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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

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News | 24 May 2024

Welcoming our New Chief Volunteer of Northern Ireland, Stephen Bell

Sam Morris, Chief Volunteering Officer

Following a successful search process across Northern Ireland, UK Chief Volunteer Carl Hankinson is delighted to announce the appointment of Stephen Bell as the new Chief Volunteer of Northern Ireland.

Stephen Bell stood outside with a green scout scarf around his neck
Stephen Bell, Chief Volunteer of Northern Ireland (designate)

We welcome Stephen to our UK Leadership Team as he takes up this important leadership role for UK Scouts and Scouts NI. As Chief Volunteer, Stephen will provide leadership and support to our Northern Ireland Team, comprised of our County and District Lead Volunteers and wider Northern Ireland support team, working in partnership with Scouts NI HQ staff colleagues and Trustees to ensure that our 7 Northern Irish Counties are well led and empowered to deliver our Skills For Life Strategy, and in particular as we transition the Districts to our four new Northern Ireland Regions. Read more about Scouts in Northern Ireland here.

Five members of the Scout NI Team standing outside together with scout scarfs round their necks
Stephen Bell, Chief Volunteer of Northern Ireland (designate) pictured (from left to right) with Jonathan Gracey, Chief Executive of Scouts NI, Kayleigh Finlay, Northern Ireland Youth Lead, Stephen Donaldson, outgoing Chief Volunteer of Northern Ireland and Henry Brown, Chair of Scouts NI

Stephen will spend the next few months working with Stephen Donaldson, Kayleigh Finlay (NI Youth Lead), Henry Brown (Chair of Scouts NI) and Jonathan Gracey (Chief Executive of of Scouts NI) preparing to take on the role and completing various induction and transitionary activities ahead of a formal handover with Stephen Donaldson at the Scouts NI AGM on 25 September.

Stephen’s Scouts journey

Stephen has been involved as a volunteer in Scouts for over 12 years. He has held a variety of roles, most recently Chair of Northern Ireland’s Strategy & Delivery Committee and District Lead Volunteer of South East Antrim, whilst holding various roles behind the scenes championing youth-led Scouting.

Stephen has had various sectional roles across Cubs, Scouts, Explorer Scouts and Scout Network, which have given him an understanding of the hard work and dedication it takes to run Scouts locally. Above all, he is a local Scout and Explorer Scout Leader in 1st Cloughfern and enjoys getting outdoors and seeing young people maximise their opportunities on a weekly basis.

Throughout his Scouting journey he has achieved the Queen’s Scout Award and successfully took part in an Explorer Belt expedition to the Netherlands. Through obtaining these awards Stephen has become an advocate for engagement, top awards and international experiences.

Outside of Scouts

In his professional life, Stephen is the Head of Operations of a Scientific Research Organisation, based in Northern Ireland.


“Scouting has a life changing impact on young people, adult volunteers and the wider community. This passion for who we are and what we do, drives me as a volunteer every day. I am humbled and excited by the opportunity to lead Northern Ireland into its next chapter of growth and development and look forward to the challenge ahead.”

Stephen Bell, Chief Volunteer of Northern Ireland (designate)

“I’m delighted to welcome Stephen Bell to our UK Leadership Team as Chief Volunteer of Northern Ireland, building on Stephen Donaldson’s achievements over the past eight years. Stephen Bell’s experience chairing the NI Strategy & Delivery Committee and his passion for leading successful teams give me great confidence in what Scouting in Northern Ireland can achieve in the future”

Carl Hankinson, UK Chief Volunteer

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