Youth charities Girlguiding and The Scout Association have announced a three-year initiative to tackle waiting lists and extend reach to deprived communities.
The partnership has been made possible by a £2.4m joint investment from the Pears Foundation and the #iwill Fund. The two charities have a target of creating 200 new units and recruiting 3,300 new young members and 768 new volunteers in England, by the end of 2020.
In a joint statement, the two charities said it was a "historic partnership" and that the project aims to “make a difference in their communities through social action, whilst offering the opportunity to learn new skills and have fun”.
The initiative will see “dedicated growth co-ordinators” working in communities across England to “introduce Scouting and Guiding on a sustainable model, sharing learnings and putting young people and volunteers at the very heart of the work”.
The project will also see the first time appointment of a jointly managed strategy and change (collaboration) manager.
The #iwill Fund is financed with joint investment from the Big Lottery Fund, using National Lottery funding, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to support young people to access high quality social action opportunities. Pears Foundation is acting as a match funder and awarding grants on behalf of the #iwill Fund.
Areas where greatest need identified
Girlguiding said it will use the funds to have a significant positive impact on girls in Anglia, the Midlands, North West England, London and South East England, where the greatest need has been identified.
The focus will be on strengthening, retaining and building on existing guiding, in addition to reaching out to new communities, including areas of deprivation and high BAME populations.
Amanda Medler, chief Guide, said: “Guiding and Scouting have given opportunities to generations of young people over the past century. We know the impact that being a member of our organisations can have on young peoples’ confidence, resilience and skills for life.
“But there are still children who don’t currently have access to all the amazing things that the movements can offer. We’re hoping with this partnership, and thanks to the generosity of the Pears #iwill Fund, more girls and young women across England can have their lives changed by guiding.”
The Scout Association aims to expand Scouting in Avon, Leeds and Birmingham areas to provide more opportunities for young people to engage in youth social action, learn key skills for life, utilising part-time staff to open and deliver new provision until it is sustainable to hand over to local volunteer teams.
Tim Kidd, UK chief commissioner of Scouts, said: “I am so excited to be announcing our partnership with Girlguiding as part of this project funded by our amazing supporters. The work we have already undertaken with the Pears Foundation has enabled us to learn loads about opening new provisions in areas of deprivation.
“Having the opportunity to open more sections in diverse communities is something fundamentally important to both Scouting and Guiding. It means more young people from all backgrounds have the opportunity to experience fun, adventure and learn key skills for life.
“What’s more this shows the true power of collaboration. By two of the largest youth organisations in the UK working together, we can achieve much more than apart.”