University hosts Scout leadership event to extend Scouting reach

Around 300 Scout leaders and administrative personnel gathered at the University of Bradford for a conference designed to boost membership.

The session on March 12  was headlined by Batley and Spen Labour MP Kim Leadbeater, who delivered a keynote speech.

Kim is sister to the late Jo Cox, who was the sitting MP for Batley & Spen, before she was murdered in 2016. She is County President of West Yorkshire Scouts and ambassador for Jo Cox Foundation. She was awarded an MBE in 2021 for services to community cohesion.

West Yorkshire Scouts County Commissioner Ian Womersley said: “I would like to thank the University of Bradford for sponsoring the partnership. Our visions complement in so many ways on things such as inclusion, sustainability, community support and volunteering, that the idea of developing a partnership seems to make so much sense.

“We currently have over 7,500 young people members in West Yorkshire and over 2,000 volunteers. This event was part of a journey to post-pandemic recovery and expanding our Scouting reach.”

The day consisted of various activities, including seminars themed around ‘Inspire, Connect and Grow’, including sessions on autism, activity programmes and young people, plus a chance to network. There was also information on how to join the Scouting movement.

It is the second time the University has hosted the Scouts – in October, 120 scouts visited campus to conduct lab-based experiments as part of their science badges.

Prof Alastair Goldman, Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences and chair of the Collaborative Outreach Group, said: “It was a real honour to host West Yorkshire Scout leaders including regional commissioners and their president MP Kim Leadbetter.

“We had many exciting conversations, and we look forward to developing new collaborations in which our students and staff can work alongside the West Yorkshire Scouts to develop great learning opportunities to support the personal development of young people. I am sure we have much to learn from the Scouts too, we share so many values putting them into practice together will create great synergy.”

MP Kim Leadbeater at the University during West Yorkshire Scouts leadership event

Kim Leadbeater said: “It was a real pleasure to join West Yorkshire Scouts for their brilliant Festival of Scouting at the University of Bradford. Scouting provides such a wide range of opportunities for young people and volunteers of all ages to gain skills, make friendships and have a positive impact on our communities.

“As County President I commended the Scouting movement for their response to the invasion of Ukraine and the humanitarian work they have done to support people in their hour of need. It was great to see the University of Bradford hosting this excellent event, showing their commitment to Scouting and the wider community; I hope it is a partnership which will continue to go from strength to strength.”