Scouting gives young people hope for the future. And when I see one Scout helping another, or Scouts helping communities in flood hit areas, that makes me optimistic too. There’s an amazing energy, peace and generosity which flows through the movement. It’s infectious and for me that makes volunteering as much a pleasure as it is a privilege.

As a volunteer manager for Scouting in East Lancashire I can take practical steps to improve lives of young people. In Scouting its not just about the uniform or what the building looks like – it’s about the attitude. We’re positive, we’re practical and we break down barriers not build them.

Scouting brings real change to young people’s lives. It’s a simple as that. On weekday nights and at weekends, young people gain confidence and acquire the life skills they need to succeed. Whether they’re learning citizenship skills, exploring faith and beliefs or international issues, it’s all done in the spirit of friendship. There’s no such thing as failing in Scouting. You learn a new skill by doing it; your friends help you until you get it right. Then you pass it on.

Nationally, we are now implementing a plan for the next four years. In 2018 we want Scouting to be enjoyed by 500,000 young people. They will come from every background, make their voices heard and bring positive change to their communities. Locally that means getting the whole team inspired and bringing the plan to life locally. We’re focussed on growing the Movement and making it open to all. We want young people themselves to decide what they do, and we want to make sure that we have a measurable impact on our local community.

Scouting already supports over 450,000 young people, and the news that the movement has grown by 100,000 over the last ten years proves that it is needed now more than ever. We take the view that every young person deserves the opportunities that Scouting offers. That’s not always easy when we need more adult volunteers.

But In my own area and in many others we’re growing strongly by galvanising our parents and other supporters. Everyone is getting involved – from a Cub Scout inviting a school friend along to adults involving a work colleague. When you get people excited about the possibilities of transforming young people’s lives and there’s no stopping them. There has never been a more important time to support young people and Scouting provides this opportunity.