Lack Of Volunteers Means Thousands Of Youngsters Must Wait To Join Scouts

Tens of thousands of young people are being forced to wait to join the Scouts, due to a lack of volunteers.

Record numbers of people are signing up to help out, but many have a limited amount of time to give, according to the Scout Association.

In total, 154,000 adults now volunteer for the organisation, more than at any other point in its history, according to the latest annual membership figures.

This includes youth workers, charity trustees and instructors.

More young people are getting involved, with 7,000 joining the Scouts in the 21 months up to the end of January.

But the waiting list has also grown, with 51,000 youngsters on standby for a place - the highest figure in Scouting's history.

In Scotland, more than 3,000 young people are on a waiting list.

Tim Kidd, UK chief commissioner at the Scout Association, said: ''Our adult volunteers today seek much more flexible volunteering arrangements than in the past, so that they can fit it around their busy lives.

''Many adults who are signing up with the Scouts have a limited amount of time to donate to us, and so we need more volunteers as a whole in order to accommodate the continued demand for Scouting among young people.''

He urged people to volunteer for the Scouts, adding that the organisation is making it easier for those with limited time to join by being flexible about a range of roles, including group leaders, administrative and trustee positions.

Overall, there are 457,000 young people involved in the Scouts across the UK. Once adult volunteers are included, the membership is 618,000, up 7.8%.

Chief Scout Bear Grylls said: ''Our challenge is to keep recruiting even more adults as we've got 51,000 young people wanting to join and benefit from what Scouting offers.

''Volunteering changes us all for the better. Please join me.''

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