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Waiting list to join Scouts hits 35,000 as abuse hysteria is blamed for shortage of leaders

3 May 2016 3,115 views One Comment

Laura Lambert For The Daily Mail

Chief Scout Bear Grylls said 35,000 children unable to join the organisation
Campaign groups said adults are being put off by ‘incredible bureaucracy’
Endless forms and child abuse scandals deterring adults from helping

Waiting lists to join the Scouts are soaring because of hysteria over child abuse, it has been claimed. Chief Scout Bear Grylls said 35,000 children are unable to join the organisation because of a dearth of volunteers.
Campaign groups said adults are being put off by ‘incredible bureaucracy’ regarding child protection, and that volunteers have resigned over the issue.
She said: ‘There is an incredible level of bureaucracy to do with child protection, and we’ve heard from parents who have been given DBS forms when their children are registering, before they’ve done anything.
‘Child protection is about common sense not about filling in forms.
‘It must put off people and I know of volunteers who have resigned over the degree of bureaucracy, particularly repeat checks.’
Figures from the Home Office appear to support Miss Appleton’s view, as there are now around 50,000 applications for DBS checks on volunteers each year, compared to around 8,000 in 2002.
Margaret Morrissey, of campaign group Parentsoutloud.com, said child protection regulations risked going ‘overboard’ and suggested parents are too busy to volunteer.
‘Child protection is of the utmost importance but we do tend to go way overboard in this country,’ she said. ‘The volunteers wanting to sign up get the finger pointed at them, which is dreadful.’
More than half a million young people, ranging in age from six to 25, are part of the Scouts in the UK, and an increasing number of girls are signing up.
Grylls put this shift down to the fact that being adventurous is ‘not gender-specific’, and added that he encourages ‘dangerous’ activities within the Scouts.
Speaking at the launch of his live arena tour, Endeavour, which begins in October, he said: ‘We’ve got more girls signing up to the Scouts than ever before because being adventurous isn’t gender-specific.
‘You don’t empower kids if you don’t expose them to any danger. You empower kids by teaching them to manage risk safely.’
The Scout Association described its own waiting list as a ‘scandal’, but said that it needs around 6,500 more volunteers to solve the problem.
A spokesman said: ‘Young people of both genders definitely want adventure, because society is closing down their options and putting them in cotton wool.
‘But it is a real scandal that 35,000 young people aren’t getting those skills in life. If we had 6,500 or 7,000 adults signing up as volunteers we could wipe that waiting list out overnight.’

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One Comment »

  • Whitstable Local Native said:

    Really loved this post, my friend Margart and I were talking about this topic only last month.

    Just forwarded it via Facebook!

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