Through social action, Scouts makes a difference not just to the individual but to whole communities. A vital part of a great programme is running quality community impact projects, and these projects take planning and time.
A Million Hands, our campaign to mobilise members in support of a selection of themes chosen by our young people, provides ‘off the shelf’ resources for leaders, making it easier to deliver the Community Impact Staged Activity Badges. Participating in community impact projects is essential for achieving our top awards.
The themes and partners for 2019–2025, as selected by young people, are:
– Better mental health for all, with Mind, Inspire and SAMH
– Supporting refugees and displaced children, with Save the Children
– Understanding disability, with the National Autistic Society
– Protecting our environment, with WWF
– Ending homelessness, with Crisis and The Simon Community NI
– Kindness in every community, with the British Red Cross
Our Community Impact goals
– At least 250,000 young people will be making a positive impact in their community each year
– 50% of young people will be achieving their top awards
Progress on Community Impact
Despite face to face Scouting being suspended for much of 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, Scouts still stood up and took practical action for others, as we’ve done throughout our history. Our young people have designed innovative, inclusive and impactful campaigns in response to the national crisis. They carried out 11,000 acts of kindness through Care for Care Homes, over 4,000 people committed to boosting others wellbeing through Wellbeing Champions, and there were 11 million social media impressions of mental health campaign, #ThreeForThree.
While the pandemic and lockdown restrictions affected face-to-face delivery of A Million Hands, the initiative has continued to inspire members, supported by a full suite of 135 activities launched and 59% of those who took part in community impact in 2019–20 having done so through A Million Hands.
Between 2018/19 and 2019/20, badge sales for the Community Impact Staged Activity Badge rose by 25%.
In 2021 and beyond, we’ll be encouraging more young people to take action in A Million Hands through digital and physical events and new opportunities from our partners.
Given the urgency of the climate crisis, we’re also working with the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), WWF, and young people from across the world to produce campaign content and activities that empower our young people to take practical action and create change in the run up to, during and after the COP26 conference. As part of this work, we’ll be creating ‘Green Young Leaders’ – young people that are able to take the lead on designing and running environmental social action with other young people.
On top of this, we’re embedding social action into our upcoming early years section, with a particular focus on how Young Leaders (aged 14 to 18) are able to develop skills and take the lead on designing and running social action projects with 4 and 5 year olds. This innovative piece of work will make sure we support more young people, especially those from deprived backgrounds, to develop skills for life through regularly helping their communities.
The 10 young people who lead our work in this area (the Community Impact Group) have played a critical role in our COVID-19 response. They’ve helped Scouts to remain a beacon of hope to so many in this darkest of years and the whole organisation would like to thank them for their work.