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Surge in Scouting popularity sees 100-strong waiting list for Hornchurch district

PUBLISHED: 15:00 15 April 2017

Cub Scouts taking part in workshops

Cub Scouts taking part in workshops

Archant

The world was a very different place in 1908, with royals ruling vast territories, women campaigning for the vote and the devastating First World War six years away.

A Cub Scout enjoying outdoor activitiesA Cub Scout enjoying outdoor activities

Yet a youth movement founded in that year has survived vast changes in lifestyles and technology over the decades, and is more popular than ever.

The Scouts, formed by Lord Robert Baden-Powell, has a huge waiting list of 50,000 plus across the UK, and in the Hornchurch district, more than 100 children are eagerly waiting to join.

The area also has 255 volunteers, the highest figure in its history, and their involvement is crucial to Scouting’s continued success.

George Wilkins, 16, an Explorer Scout from Rainham, paid tribute to their hard work: “My Scout leaders are heroes! Every week they provide me with new skills that help me develop as an individual and help me to create a better society.

Chief Scout Bear Grylls (second from left) with other members of the movement. Picture: Stephen D WayChief Scout Bear Grylls (second from left) with other members of the movement. Picture: Stephen D Way

“I’ve recently been working on my Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and helping as a young leader with a Cub pack. None of this would be possible without the amazing support of volunteers in Scouting.”

In the 12 months leading up to January 31, 80 young people signed up to Hornchurch district, which covers Hornchurch, Rainham, Cranham, Upminster and Elm Park, with 1,284 in total now involved.

Chief Scout Bear Grylls and rowing champion Helen Glover, a Scouting ambassador, have helped to drive interest across the country, as has the Duchess of Cambridge, who is a volunteer with the movement.

“I’m calling on adults who want to make a difference to the lives of young people in their communities to give Scouting a go,” said local leader Debbie Carter.

Youngsters marking 2016's centenary of the Cub ScoutsYoungsters marking 2016's centenary of the Cub Scouts

“We know that not having enough time is the main barrier to volunteering among adults, which is why we want to make it easier by offering flexibility in a range of roles, from Scout group leaders to administrative and trustee positions.”

To find out more, visit scouts.org.uk/join.

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