It was a very exciting day for two Beaver Scouts from North Lincolnshire District (and their Leaders) as they attended a reception in London to celebrate the 'A Million Hands' initiative, writes Shona Cannings.
Million Hands is all about mobilising half a million Scouts in support of four social issues chosen by our young people. From dementia to those disabled by society, from improving the mental wellbeing and resilience of our communities to ensuring everyone, everywhere has access to clean water and sanitation…
These are big issues of our time, but our young people want to tackle them head on.
The aim was to build real and lasting relationships in communities that will enable young people to continue taking social action long into the future.
We are marrying our Movement of over half a million people, reaching into every community across the UK, with the knowledge and expertise of organisations committed to social change.
The reception at 11 Downing Street was attended by Robin Wilson, Minister for Civil Society, who acknowledged the incredible success of the scheme so far.
Edward and Max accompanied by Vicky Doubtfire, BSL 5th Ashby, and Shona Cannings (BSL 6th Scunthorpe (Messingham), travelled from Scunthorpe on the train before travelling by Tube to 11 Downing Street where they joined other Scout Groups from all over the country waiting outside the gates before going through security checks and then finding themselves outside Number 11. Edward had the privilege of knocking on the door of Number 11 – which will be something that not many people will be able to claim!
Once inside, Leaders had to hand over their phones as only official photographs were allowed. We then went upstairs and joined the Reception. All the partner organisations were present with activities for people to take part in.
We visited the Alzheimer’s Society stand as this was the topic we had chosen to support within our groups. The Beavers added their favourite Scouting memory to a Memory Tree and then we noticed one of the photographs on the slideshow being shown was the photo of Messingham’s recent fundraising Memory Walk.
The Beavers then spent a long time at the Water Aid stand using a virtual reality headset and experiencing life in Nepal following recent earthquakes. It was a good job the speeches started as we could have lost them for the whole afternoon otherwise.
Chief Commissioner Tim Kidd, Chief Executive Matt Hyde, UK Youth Commissioner Hannah Kentish and Robin Wilson all praised the impact of the scheme and made the point that this scheme is youth led and then presented the Prime Minister’s Points of Light Award to Jack Aubrey – Chair of the Community Impact Group – a group made up of young people who have driven the project.
Our Beavers listened intently and it was great to see young people on the stage as such good role models.
Guide Dogs for the Blind had examples of work other groups have done and certainly gave food for thought for future projects but it was the dogs that grabbed the attention of all the Beavers in the room and Goldie certainly enjoyed all the fuss.
The final stand we visited was the Leonard Cheshire stand where Max was enthralled by a free App that helped people communicate using pictures. Soon it was time to leave and we posed for photographs outside Number 11 and then Number 10 before leaving the secure area.
We then managed a whistle stop tour of the local area seeing Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye before heading through St James Park to Buckingham Palace. We were all amazed to see the pelicans in St James Park and got some great photos.
Unfortunately her Majesty wasn’t at home so we couldn’t call for tea and instead had to have some pizza. Before heading home we managed to fit in a photo opportunity at Platform 9 and ¾ .
The Beavers who only met on the day got on brilliantly and represented their groups, district and the County impeccably and despite not arriving home until after 10pm were still full of excitement and have made some very special memories.