In Scouting, we are committed to giving young people the chances
they need to support their communities, while developing their
skills at the same time. Three quarters (73%) of Scouts in the UK
volunteer in their local communities every week. But there are
still not enough opportunities available. That's why in Avon
County, over 2964 Scouts have decided to get involved in The Scout
Association's new campaign, A Million Hands.
Twas a cold winter nights when 11 Scouts aged between 10 ½ and 14
years of age, decided to make a difference to those less fortunate
in Bristol by raising awareness of homeless in and around Bristol.
Five girls and six boys from Polar Bear Troop, 227th Bristol Scout
Group, Henleaze (Lily-May; Barnaby; Isabel; Jonathan; Katie;
Laurie; James; Amy; Erin; Joseph and Richard) had previously
invited a representative from the Wild Goose Café run by the Crisis
Centre in Stapleton Road, Bristol to their Group HQ in order to
find out how the Centre work and who they help.
With their new found knowledge, the Scouts approached Waitrose
Supermarket in Westbury Park, and Tesco's at Golden Hill and asked
permission to raise awareness with the public by not only
collecting food donations for the Centre, but also by the Scouts
actively sharing their experience further by "sleeping rough" in
the car parks. The only items that the Scouts had were cardboard
(supplied by the supermarkets), their sleeping bag and a mug of hot
soup. On both Saturday and Sunday mornings, after being away for
the night, the scouts were lucky in that they were able to go
'home' the next morning to a hot shower, cooked breakfast and a
snooze in front of the telly before repeating the experience.
During their weekend of raising awareness, the Scouts collected
over £754 in food and more than £1,216 in donations. Both the food
and the financial donations were presented to the Crisis Centre, a
Bristol Charity based at the Bluebell Café. Our thanks are noted
for both Waitrose and Tesco's and the Duty Managers that weekend
for their community support and help.
When asked about what it was they liked about Scouting and this
particular event, the Scouts told me "fundraising for a worthwhile
charity, and being with my friends" (Amy); "canoeing and kayaking"
(Richard); going on camp (Erin and Lily-May); and "cooking and
survival Skills" (Laurie and James).
Dian Milsted, an adult volunteer working with the Troop said "I
am really enjoy working with the this age group, they really want
to make a difference" and Kay Shuttleworth, Scout Leader and adult
volunteer at the Group said "I'm so proud of Scouts who gave up
their time to help people they don't even know, their actions will
make a difference to so many people in Bristol".