15,000 young people in Wales have pledged to tackle Wales’ biggest social issues with the launch of ScoutsCymru’s A Million Hands project.
Over the next four years, Scouts from across the country will work with the support of charity experts taking part in community action activities
Working with Crisis, WWF, Mind Cymru, National Autistic Society Cymru, British Red Cross and Save the Children, young people will address and tackle six issues of national importance that are representative of young people’s concerns. These include ending homelessness, promoting better mental health, disability, refugees and displaced children, kindness and the environment.
The initiative was launched this week at the Senedd where charity ambassadors, ScoutsCymru and local AMs gathered to share the work they do and to discuss the national impact A Million Hands will have.
Rhian Moore, Chief Commissioner for Wales, concluded:
“Our young people are the change-makers and make-it-happen-ers for tomorrow. Their optimism and enthusiasm to do good in the world is truly inspiring. We want to help them to make a positive impact on the issues that matter to them and with the support of the charities they have chosen I believe that the pledge they have will make a huge impact in our local communities in Wales.
“By working together on A Million Hands, we can help bring people together, connect communities and live out our promise of leaving the world a little better than we found it.”
Scouts social impact project – A Million Hands – was launched four years ago and since then over 135,000 Community Impact badges have been ordered, representing over 960,000 hours of action.
Campaign champion, Scout Ambassador and astronaut, Tim Peake, praised the latest campaign and encouraged more Scouts to get involved by saying:
“I’ve had the privilege to see Planet Earth from 400 kilometres up. It’s an incredible sight. Through the space station’s cupola window, you can see clearly for thousands of miles across the Earth’s surface in all directions. The campaign is about raising awareness across six themes. And what’s so exciting is that they’re chosen by young people themselves. Over the last one hundred years, the issues we’ve tackled have changed, but our young people’s drive to make a positive impact remains as strong as ever.”
Joyce Watson AM sponsored the Wales launch and said:
“Scouts have been making a positive impact for over a hundred years, and I was proud to be a part of celebrating the next step forward with the launch of the A Million Hands programme.
“This will help young people take action to improve their communities, and to develop their skills to shape a better future for us all.
“I support all their chosen themes, which complement the priorities of our Youth Parliament – protecting the environment, kindness in the community, better mental health, understanding disability, ending homelessness and supporting refugees and displaced children.
“They are partnering with excellent organisations to take this forward, and I look forward to seeing how A Million Handschanges lives throughout Wales and the UK.”
ScoutsCymru is the national body for Scouting in Wales. Each week, 5,186 volunteers give 14,194 young people in Wales the opportunity to enjoy fun and adventure while developing the skills they need to succeed, now and in the future.
Quotes from charity partners:
“This is a fantastic opportunity to create a world that works for autistic people. We know that a little understanding can go a long way, and A Million Hands is a great way to get children and young people talking about autism and disability.
“Over the next three years, we’re looking forward to working with the Scouts to develop engaging and dynamic sessions so that Scout Troops all over Wales can create real change. It’s also a wonderful way for Scout Troops to be more autism-friendly and to understand how best to ensure autistic and disabled people can participate in their communities.”
Meleri Thomas, from the National Autistic Society Cymru
“For a century now, Save the Children has been standing up for children and making their voices heard. We wrote the treaty that sets out the rights of every child and we’ve been upholding them every day since. Together with children, supporters and partners, we’re determined to help every child reach their full potential.
“We’re delighted to be partnering with the Scouts on their ‘A Million Hands’ social impact project that aims to get Scouts from across the UK to take part in community action activities, to raise awareness and change around social issues. We will be working in partnership with the Scouts to help every child become who they want to be, by showing solidarity with refugees and displaced children and building empathy within local communities.”
Tom Baker, from Save the Children
“Day in and day out our volunteers and staff see that even small acts of kindness can make a big difference to people in crisis.
“Now, the A Million Hands project aims to get Scouts from across the UK to take part in activities, to raise awareness and change people’s attitudes towards social issues. It is fantastic that young people will be driving and developing the Power of Kindness in their community by becoming Kindness Champions.
“We want to support everyone to do more kind acts, no matter how small, because these little things can make a world of difference.”
Mike Adamson, Chief Executive of British Red Cross
“We’re pleased to be working with the Scouts on A Million Hands, alongside SAMH and Inspire. Thousands of young people today live with mental health problems, or support family and friends through them.
“Alongside the partners Mind, SAMH and Inspire, The Scouts will work towards pursuing better mental health for all by equipping people with skills, resources and knowledge to help build their resilience and take care of their own mental health.
“By 2023 we want 20,000 scouts to do this by incorporating wellbeing activities regularly into their scout sessions and also by creating opportunities for their local communities to talk about mental health and how they can help to keep themselves mentally healthy.”
Louise Clarkson, Head of Children and Young People, from Mind