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Blog | 17 May 2019

Over 20,000 young people in areas of deprivation join Scouts

Jade Slaughter
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We’re proud to share that our latest annual membership figures show another year of growth, including a wave of new sections opening in areas of deprivation across the UK.


Since 2014, we’ve been focusing on bringing Scouts to some of the UK’s most disadvantaged communities: this is part of our strategy to ensure all of the UK’s young people have access to services that allow them to develop essential life skills. The new figures reveal that we’ve now opened 1,280 sections in areas of deprivation. This means that nearly 20,480 young people from the toughest to reach communities are now a part of the UK Scout Movement.

To generate this growth, we’ve employed development officers to work in local communities, seeking out community leaders and meeting places, and setting up these new provisions. They then support the new sections for a few months to ensure they’re self-sustaining and can continue offering high quality youth work once the development team moves onto new challenges.

A young child holding on to a stick.


Linda Anneh-Bu, a Scout Leader from a group which started in 2018, said, ‘Scouting is a bit of lifeline to the community round here. It gives the young people really fun and exciting things to do and helps them develop skills that will help them in later life. I am proud to be part of the team that gives new opportunities to our young people.’ 

Despite this focused development work, the waiting list for those wanting to experience Scouts has also continued to grow, with more than 60,000 young people now wanting to join us in the UK. 

Tim Kidd, our UK Chief Commissioner, said, ‘2018 has been another strong year for Scouts, as the movement continues to go from strength to strength in the UK. I am so proud we're continuing to grow the movement. We reach out to the UK’s young people, giving them skills that will help them to succeed in life, long after they have left Scouts. 

'That’s why I’m particularly proud of the work we’ve done in communities across the UK that may not traditionally have access to Scouts. We're able to give close to 22,000 UK young people in areas of deprivation the chance to develop skills that will help them succeed in life. This is a real achievement, and is core to the Scouts’ ongoing mission to prepare young people with skills for life.’

Bear Grylls, Chief Scout, was also thrilled to see the new figures. He said, ‘I’m so proud that we continue to see so many young people and adult volunteers signing up for Scouts to not only have fun and experience adventures, but also learn skills for life. As a movement, we want to make sure all of the UK’s young people have access to these opportunities, which is why it’s so important that we are seeing such strong growth for the movement in some of the most challenging areas of the UK.

'But to do more, we need more volunteers! We still have more than 60,000 young people who want to join and gain new skills but are unable to do so. If you want to make a difference to the lives of young people, feel more motivated and confident and learn some new skills then please give Scouts a go.’

Scouting is a bit of lifeline to the community round here. It gives the young people really fun and exciting things to do and helps them develop skills that will help them in later life.

Linda Anneh-Bu, a Scout Leader from a group which started in 2018


Two children using colouring pens


Examples of new provisions opened in areas of deprivation in key English regions:

Young people attending these Scout groups are drawn from the 10% most deprived wards in England.

London – Willesden Scout District

  • 2017 Census: 284 Members in the Scout District
  • 2018 Census: 384 Members – A 35% growth on 2017
  • 2019 Census: 544 Members – A 42% growth on 2018
  • Thirty-five year high – the last time they had over 500 members was in 1983
  • In 2017, the District had 36 Section Leaders; they now have 73
  • Thirteen new sections opened in 2018

North East  - Byker Scout Group

  • A new Beaver Scout Colony and Cub Scout Pack have been opened, catering for 16 young people – they are supported by seven adult volunteers

North West – 1st Wythenshawe 

  • Two Beaver Scout Colonies have been opened (48 young people)
  • Two Cub Scout Packs have been opened (48 young people)
  • A Scout Troop has been opened with 20 young people
  • A total of 32 adult volunteers have been recruited 

East Midlands – 2nd Shirebrook

  • A Beaver Scout Colony, A Cub Scout Pack and a Scout Troop have been opened catering for 40 young people, supported by five adult volunteers and a full set of Charity Trustees (Chair, Secretary and Treasurer)

West Midlands – 148th Birmingham (St Dunstans)

  • Two new Beaver Scout Colonies have been opened, catering for 50 young people, supported by 16 adult volunteers

South West - Bridgewater Scout Group

  • Three new sections have been opened, catering for 35 young people spread across Beaver Scout, Cub Scout and Scout sections
  • Eight new volunteer leaders have been recruited to support the work

South East - 2nd Southampton

In the last year, a new Scout Troop has been opened to cater for nine young people with more being recruited later this term. The Troop are supported by five adults.

East Anglia – 1st Jaywick

  • Three new sections have been opened catering for 21 young people, spread across Beaver Scout, Cub Scout and Scout sections
  • Eight new volunteer leaders have been recruited
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