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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

UK Headquarters membership fee

The UK Headquarters membership fee is calculated based on the number of Beaver Scouts, Cub Scouts, Scouts and Explorer Scouts. Please note that there are different arrangements in place to set fees in the Nations, and as such, the Nations' Boards are responsible for setting the fees in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Adult volunteers and Network members do not pay a UKHQ membership fee. This means that:

  • no matter how big or small their time commitment, removing the adult UKHQ membership fee increases the incentives for more people to volunteer
  • no adult member should have to personally pay for volunteer membership
  • all volunteers can now be encouraged into membership roles to benefit from access to training, insurance, awards and direct communications
  • local administration is eased by removing discussion around who pays for an adult volunteer if they hold multiple roles, particularly if a member is between 18-25 and is a member of Scout Network and an adult volunteer.
  • local Scouting can now manage their membership fees in the same way across the UK. Research shows 86% of Scout adult volunteers already have their membership fee paid by local Scouting via young people’s subscriptions or fundraising

The membership fee process

The census of all adult and youth members takes place in January using the same online system that has been used for over a decade. The fees payable will be calculated on only the number of young people in each Scout County/Area/Region (Scotland).

The 2024 UKHQ membership fee for all members under 18 will be £38.00 (£37.50 for prompt payment by 23 April 2024).

Counties/Areas/Regions can continue to choose the best method to fund payment of the UKHQ membership fee and how to collect this from their Districts. In turn, Districts can continue to choose the best method to fund payments to County/Area/Regions (which will also cover the UKHQ membership fee) and how these are collected from their Groups. Existing processes can continue for young people to pay a weekly/termly/annual subscription.

Read in detail the summary of the research conducted with members and the decision to make changes to membership fee paying process.

About the membership fee 

The UK Headquarters membership fee is paid annually to the UK Headquarters to contribute to the costs of supporting Scouting UK-wide. All members have paid an annual fee to UK Headquarters every year since 1964.

County/Area/Region Counties/Areas/Regions (Scotland)/ Districts/Groups will continue to make decisions on how they want to collect and pay their membership fees. Most youth members make donations to their Scout Groups and Districts to attend Scouting activities and events and the amount is calculated from the cost of running Scouting locally, inclusive of the UKHQ membership fee for the adults involved. Many will not require a change to their membership fee process if they already operate in this way.

In some areas, local Scouting operates a strong fundraising programme to help raise money to cover the costs of running Scouting and all membership fees in order to charge their young people as little as possible. This will continue to be an option.

In some areas there may still be adult volunteers who will continue to make a donation to their local Groups or District. Gift Aid, ensures that for every £1 you receive, you can claim an extra 25p from HMRC. This includes any donations received in the last four years and any future donations received, helping donations to go further. Further guidance around Gift Aid is available online.

We also have guidance on grants and funds for your local group.

View a detailed breakdown of what the HQ membership fee pays for.

Please note that the National offices in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the Islands receive or retain a proportion of the UK HQ membership fee so they can deliver specific services to members in those Countries. Some guidance and development support is best delivered by the Country Headquarters (e.g. where local knowledge is required or where guidance is affected by the differences in law between the Countries).

All fees are paid by local Scouting managers to the Scouts UK Headquarters by 23 April every year.  The fees may be collected from the individual members locally at different times throughout the year to break up payments and meet local deadlines for payment.

Approximately one third of the Scouts’s income comes from the membership fee. The other sources of funds required to meet the costs of the national headquarters of the charity come from fundraising activities such as donations and legacies and all the profits generated by Scout Store, Scout Adventures and Scout insurance providers Unity by selling their products and services.

The Trustees of The Scout Association have been working to a strategy for the last 10 years to reduce the reliance on membership fees while still being able to increase services for members by diversifying the sources of income.


If you are a Group, District or County/Area/Region that needs to increase your income take a look at the guidance on local fundraising.

Read the fundraising guidance

Member research

The decision to make changes to the membership fee paying process was informed by research which started with members in 2011.

Read about the research in more detail