THE world of Scouting could soon be operating from hospitals across Hampshire.
In a ground-breaking initiative for the county young patients will be able to take part in Scouting without leaving their hospital beds.
It follows a cash injection from the Freemason’s national charity. Hampshire County Scouts have received a £4,000 grant which will be spent on their Scouting in hospitals project which will also reach out to young carers.
“We plan to start Scout Groups at hospitals in Southampton, Ports-mouth and Basingstoke, as well as the Naomi House hospice,” said Romsey District Chairman John Stevens, who co-ordinates the project for the county.
He added: “We have had initial positive discussion with staff at both Southampton General Hospital and Naomi House and we hope to have the groups up and running by the end of the year.”
Hampshire Scouts Development Officer Vanessa Slawson says: “These hospital Scout Groups will be very different from the standard Scout Group in several ways. These include having a much wider age range of young people than normal. The young people participating could be aged between six and 18.
“We also relish the challenge of having young people attend with all manner of conditions, meaning that they are accompanied by drips, frames, wheelchairs, oxygen cylinders and even beds!”
In the late 1950s two Scouts from a London group were admitted for long stays to Great Ormond Street Hospital. Their Scout Leader was concerned they would miss out on their Scouting and so he became instrumental in forming the UK’s first Hospital Scout Group. That Scout Group still exists and there are now almost a dozen Hospital Groups operating throughout the UK.
“We are looking for colleagues from Scout Groups in and surrounding Southampton as well as the hospital staff and medical students to get involved and help run the Hospital Group there,” said Colin Floyd, District Commissioner for Southampton City.
Mr Stevens said that safety and safeguarding of young people was always a prime concern. All leaders and helpers were vetted and they had also completed first response first aid training, safeguarding and safety courses.
If you are an existing leader who is interested in joining the Scouts in Hospitals team or want more information about the project contact the project team at firstname.lastname@example.org.