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The Mercer's Company Charity

Supporting our work in the Early Years

Research shows that many of our key skills and attitudes are formed in the early years of life.

Already, Scouts around the world are exploring how they can work with children at a younger age.

We believe that the earlier a child accesses non-formal education, the more positive the impact on their future development. With the support of the Mercers’ Company as trustee of the Charity of Sir Richard Whittington, we’re beginning to test new models of delivering Scouts to disadvantaged 4 and 5 year olds.

The funding will support a 3-year project to deliver 20 pilots across Greater London. We’ll test different approaches in reaching this new age group, particularly focused on areas of deprivation.

Continuing the work we began with the Department of Education in November 2018, we’ll also test new ways of recruiting more volunteers from different backgrounds. In the USA, 61% of members are from families new to Scouts and 75% of new parents from their early years programme went on to become volunteers. We're hoping to see positive results here in the UK, too.

Please note: Scout Groups do not have permission to start early years provision outside of these pilots. Unofficial provision is against our rules, could affect the results of the pilots and is not insured. The existing Squirrels programme, run under a Memorandum of Understanding with Scouts NI is not affected by the pilot schemes in Greater London.

About The Mercers' Company Charity

The Mercers’ Company is a livery company focused on being a force for good.. The Company is the trustee of a number of charities including the Charity of Sir Richard Whittington. Sir Richard Whittington (better known as Dick Whittington) was a member of the Company and was Lord Mayor of London four times. His charity was created under his will and the Mercers’ Company was entrusted with it on his death in 1424. The Mercers’ Company and the charities of which it is trustee run three major grant programmes, through which they support around 180 charities each year. The programmes are for: Young People & Education, Older People & Housing, and Church & Communities. The collective aim of the programmes is to relieve disadvantage and create positive change across generations, giving those they help the chance to live a fulfilling life now and in the future.

It was another member of the Mercers’ Company, Robert Baden-Powell, who founded the Scouts movement in 1907.

The Company is delighted to support Squirrels through its Early Years special initiative.

Interested in supporting Scouts?

Contact the Trusts team to learn more about our partnerships with trusts and foundations, and to explore how your trust could support our work. We'd be delighted to hear from you.