Top scout issues 11th hour appeal for volunteers

thisisoxfordshire: Paul Thompson Paul Thompson

THREE Beaver Scout groups are at risk of closing because of a lack of volunteers, the city’s leader for the movement has warned.

Activities at the 2nd Cowley Beaver group had to be suspended last month because of the shortage.

A temporary volunteer has been found to run the group this month but it is still facing closure if a permanent replacement is not found.

Two other groups – the 4th at Botley and 40th at Kennington – are in the same situation.

District commissioner for Oxford Spires Paul Thompson said the groups desperately need adult volunteers.

He said: “There are Beaver shortages everywhere, we have groups we want to start.”

Of the possible closure of the three groups, he said: “I hope it won’t happen.

“If we can’t find people to fulfill the roles they will probably have to close down. We are covering roles where we can.”

The Botley group has 24 members, while Kennington has 30 and Cowley has about 12.

About 300 adult volunteers work with around 7,200 youngsters across the county, a number that has swelled by 300 since last year. This is up from about 6,000 in 2001.

The movement has grown in popularity as parents look for constructive activities for their children, said Mr Thompson.

He added: “Parents have seen it as being a safe alternative to sending their kids out to play in the street.

“It is adventurous but in a safe and financially accessible way.”

He said volunteering would also benefit adults.

“Volunteers will have a great time,” he said. “I have been doing it for numerous years and I have loved every single minute of it.”

About 28 million young people are involved in Scouting around the world. Scouts’ activities range from astronomy to circus skills.

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Oxford Spires, one of eight districts in the county, has 17 groups from Botley in the west to Thame in the east, and from Kidlington in the north to Kennington in the south.

No-one from the three groups facing closure was available for comment.

  • To volunteer, call Mr Thompson on 07877 219836.

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