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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

Team Members and helpers

Understanding what helpers do and when they should join our teams.

Helpers in our new volunteering approach 

In our new approach to volunteering, we'll continue to have helpers who’ll give informal support to help deliver Scouts, in line with our current POR. 

However, as we’re making volunteering easier and more fun, now might be a great time to encourage some of our existing helpers to join our teams.  

Although helping out is a great way of trying Scouts, we’re always looking for more volunteers to join our teams. This’ll mean they can get the benefits of being a Team Member, and we can support even more young people to gain skills for life. 

Understanding the differences between Team Members and helpers 

Who are Team Members? 

Team Members are volunteers who plan, deliver, and support an amazing programme for young people.  

They can volunteer flexibly. Some may give their time every week, while others may give as much or as little time as they want. 

Depending on their skills and interests Team Members might be:

  • Working directly with young people in Section Teams.
  • Leading others to work well together and feel motivated in Leadership Teams.
  • Supporting our volunteers and programmes in Volunteering Development Teams, Programme Teams, or Support Teams.
  • Making sure Scouts is managed well in Trustee Boards.
  • Helping make Scouts an inclusive and welcoming place that's open to all. This may involve supporting specific young people in a Designated Carer role (most commonly a parent, foster carer, legal guardian or a care professional who provides care for a young person in their day-to-day life), or by taking on a Nominated Person accreditation (this allows a volunteer who has appropriate professional training or experience to carry out intimate or personal care for young people).

Our Team Descriptions have more detail about what our teams of volunteers do.

To become a Team Member, a volunteer completes the necessary steps in the volunteer joining journey to make sure Scouts is right for them, and they’re right for Scouts.

This’ll include a warm welcome from our existing volunteers and access to brilliant learning and support. 

There are lots of benefits to being a Team Member, including: 

  • Helping young people gain skills for life.
  • Having easy, fun, and accessible learning opportunities, so they can gain knowledge on how to volunteer with young people and adults in a safe and inclusive way, develop skills through volunteering, and grow in confidence. 
  • Volunteering as part of a team and sharing tasks based on skills, interests and availability. This may include taking on specific tasks through accreditations.
  • Enjoying the benefits for members of Scouts, including greater personal insurance protection and communications about upcoming opportunities. 

Our new approach will make volunteering with Scouts as part of a team easier and more fun, so that we can attract more volunteers and our current volunteers want to stay. So there’s never been a better time to encourage our helpers to join a team than now.


Who are helpers?

Some people provide informal support to help deliver Scouts.

Many of our helpers don’t need to be recorded on as they aren't undertaking regulated activity, and therefore they don’t need a criminal record check or internal check.

The maximum they can volunteer is three times in any thirty-day period.

Helpers aren't members of our Sections or wider teams.

They’ll always be supervised by Team Members or Team Leaders.

They can:

  • Be put on an adult rota. This could be any adult, parent or caregiver.
  • Run an activity with a group of young people under supervision of a member of the Section Team.
  • Attend a session or event, walk young people down the road as part of a group, or prepare squash and biscuits to keep young people energised. 
  • Be a valued extra pair of hands, eyes and ears to help run Scouts. 

They can’t:

  • Attend overnight events.


Non Member - Needs Disclosure

Some people who help deliver Scouts will need a criminal record check and an internal check, as their support involves regulated activity. In order to get these checks, they'll be registered on as ‘Non Member – Needs Disclosure’.

We’ve previously called them ‘Occasional Helper’ (in England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or ‘PVG Only’ (in Scotland).

Since they’ve had the right checks, they can volunteer unsupervised with young people, and they can help out once a week (or on four occasions in a thirty-day period) or more frequently. However, they won’t have access to personal data about young people or adults.  

They can:

  • Attend a camp  
  • Support a section occasionally without needing supervision (being the only adult with a group of young people).  

As they don't get membership status with Scouts, they won’t get the usual benefits our members receive, such as personal accident insurance.

Their time with us also won’t count as volunteering time towards ‘length of service’ awards.


Join our teams

If you think a helper might be a great fit to join our teams:

  • Have a conversation with them.
  • Tell them about all the benefits of being a Team Member.
  • Remind them they’ll still be able to volunteer flexibly and in a way that suits them. 

How we'll support each other

What we expect from our helpers

Anyone helping out at Scouts must read, understand and commit to following the Yellow Card. This is our code of practice for all adults in Scouts, where we commit to making the safety of young people our priority.  

Sticking to the rules outlined in POR is really important. It’s key for everyone to understand who can and can’t have unsupervised access to young people, and how often they can volunteer.  

Following Our Volunteering Culture will guide helpers on what we do and say, how we support each other, following our values and being at our best. 

What helpers can expect from us 

Team Leaders and Team Members should make sure any helper knows who their main point of contact is. 

They should make sure all helpers have read and understood the Yellow Card, given them basic health and safety information, and told them about basic safeguarding procedures, including who to report safeguarding concerns to.

They should also brief the helper to make sure they know what they can do to help (and what they can’t).