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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

Power cut support

Learn all about the Priority Services Register and how we can help our community in this fast paced, strategic activity.

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You’ll need

  • Scissors
  • A4 paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • Chairs
  • String – preferably in different colours, with 1 colour per group

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 out if you’re short on helpers.
  • Cut your string so that there is enough string for each group to have: a single 5m length string, two 3m length strings and twenty 1m length strings.
  • Use chairs to set up different places around the room. Try to have around 6 chairs at a maximum, depending on the size of your space.
  • One chair is a power station.
  • Label each chair, or place, with who’s there. You may have:
    • power station - To give power to the customers below
    • a mum and her 4-year-old son
    • two pensioners living alone
    • an elderly  man living by himself
    • a mum and dad with their two young children
    • a dad with his teenage son
    • two office workers in their mid-twenties
    • a single woman and her guide dog
    • a 30-year-old woman
    • a granddad and his grandson
    • a pregnant lady and her partner
    • two students
    • a mum and her deaf son
    • a married couple and their cat

Set the Scene

  • Gather everyone together in a circle. Discuss with the group what we’d do without electricity. Take a moment to think about times when this happens.
  • Explain that for most people it is an inconvenience, but for some people a lack of power can cause worries about having access to boiling water and lights to see.
  • Electricity companies therefore run something called the Priority Services Register (PSR).
  • The PSR tells electricity companies who may be the first in need of support in the event of a power outage. It also provides additional services to those on the register such as:
    • A priority number that you can call 24 hours a day,
    • Text and voice message alerts, which let people know there’s a large power cut,
    • Tailored support if needed such as home visits, hot meals, advice, and keeping friends and relatives updated,
    • In certain scenarios, alternative accommodation can be provided.
  • Ask the group who they think may go on the register. Some examples include:
    • People who have reached state pension age
    • People who are disabled or have a long-term medical condition
    • People recovering from an injury
    • People with a hearing or sight condition
    • Those who have a mental health condition
    • People who are pregnant or have young children
    • Those who have extra communication needs, such as if you don’t speak or read English

Play the game

  1. Divide everyone up into equal groups.
  2. Each group should have: a single 5m length string, two 3m length strings and twenty 1m length strings. The strings could be a different colour to represent each team.
  3. Explain that there’s been a large power cut and each team is a power company. They’re responsible for restoring power to this local community.
  4. One at a time, they must grab a wire (string) and start to lay a power line to the houses.
  5. The teams must think carefully about who they would check on first. The person leading the activity may slow up teams not considering the Priority Services Register.
  6. The winner is the first team to restore power to all of the houses.


This activity helps us to think about the more vulnerable people in our society and how, in certain situations, this can be made worse by being unable to keep warm or be able to make hot drinks and cook food.

Why do you think the Priority Services Register is an important thing? Do we know anyone who should be on the register? How can we help our families and community learn about the register and encourage them to sign up?


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.


Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using scissors. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.

Active games

The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed. Take a look at our guidance on running active games safely.

To make it easier, use fewer chairs/homes, and to make it harder, use more chairs/homes.

You could give each a group their own power station and place them at different points around the room, so each group has to travel from a different location.

You could provide other objects, such as bamboo poles, instead of or alongside string. You could also add other obstacles to your ‘town’ to make laying the wires harder.

If people struggle with moving around the meeting place, each team could have a ‘planning’ person role to help direct the team on where to go or what resources to use.

You could also recreate the game on paper and use matchsticks and smaller pieces of string as wires.

Instead of going to lay the string individually, people could work in pairs, so two people go at once from each group to put the string in place

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.