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Like all youth organisations, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the number of people able to participate in Scouts. Thanks to hard work of our local and national teams, the majority of groups were able to provide programme activities for young people either online or face-to-face, restrictions allowing.

We also worked hard behind the scenes with the National Youth Agency and DCMS to make sure face-to-face Scouting could return once safe.

Our growth goals

By 2025:
– we’ll have 50,000 more young people aged 4–18 in Scouts
– we’ll have 10,000 more Section Leaders (including Assistant Section Leaders)
– we’ll have 5,000 more Young Leaders

Progress on growth

The pandemic has meant that we’ve lost 117,331 youth members, representing a 24% reduction since last year. This was most keenly felt in Beavers and Cubs, which had a 35% and 22% drop respectively.

We’re confident that we’ll be able to recover these numbers in the next 24 months, in part because our reduction in volunteers wasn’t as significant, with 14,033 fewer volunteers of which 8,000 were in section roles, representing an overall reduction of 10%.

There have been some gains though. We’ve seen an increase in District Youth Commissioners and their deputies, as well as an increase in District and County leader and administrator roles.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we’ve also seen an increase in the number of youth sections across the board, and we know how vital the online programme our volunteers have been delivering have been in the context of our long term growth.

What’s next?

Over the last year, we’ve worked hard to provide tools and resources that both support adult and youth recruitment and deliver Scouts remotely.

We’re actively working on a recruitment campaign to engage new audiences, and we’ve already rolled out online volunteer recruitment training to support groups with their recovery.

We’ve also had some significant fundraising success through Race Round The World which supported our Recovery Fund. This has distributed £1.5 million to groups in need across the UK and will distribute a further £700k to support groups to accelerate their recovery.


James' story