As the pandemic continues to deepen, we have today announced a decisive plan of action to support young people, stabilise the movement’s finances and safeguard its future.
The measures fall into three areas: reducing staff headcount, selling some of our property and launching a major national fundraising campaign. The plan will provide immediate support to local Scout Groups, keep essential services running and protect the future of our 113 year old movement.
Facing a major cash shortage and reserves that are run down, we’ve made a set of key decisions to reduce the negative impact on young people and prevent passing further costs onto our members. Now more than ever, young people need our support for their wellbeing and future prospects. We provide the skills, and the sense of hope and belonging they so badly need in these incredibly challenging times.
All of our commercial activity, which normally subsidises our services to members, has been severely impacted by the crisis. With face to face meetings suspended for much of the year, income at Scout Store, our commercial business, has dropped significantly. Our Adventure Centres, which provide activities to Scouts, schools and youth groups remain closed. Bookings at our conference businesses are at their lowest ebb. Despite using every means available, including using the Government’s furlough scheme, and announcing an increase to the membership fee, further cost saving measures and ways to increase income are urgently needed.
Scouts is a lifeline for young people. It’s often their only moment of connection and positive social contact during the week. Two thirds of young people have told us that the crisis have negatively impacted their mental health and how they feel about the future. That’s why it’s vital we keep our groups running. While these measures are painful, we’re putting young people and local Scouting at the heart of all our decision making. These are not decisions we’ve taken lightly. However we’re taking this action now to secure a long-term, sustainable future for our movement, to avoid passing on more costs to our members and to support generations to come.
We’re focused on providing immediate support to the 500 Groups most in danger of shutting their doors. We’re inspired every day by the work our brilliant volunteers are doing to help give our young people skills for life. We owe it to them to give them the future they deserve.