My name is Sarah Withers. I have recently been appointed as Assistant County Commissioner (Inclusion) and my role will be to support the development and growth of fully inclusive Scouting within East Lancashire. I come from a background in Special Education and have twenty years experience of working with young people with learning difficulties and physical disabilities. I have been a Scout Leader for a similar length of time, covering all Sections and have had many roles during that time – including nine years as Leader of a joint Scout/Explorer Scout Unit based at a school where all the youth members had additional needs.
Inclusive Scouting is not just about ensuring that those with disabilities are able to access Scouting in their local area. The Equal Opportunities Policy states that we must ensure that Scouting will be as diverse as the communities in which we live. Scouting must welcome members who are disabled, LGBTQA+, socially or economically deprived, black, or from religious or ethnic minorities.
I am not an expert in many of these areas, so I am asking for your help. If you, or someone you know, has an interest in promoting Inclusive Scouting and would like to be involved, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I would also like to hear from any adult or youth members who have experiences that they wish to share (positive or negative) regarding their own inclusion within Scouting.
In the meantime if you, or your Group, need advice, support or training to help you ensure inclusion and meet the needs of our members, please contact me. I may not have all the answers, but I will be able to put you in touch with someone who has.