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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

Squirrels supporters

Introducing our Squirrels supporters.

Interest in supporting Squirrels?

We’ve had lots of help designing, piloting, and scaling our new early years section, Squirrels. You can find out who’s been part of the team below.

We have big ambitions to bring non-formal, early years education to the communities and families who could benefit the most. By 2023 we want to:

  • have reached 12,000 families
  • with at least 30% coming from communities in the bottom third of the country in terms of income
  • and at least 10% coming families from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background
  • with momentum to reach 130,000 families by 2033.

To do that, we need another £600k and partners who can help us reach potential volunteers in our target communities.

If you’re a funder, policymaker or youth organisation and can help us bring non-formal education to the communities that will benefit the most, please get in touch.

Get in touch with us today

The Mercers’ Company

Between 2019 and 2022, The Mercers’ Company is providing funding for 20 early years pilots to open across London in the 30% most deprived areas. They provided funding for two members of the team and a start-up grant for each section, and their funding also enabled us to produce a range of resources and age specific training to support the volunteers running the pilots.

The Mercers' Company Charity

The Peter Cruddas Foundation

Having been a Scout himself, Lord Cruddas knows the value Scouting has for young people. Between 2021 and 2022, The Peter Cruddas Foundation has very generously donated £200k to our early years work. This was matched by the #iwill Fund, meaning £400k is going towards reaching 12,000 families.
The Peter Cruddas Foundation

Bear Grylls Ventures

Our very own Chief Scout offered £10k of his own money to help us deliver early years activities. This was matched by the #iwill Fund, meaning £20k in total.

Check out the Bear Grylls website


Because of the match funding provided by the #iWill Fund, any donation has a huge impact. A kind donor who wished to remain anonymous has given £2,500 which will be matched by the #iwill Fund, resulting in £5k. The donor also asked that we work hard to support early years provision in Wales in particular, which we are more than happy to do.


With thanks to our Anonymous donation of £50,000 which will be matched by the #Iwill Fund, bringing a total of £100,000 towards Early Years.

The Department for Education

Between 2018 and 2020, the Department for Education, through its Early Years Disadvantaged Voluntary Community Sector (VCS) Grant programme, provided £787K to pilot early years Scouts in disadvantaged areas. Their help meant 30 pilots in disadvantaged areas reached 400 families; it also allowed us to test and learn from different models and programme ideas.


Department for Education

Garfield Weston Foundation

In 2021, Garfield Weston supported our work with a £100k grant. This allowed us to start Squirrels in areas with lower income. The grant was matched by the #iwill Fund, meaning £200k in total went towards reaching families with early years Scouts.

Learn more about the foundation

The Schroder Foundation

In 2021 The Schroder Foundation generously donated £50k to support the development of the programme. This was matched by the #iwill fund, providing £100k in total.

Northern Ireland Squirrel Association

Perhaps the biggest heroes of our story, the Northern Ireland Squirrel Association have been trailblazing non-formal, early years education for over 25 years. Their insight and expertise has shaped our work and we’ll welcome them as part of our Scouts family later in the year.


Check out Scouts Northern Ireland

Centre for Research into Early Childhood

During our pilots and supporting our work with the Mercers’ Company in London, the Centre of Research into Early Childhood evaluated our work and helped us to test, learn, and iterate as we go.

CREC website

The #iwill Fund powered by the National Lottery Community Fund and Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

Between 2021 and 2023, the #iwill Fund is offering £1.2m to bring Community Impact to over 12,000 young people, if we can find match funders for the same amount. This investment has transformed our ambitions, and we’ve raised £600k, but we still need to raise another £600k.

#iwill Fund

The Jack Petchey Foundation

A long-time supporter of Scouts and young people, the Jack Petchey Foundation have provided £50k towards supporting 14-17 year olds to take a leading role in delivering our early years work as Young Leaders. This was matched by the #iwill Fund, meaning £100k in total.

The Jack Petchey Foundation


Mike generously offered £50k, allowing us to develop even better resources for community volunteers starting up Squirrels. This was matched by the #iwill Fund, meaning £100k towards our project.

Action for Children

It’s not just funding that will help us reach over 12,000 families. Action for Children helped design our programme and test it in their early years centres.

Learn more about Action for children

Peter Brown

Peter Brown has championed youth and the vulnerable throughout his lifetime. Now, as a supporter of Scouts, his generous donation of £25k to Early Years will mean a total of £50k when matched by the #iwill Fund. 


PlusNet, donated £13k towards our early years work. This will be matched by the #iwill Fund, so represents an investment of £26k.