As many of you will know, COVID lockdowns hit kids hard, and we’ve seen this first hand as our members returned to us after lockdown.
The Department for Education and the Department for Digital, Media, Culture & Art have said that whilst not being in classrooms has had an impact on the educational wellbeing of children, the suspension of their extra curricular activities has had an impact on their mental wellbeing. Steps are being taking within DfE to address the educational wellbeing issue (a.k.a. ‘the learning gap’), but the same cannot be said for their mental wellbeing. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, referrals to child mental health services are up by over 70%. Children have developed fear and anxiety issues that we, as adults, cannot begin to understand. That is why extra currcular organisations like Scouting are so important. Whilst Scouting is one of the largest youth organisations in the world, it receives no funding from the government, at all.
At 1st Abram, we work hard to raise any funds possible, and were able to fundraise to hit an immediate priority while our doors were closed – in the creation of a bright and airy space in which our members could be welcomed back to Scouting as soon as we were able to open our doors again, we renovated our Scout Hut. Most of the work done by the hands of our volunteer leadership team.
But the re-opening of our doors, didn’t spell the end for our young people. A ban on, then restrictions on, residential experiences meant that we couldn’t take our young people on any overnight experiences. For the last 2 years, our tents lay packed, our camp cookers cold, our campfires dampened, our rucksacks empty.
ASDA Green Tokens
2022 spells a new era in Scouting, as our restrictions lift, and our confidence increases as we re-ignite our skills in residential leadership, we realise that our needs have outgrown our equipment, our membership has grown, and interest in Scouting continues to grow – this year, already, we have booked camps where two or more sections are camping on the same weekend – this, with one kitchen tent between us, makes it difficult. ASDA’s Green Token will provide us with £500 to purchase an additional kitchen tent, allowing us to keep going for many years to come, and our existing kitchen tent is still servicable after many years, so we certainly know how to look after them!
Voting is really easy, just visit: https://www.asda.com/green-tokens/store?store=4136 – and click ‘Vote’ under 1st Abram Scout Group. ASDA’s website will then store a cookie on your computer for 6 days to prevent you from voting again until the next week.
Tesco Blue Tokens
We’re also in the Tesco Community Grant Blue Token Scheme for a second project. We love a good campfire here at 1st Abram, we use them to learn how to cook, learn how to respect tools such as fire, axes, knives etc, and we use them to lift the spirits of our young people with a good sing-song, or even just a natter. When the rain comes, the need doesn’t go – and our existing covered fire-area has been hit hard by the elements, and is in serious need or replacement. Our intention is to replace this covered fire-area (a large shed with vent holes in it’s side), with a purpose build covered fire and outdoor cooking area, meaning more time outside for our young people (as activities such as Chef & Cooks badge will be moved outdoors). But we need your help here too.
Until 31st March, if you shop in Tesco, make it a visit to Hindley or Hindley Green, or even Ashton Petrol Station (Bolton Road), instead – grab your blue tokens and drop them in our box.