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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means

Design an app to help others

Think about how you'd make a quick and easy app to help your local community.

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You’ll need

  • Pens or pencils
  • A4 paper
  • Device with access to the internet

Before you begin:

  • Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional help to carry out your risk assessment, including examples can be found here. Don’t forget to make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.
  • Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers. 

 Planning this activity: 

  • You may want to have a copy of maps of the local area for people to use.
  • You could have some energy efficiency information or safety key messages and electricity safety information for each group to use.  

Running this activity: 

  1. Gather everyone together.
  2. Ask if anyone knows about how to stay safe around electricity and energy supplies in their homes or communities. For example, electricity substations are based in residential areas to supply electricity to homes, businesses, schools and more. If you kicked a ball into a substation, why should you never attempt to retrieve it?
  3. Now, thinking about your home and places in your community, where could you reduce your energy use? What top energy-saving tips to reduce electricity usage do you know?
  4. Tell everyone that they’re going to design an app to support their local community. The app will tell them about staying safe around and saving energy.
  5. Ask everyone to get into groups and decide on the local area they’ll cover in their app.
  6. Each group should spend time planning and designing three key pages of their app, you can do this either on paper or on a device, such as a computer or laptop. 
    1. The community page: The community page should show essential local locations, such as a pharmacy, hospitals, doctors, public transport facilities, parks, libraries, leisure and sports centres, museums, and schools. Think how this will bring communities together, as well as show energy advice and usage. For example, you could include top tips, a forum, a chat; or interactive information about free wi-fi facilities, car charging facilities or any green policies a venue has.  
    2. The energy efficiency page: This page should include ideas on how to save energy in the home or community. People should think about how they’ll make this fun and engaging, such as a quiz, game or a spinning wheel of facts.
    3. The safety page: This should include key messages and advice around staying safe when using electricity for people in the local community. This may include home safety, camping safety, what to do in a power cut, or power lines and railway safety. You could also consider the Priority Service Register, which is free service aids people with additional needs during power outages, especially those relying on electricity for medical equipment. For more details, visit our UK Power Network supporter page.
  7. When groups have finished designing their app, each group should think of a catchy name, icon and slogan that conveys the app's purpose. It should be creative, appealing and easy for anyone to understand.
  8. Ask each group to take a moment to think about and reflect on accessibility and usability.  
  9. When you’re ready, ask groups to look at each other’s designs and feedback on them. What do they like? What could be improved? Is it easy to use and understand? Is there anything that could be changed? 
  10. Now, each group should look at their feedback and make any changes.  
  11. Gather back as a group. Groups or individuals, who are happy and comfortable to, could share their ideas and app with others and talk through their design. Everyone could vote on their favourite design, with a winner being chosen. However, you could give out bonus prizes or congratulations for teamwork and communication. You could also pitch the different apps to a panel, such as three parents and carers or three young leaders. Each group could then put their pitch forward to the rest of the group or a panel, with the winner being chosen. 


This activity was all about designing an app. What did you enjoy about this activity? What was it like getting to design the app? Was it creative or did you also have to be sensible to make it easy to understand and useable? How did you get the information across?  

This activity was also about working as a team and being creative. What’s your favourite part of your design? What would you change? How did you work together? How did you also make sure everyone got to contribute their ideas and have input? Did anyone take over or did you make sure everyone got a chance to speak? 

 Would you like to see it as an app? What would make the activity more fun or how would you do it differently? 

Now, thinking about people who might need extra support in a power cut, where in your community do you think you could identify places to promote the Priority Services Register? Who do you think might need extra support? Apart from an app, how else could you share this information with the local community? 


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Online safety

Supervise young people when they’re online and give them advice about staying safe. Take a look at our online safety or bullying guidance. The NSPCC offers more advice and guidance, too. If you want to know more about specific social networks and games, Childnet has information and safety tips for apps. You can also report anything that’s worried you online to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection CommandAs always, if you’ve got concerns about a young person’s welfare, including their online experiences, follow the Yellow Card to make a report.

To make it easier, think about how much of the community around you want to cover. You could reduce the size of the area covered.  

To make it harder, increase size of the area covered. This may allow people to search and explore any areas for things they don’t know.

Give an example of a local area map along with suggestions as to what they can consider.

Pair or team up where some Scouts may need more support.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Share the young people’s apps with UK Power Networks by tweeting pictures of them @UKPNnews