England

Scouts volunteer shortage sees children miss out

  • 2 June 2011
  • From the section England
Scouts at Testwood Lakes
Image caption The organisation is looking for 2,000 volunteers across the south

Children are unable to join scout groups across the south of England because of a shortage of adult volunteers, figures have revealed.

There are more than 6,500 youngsters waiting up to two years to join a group, with the association saying it needed to recruit nearly 2,000 helpers.

Volunteering England said people were finding it tough to give up their time for free due to the economic climate.

The Scouts hope to increase numbers during this week's volunteers' week.

The Scout Association is a co-educational youth movement which provides weekly activities for children from six years old.

The organisation was started by Robert Baden-Powell on Brownsea Island, Dorset more than a century ago. It has over 28 million members worldwide.

Hampshire has the highest number of young people waiting to be placed with 1,770 children wanting to join with 500 new adult volunteers needed to fill the shortfall.

Vanessa Slawson, from Hampshire Scouts, said: "What we want to get across is that it's not a big commitment. What you can give we're happy to work with.

"If we can work with adults to create new sections and groups, we can solve the problem of the waiting lists and give everybody this fantastic opportunity of becoming a scout."

Mike Locke, from Volunteering England, said: "One issue is that people have got busy working lives and economic pressures.

"The amount of bureaucracy and red tape that people see also puts them off, people resent the criminal records bureau checks - the way in which the system has worked over the years has built up some resistance."

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