Scout leader Henry Cleaver, and group leader and district commissioner Darryl Poultney, joined the 3rd Wombourne Scouts in Wolverhampton to launch the Squirrels, a programme tailor-made for four and five year olds, at Wombourne Methodist Church.
The programme aims to support early years children by creating a positive, safe environment for children to develop, as they learn essential skills for life.
Group leader Darryl Poultney said: “Volunteering with Squirrels has been amazing. Our four and five-year-olds at the 3rd Wombourne have been able to work in a team, communicate and be creative.
“As a volunteer, I have learnt so much. I really hope more people across Wolverhampton volunteer so the young people we have on our waiting lists can experience these brilliant opportunities too.
“Volunteering really is good for your mental health and wellbeing, so why not come and join us?” The emphasis for Squirrels will be on having outdoor adventures, making new friends and learning new things, recognised by a new set of badges.
But to support the expanded programme, the Scouts are calling for much-needed adult helpers to step forward as part of its #GoodForYou campaign, and are hoping to recruit over 5,000 new volunteers.
TV star and Chief Scout Bear Grylls said: “I’m so glad that younger children from Wolverhampton will now have the chance to join our family of Scouts and develop skills for life. We know from our pilot programme that four to five-year-olds can really benefit from the activities that Squirrels offers.
“All of us at the Scouts believe that by offering opportunities at this early age, inspiring a sense of wonder, fun and curiosity, we can have a long-lasting, positive impact on young people’s lives. To make this work we need more volunteers to join the team and donors to get behind us.”
Ofsted research has shown that in communities hardest hit by the pandemic, early years children have returned less confident and more anxious after lockdowns.
The Scouts hope that they can help to raise children’s spirits with the new group.