Houghton-le-Spring is a small district supporting six scout groups in the Houghton and Washington area of the City of Sunderland. The district has enjoyed success in recruiting adults during 2009 and 2010. By focusing our resources and efforts on finding, inducting and supporting adults, we have successfully turned 23 expressions of adults into 17 new adults in role. This success includes, through the review process,  reinvigorating 4 adults into newer and more challenging roles. We showed an increase in adult numbers of around 9% at Census in 2010. In 2010, Groups returned a 15 year high of some 472 youth members, an increase of around 20%. This growth continued into 2012, recording record membership of 667. In April 2011 our Regional Development Officer began her work....

Top Tips

1. Be clear what you actually want. The Scout Association's six-step approach actually works. 

2. Use, the national volunteering website.
  • Write your entries in a positive, job advert style. Example
  • Visit the site at least monthly and update it.
  • Always, always follow up contacts immediately and in person.
  • Backup the call with an email. Example
  • Get a login from Ben Storrar at Scout HQ. 
3. Use every opportunity to share the job vacancy fundraisers, christmas cards, parents' bulletins, newsletters etc.

4. Plan induction slots in your diary in advance...choose a night when you can visit a number of sections in your district. Don't shy away from Groups where there is work to do....some people love the challenge. Choose an enthusiastic leader to accompany the person doing the induction.

5. Be prepared to support new leaders with money and time. The very least we can do is provide uniform, training file and a warm welcome.

Be aware that:
  • Sending adults into leader teams already over staffed will usually put them off.
  • Keep clear of the 'doom merchants'. Someone who is bitter, feels unsupported and has been 'trying to get out for years' needs a review of role before new leaders arrive. 
  • Scouting experience is not needed to do new things. Good support is needed.

Case Study
Name: Susie Eldin
Initial Contact: 3 June
Followup Call: 4 June
District Tour: 8 June
Completed Forms: 12 June

Susie expressed interest in Scouting in June, following the Bear Gryll's publicity. She expressed immediate ambition to take a leading role and was not keen for a 'behind the scenes' role.

Susie explained during a district tour that she was considering enrolling on a teacher training course and wanted to support scouting but also gain relevant experience in working with children.

The DC identified that a lead role in a group's expansion plans for a new pack would be perfect to meet the challenge Susie needed. She completed CRB and AA forms shortly after the induction tour and immediately began discussions with the forming team in the new cub pack.

Once initial clearance was received, Susie began visiting a number of Cub Scout Sections in the district so she could gain a better understanding of her new role.

By the end of the summer, Susie's group had bought her uniform, her full CRB clearance had been received and plans were finalised for the formation of a new cub pack. She joined the DC and Cub Scout Leader at a launch assembly in a local school and on 22nd September joined 23 new cubs, a team of five adults (four of whom were new) launching the new section.

Susie was invested as a member on 10 November along with her colleagues and new cubs.

Outome: November - Susie enjoyed her first sleepover with the Cubs and is about to complete Getting Started Training. By September 2010, Susie has completed 70% of her adult training and has celebrated the first anniversary of the cub pack she helped found. 36 cubs attended the birthday party! In April, Susie expects to complete her Wood Badge. The pack goes from strength to strength and has successfully moved on its first young members into the Scout Troop.

Lessons: Act quickly, identify new leaders with ambition and ensure they are presented with adequate challenge. Support them in their role and ensure communication is good and frequent.