Meet Nick Lancaster - a ScoutsCymru volunteer

5th June 2019

It’s Volunteering week and we are so grateful to our volunteers for their continued hard work. 

So, we will be profiling one volunteer a day over the course of the week in celebration! Next up we have Nick Lancaster, 41, originally from Hampshire but a resident of Brecon for 20 years.

 

What do you do outside of Scouting? 

I assist in awareness, lobbying and fundraising for Guide Dogs for the Blind, I’m also a chairman of the charity Visual Impairment Breconshire.  I am a husband and father to 4 boys, now aged 15, 17, 18 and 20”

Role & group?

“My primary role is listed as Area Secretary, Brecknock Area Scout Council”

What does your role involve?

“I coordinate and minute meetings of the Area Executive committee and I record, maintain and file all relevant paperwork for the area.  Alongside the Area Commissioner I am the first point of contact at area level for ScoutsCymru and the Scout Association, as well as downstream to the districts and groups within the Brecknock Area.”

Do you hold any other roles within Scouting? If yes, what?

“Area Manager of Permit Scheme, Brecknock Area

District Secretary, Beacons & Builth District

Section Assistant – Cub Scouts, 1st Brecon Group, the role I have done longest”

Time volunteering?

“I have been volunteering for 10 years.”

What got you into volunteering for ScoutsCymru?

“My son had been on the waiting list to join Cubs for some time, 1st Brecon Group asked parents on the waiting list if any of us were willing to volunteer to assist in setting up a new cub pack so all the children on the waiting list could get a place, I said I could give some time and enjoyed it so much, I have never stopped.”

Why do you continue to volunteer?

“I enjoy seeing the Cubs grow and learn with the many and varied activities we are able provide, which the Cubs maybe wouldn’t be able to physically or financially do elsewhere. I have also benefited myself by doing things I would not have done otherwise. The more administrative roles have allowed me to grow and maintain skills whilst unemployed and it gives me a real sense of fulfilment from supporting fellow volunteers in their roles and giving opportunities to the youth of Brecknock.”

What’s the best bit about being a ScoutsCymru volunteer?

One word, Inclusion!  Being disabled I face many obstacles in leading a normal life, but right from the first moment of offering some time to Scouting rather than having my disability seen as a problem, it’s been “how can we support you to perform you role”.  This is an amazing and refreshing attitude.”

What’s been a highlight during your time as a volunteer?

“I am pleased to say there have been many. I have seen Cubs go on through the levels of scouting and even become leaders themselves, one who said I inspired them to give back for what I gave them.”

In your opinion, how does scouting give young people skills for life?

“Scouting provides opportunities for our members to do things that often they would not experience elsewhere, in the process pushing their personal boundaries and supporting them to step outside their comfort zone and learn that they can be capable of more than they expect of themselves.”

How in your opinion is Scouting inclusive and accommodating? 

“I am registered blind and have a Guide Dog, scouting has a wonderful philosophy of inclusion that has never seen my disability as a problem. They have always found ways to support me in my roles and recognised how my different experiences can be used to help others. An example being I have been able to introduce the youth to my guide dog, Lloyd, and teach them about assistance dogs. We also now have an inter-Cub Goalball game regularly.”

What are your favourite activities?

“This is difficult to answer as I like so many, but that is the best bit, the variation and the ability to do something different.”

What skills have you learned by volunteering?

“I have become a more confident person, the training and various roles has taught me to interact better with others and that my opinion does count and that I can lead as well as follow. I have alo enjoyed learning all the various ways to tie knots!”

Are your family involved in Scouting? Who, what ages, what involvement? 

“All my boys have been through Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers, my eldest two sons are now Assistant Cub Leaders and one is the 18-25 rep to the Brecknock Area Scout Council.”

What three words would you use to describe volunteering for ScoutsCymru?

“Inspirational, Inclusive, Fun.”

How would you sell volunteering at ScoutsCymru to someone who isn’t a volunteer?

“I always say that no matter what role you take on your helping to teach skills and inspire a younger generation and you have fun doing it to.”