Rise in youngsters joining the Scouts

Train evacuated between Havant and Haslemere

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MEMBERSHIP of Hampshire Scouting grew by three per cent last year – its highest peak since 1999.

A total of 20,426 youngsters were signed up to the group last year thanks to a rise in teenagers, girls and adults signing up.

Explorer Scouting – 14-18 year olds – grew by five per cent and female membership increased by nine per cent.

There was a five per cent increase in adult volunteers with new groups opening up across the county.

The organisation last year recruited its first full-time development officer to support the growth of scouting in the area.

Vanessa Slawson, county development officer for Hampshire Scouting, said: ‘New adult volunteers are the key to giving the young people on our waiting lists the opportunity to enjoy Scouting.

‘In the past year, we’ve opened new sections in villages, inner cities, and schools – supported by parents, former youth members and people of good will from local communities.’

Explorer Scout Rob Vine, 16, from Gosport, added: ‘Scouting has given me the opportunity to take part in many adventurous activities including camping, zorbing and white water rafting. I am now enjoying giving back to Scouting by helping younger Scouts.’