Why young people have so much to offer

A MILLION HANDS Children taking part in a campaign activity Picture: Jon Challicom
A MILLION HANDS Children taking part in a campaign activity Picture: Jon Challicom

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Daniel Hickin, volunteer district manager for the Scouts, talks about our youth and a new Scouts’ campaign called A Million Hands

YOUNG people sometimes get a bad press.

Whether it’s talk of hoodies, or layabouts playing computer games all day and night, you’ve heard all the stereo-types before.

Well, that’s all set to change. Some new research commissioned by the Scout Association and conducted by ComsRes reveals the huge majority of young people want to get involved in social action and change communities for the better.

The poll of one thousand 12 to 24-year-olds in the UK revealed that 82 per cent of them believe it is important for today’s youth to tackle social issues. That’s fantastic news. But the same research also said that just 36 per cent believe that they have the opportunity to do so.

As volunteer district manager for Portsmouth, I’ve seen the energy, commitment and generosity of young people for myself. They are shining lights in our communities. The fact that these willing volunteers are not being used is a huge shame. Across the UK we may be losing out on over 15.4 million hours of youth volunteering time per month.

In Scouting, we are committed to giving young people the chances they need to support their communities, while developing their skills at the same time. Three quarters (73 per cent) of Scouts in the UK volunteer in their local communities every week.

But there are still not enough opportunities available. That’s why Portsmouth District Scouts have decided to get involved in The Scout Association’s new campaign, A Million Hands.

The aim is to get half a million Scouts to volunteer for some of the UK’s biggest charities, including Mind, Alzheimer’s Society, Water-Aid, Guide Dogs, The Canal & River Trust and Leonard Cheshire Disability.

Together, we’ll be tackling four issues selected by young people themselves: improving the lives of those affected by dementia; improving the lives of those disabled by society; improving the mental wellbeing and resilience of families; and ensuring everyone everywhere has access to clean water and sanitation.

These are great causes and give a new meaning on our promise to help other people.

If you like the sound of this, we’d love to hear from you. Portsmouth District Scouts welcomes both adults and young people (boys and girls) inspired by our work to get involved in Scouting’s life-changing adventure.

Not only will you have a great deal of fun, you’ll change lives too.

Visit amillionhands.org.uk to find out more.