The Scout Association want to mobilise half a million Scouts in support of four social issues chosen by their young people.
From dementia to those disabled by society, from improving the mental well being and resilience of our communities to ensuring everyone, everywhere has access to clean water and sanitation.
What’s that got to do with canals and rivers though? Good question, let’s go back to the start. Just over a year ago the Scout Association put out a call for organisations to work with them. This seemed like a good opportunity to work with young people from across the country. Young people that are already interested in social issues and enjoy being outside.
So, fast forward a few months and we were selected out of a dozens of national charities to work on the partnership alongside Leonard Cheshire, Alzheimer’s Society, Guide Dogs, Mind & Wateraid. A million hands was born and officially launched in Autumn 2015.
The project will see Scout Association members, so that’s all ages from Beavers and Cubs up to Explorers and Network discovering more about the main issues by working with one of the partners. Groups can then chose to ‘take action’ and that’s where we come in.
Scouts will work with us to develop ‘pocket adoptions’ on sections of waterway themed around the issue they are tackling, that could be improving access for people with physical disabilities or creating a quiet zone away from the bustle helping people maintain good mental resilience. It could also be about hosting visits to the waterway or creating ways to celebrate the waterways.
We hope that pocket adoptions with Scouts and the other five partners will have a massive impact on the waterway, the Scouts themselves and most importantly the local community.
Its early days in the project and we have a few groups developing ideas, I plan to keep you posted on a regular basis, hopefully letting the young people themselves tell you more about the projects in the future.
Lucy Bowles-Lewis has worked for the Trust for 10 years in various engagement and volunteering roles. She has recently become the project manager for A Million Hands, an exciting new project where Scout groups will be given the opportunity to take social action by adopting a section of canal or river.See more blogs from this author