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A new YouGov poll[1] has found that the majority of British adults (51%) who expressed a view believe there is less empathy in UK society now than just 12 months ago. The startling statistic is in line with global trends, the growth of social media and what’s been dubbed ‘generation me’.

We find this emerging crisis of empathy unacceptable – it is damaging society and reducing the life chances of young people – and Chief Scout Bear Grylls has called for urgent action to provide more opportunities for young people to develop this essential skill. However, a huge 92% of the public who expressed a view agree that Scouts do this effectively, stating that they believe we are helping young people develop this critical skill for life through volunteering and community projects.

The new YouGov[2] research that uncovered the size of the UK’s crisis of empathy polled over 2,000 British adults. Our Chief Scout has called urgently for more volunteers to help young people develop this crucial skill and to prevent the crisis deepening.

Bear Grylls said: 

‘Today, in a world that sometimes feels fractured and insular, empathy and kindness are more important than ever. That’s why it’s important that we do something about this challenge. If the trend continues, we risk more division in our communities and increased alienation among young people. New research has shown that more than half of British adults say there is less empathy in UK society today than a year ago. When society is polarised, we need to work twice as hard to understand each other and find ways of working together. I believe young people have a right to develop key skills such as empathy and kindness and we urgently need more adult volunteers to help us do this.’ 

There is growing awareness of just how vital empathy is both socially and professionally. The 92% of British adults who said they believe that the Scouts help young people to develop this skill said we do so through our volunteering and community projects.[3] One such example is how we give the UK’s 460,000 Scouts the opportunity to develop their powers of empathy while working towards their Community Impact Badge, mixing with people from different backgrounds. As a result, there are now over 22,000 Scout Dementia Friends across the UK. The role involves the Scouts learning about dementia, partnering with people affected and giving their time and energy to help their local community become more dementia friendly. 

We pride ourselves in building empathy to cross boundaries within communities, and help young people develop skills to succeed in life. We deeply value this particular skill and hope others will back our call to improve levels of empathy in society.


[1] All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2087 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 13th - 14th September 2018.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

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News & Blogs

Blog | 20th scoop #Scouting4All Award
27/09/2018 By Matt Jones

20th Birkenhead have scooped a #Scouting4All award at Merseyside Scouts annual celebrations and AGM tonight! 


Matt Jones, District Commissioner, said “It’s great that Merseyside Scouts have rewarded the efforts of all the Young People and Adult Volunteers at the 20th. Over Christmas we are all exceptionally busy with family, friends, weekly section meetings, Wirral Charity Post and everything else December throws at us but at the 20th they do go the extra mile to support local elderly residents in our community and help to spread the Christmas cheer! This is very well deserved! My thanks and congratulations go to everyone at the group!”

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Launching New First Aid Courses
15/09/2018 By Matt Jones

Thanks to Tesco Bags of Help Funding we have been able to launch updated First Response Courses for our Adult Volunteers!

Today marked the first of these tech savvy courses with QCPR Manikins using mobile app technology to make sure our compressions have good depth and release, speed of compressions is good and to make sure we deliver 2 effective rescue breaths. 

We also have 2 training Heart Restarters (AEDs / Defibs) the same as the real one we have at Birkenhead Scout Centre - this is helping our adult volunteers becoming more familiar with our life saving equipment. 

In addition to this we have our new Anti-Choking vest, Junior and Baby resus dummies and other training equipment. 

This is helping us to provide safer Scouting for all and allowing our teams to provide more opportunities for #SkillsForLife!

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Introducing Birkenhead Scout Centre
15/09/2018 By Matt Jones

Over the last few months Birkenhead Scout HQ has been undergoing a programme of upgrades and the latest phase has just been completed! 

This features a new easy access multi-function space, kitchen and break out space! 

We hope you enjoy your new facilities the next time you visit to share experiences and learn more Skills For Life. 

Thanks to our Centre Manager for project managing this project. 

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90 Years Service!!
15/09/2018 By Matt Jones

This month Matt Jones, District Commissioner, has awarded a 40 and 50 year long service awards! Joan Quaile, District Chair, received her 50 year award for long service to Scouting and Sue Taylor, previous District Commissioner, received her 40 year long service award while looking after teh Tawd Vale service team at 2018's MerseyMoot. 

Matt Jones, District Commissioner, said "It was a real honour to present Sue and Joan with their long service awards in such a nice manner. Joan has given years of support to both Birkenhead Scouts and Merseyside Scouts and is currently helping me develop Birkenhead towards its next milestone. Sue has also given me enourmous amounts of support and encouragement and will continue to do so in the future. Sue also gives lots of time to Merseyside Scouts as well as to us at Birkenhead. My sincere thanks go to Sue and Joan once again for their service."

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Birkenhead Scouts
15 Balls Road, Birkenhead, Wirral, CH43 5RF
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