UK Scouts record 13th year of growth; longest period of expansion since 1930s

Latest data from the UK Scout Association shows the number of Scouts in the country rose for the 13th year in a row - the longest period of sustained expansion since the 1930s – with Scouting attracting more adult volunteers than ever before.

The Scout Association welcomed 10,699 more youth members over the last year, while the number of adult volunteers increased by 9,371 over the same period, it said. Total membership reached 638,827.

“I am so proud that the Scouts continue to see so many young people and adult volunteers signing up to not only have fun and experience adventures, but also to learn skills for life,” said UK Chief Scout Bear Grylls, expressing his thanks to the adults volunteering in the Movement.

New research shows volunteering has a positive impact on the lives of those who choose to volunteer in the non-profit sector, with 70 percent of volunteers undertaking voluntary work reporting improved life satisfaction and 66 percent greater self-esteem. Volunteering for a non-profit also helped reduce feelings of loneliness and stress, the research found.

“I’m acutely aware of the importance of the millions of volunteers in the UK who give up their time every single day to help others,” said UK Chief Commissioner Tim Kidd. “With the majority of volunteers saying they feel more motivated, confident and more skilled as a result of the work they do with us, it’s not just those they’re helping who benefit.”

However, while the research showed volunteers found increased satisfaction through their unpaid positions, it also revealed two-thirds of respondents found it difficult to balance their commitments to volunteering and work. One third admitted they felt uncomfortable asking their employer for more flexibility to support their voluntary activities.

“We need a national conversation on the ways businesses, big and small, can better develop policies that support flexible working practices for this who volunteer outside of work,” Kidd said. “With known benefits of workers productivity, confidence and the extra skills they are gaining being more flexible clearly benefits employers as well as their staff.”

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