Solihull Scouts have recorded another year of growth, including a 5% increase in volunteers, according to the latest annual membership figures released today.
Following a call out for more adult volunteers in 2017, 42 signed up in the last 12 months. These new adults have supported the growth of 102 new youth members, with a total of 800 adults and 2325 young people enjoying adventure and learning valuable skills for life.
The strong volunteer growth also coincides with new research conducted by The Scout Association, highlighting the overwhelmingly positive impact volunteering has on the lives and mental well-being of those who volunteer.
The research showed that the majority of volunteers reported having improved life satisfaction (70%) and self-esteem (66%) since beginning volunteer work, as well as having reduced feelings of loneliness (42%) and stress (33%).
Nearly two thirds (65%) of volunteers also stated that since beginning volunteer work they have developed useful work skills; with 59% saying they feel more confident and 54% feeling more motivated in their jobs.
Despite the correlation between volunteering, improved workplace performance, and employee wellbeing; the survey also raised concerns.
Nearly 2 in 3 (62%) volunteers said they found it difficult to balance volunteering and work commitments and nearly 1 in 3 (32%) full-time workers said they aren’t comfortable asking their employer for more flexibility to support their volunteering activity
Simon, Lead Growth Volunteer for Solihull, said:
“It is great to see such strong growth for Scouting in Solihull, both in youth members and volunteers is a huge achievement.
“Much of this is down to our amazing volunteers. As one of the UK’s leading youth charities, we’re acutely aware of the importance of all the volunteers in Solihull who give up their time every single day to help others. With the majority of volunteers saying they feel more motivated, confident and more skilled as a result of the work they do with us, it’s not just those they’re helping who benefit.
“However, the fact that a third of full-time workers are not comfortable asking for more flexibility and understanding from their employer to enable them to volunteer, is concerning and shows that we need a national conversation on the ways businesses, big and small, can better develop policies that support flexible working practices for those who volunteer outside of work.
“With known benefits to workers productivity, confidence and the extra skills they are gaining – being more flexible clearly benefits employers as well as their staff.”
Jay Thompson an Explorer Scout Leader and mental health nurse aged 25 said:
“I started volunteering with Scouting a few years back, and it is one of the best decisions I ever made. More than anything I love seeing how the Explorer Scouts I work with have developed over the time I have been with them, as have I. The best part about volunteering for me is seeing the pride and sense of achievement on their faces when they reach a new goal – whether that is making it to the top of the climbing wall, or building a website for the first time.
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout, said:
“I am so proud that The Scout Association UK continues to see so many young people and adult volunteers signing up to not only have fun, experience adventures but also learn skills for life. And that applies to both the young people and volunteers! Even though we have had record numbers of adults joining the Movement we still have 57,000 young people who want to join and gain new skills but are unable to do so. If you want to make a difference in the lives of young people, feel more motivated and confident and learn some new skills then please give Scouting a go.”