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Record growth for Scouts in Durham

9 May 2018

Durham Scouts (covering Durham County and the Unitary Authorities of Darlington, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland) 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, 95 signed up in the last 12 months. These new adults have supported the growth of 34 new youth members, with a total of 2,198 adults and 6,012 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 wellbeing 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

David Stokes, County Commissioner, said “It is great to see continued growth for Scouting in Durham, both in youth members and volunteers."

"Much of this is down to our amazing volunteers and it’s good to see adult volunteer numbers start to catch up with the growth in our youth numbers. There are still more young people – especially girls and young women – who want to join us, and we continue to need more adult volunteers as we look to open new provision in some of the most disadvantaged areas in Durham."

“As one of the Region’s leading youth charities, we’re acutely aware of the importance of all the volunteers in Durham 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 national and local businesses 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.”

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