Volunteering benefits are clear for Scouts helpers

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The Scouts has reported an increase in volunteers, however those who take part said they can find it difficult to balance commitments with work

9th May 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

The Scouts has reported another increase in volunteers – however many find it difficult to balance helping out with their working lives.

Scouts Scotland has recorded its 12th straight year of growth, including a 6.6% increase in volunteers.

Following a call out for more adult volunteers in 2017, over 500 signed up in the last 12 months, swelling scouting’s volunteer ranks to their largest in the movement’s history.

The growth 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.

However nearly two in three (62%) volunteers said they found it difficult to balance volunteering and work commitments and nearly one in three (32%) full-time workers said they aren’t comfortable asking their employer for more flexibility to support their volunteering activity.

The annual 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%).

Chief commissioner of the Scouts, Graham Haddock, said the benefits of volunteering are clear in the research.

He said: “Week in-week out scouts are making a difference in their communities through charity work and community-based projects. 

“This can be anything from clearing the streets of snow earlier in the year, to hosting film screenings for those living with dementia – each action brings a positive benefit to the young person and their home.”

Frances Strachan, a volunteer leader from Dundee, said her experiences had benefitted her career.

She said: “I get the same sense of achievement now as a volunteer that I used to get as a young person in scouting. Passing on my skills and knowledge to young people – all the while continuing to learn in my new role, gives me so much confidence when facing a challenge.

“My scouting experience has come up in every interview I've had with a new employer; when you’re leading young people or organising adventurous activities for them to participate in it's a fantastic opportunity to gain invaluable social, communication and teamwork skills that help you thrive in the workplace.”