: /about-us/strategy/volunteer-actions/section-leaders