Merlin and Gwynedd Explorers make a ‘community impact’

29th January 2020

Merlin and Gwynedd Explorers make a ‘community impact’

ScoutsCymru Explorers from North and West Wales have made a huge impact in their local communities.

Merlin Explorers from Carmarthen and Gwynedd Explorers spent time visiting local care homes last year as they worked towards their Queen's Scout Award: International, Community and Values (ICV) list.

Merlin Explorers wanted to connect with residents of their town so visited the Ty Rhys care home once a month. They spent time swapping life experiences with their senior counterparts, sharing the work they do with ScoutsCymru and listening to the resident’s life stories.

The Explorers have worked closely with the senior citizens on a number of projects including; preparation of giftboxes for a group of vulnerable young parents in the community, games evenings, DofE presentations, a strawberry tea and monthly cake and tea sittings.

Siriol Butterworth, Merlin Scout Leader, reflects on their visits: “Bringing the young people and senior citizens together was an absolute pleasure to watch. Everyone loved every minute and real friendships were formed between the two generations.

 “One moment stands out particularly for me, 90-year-old resident Liz told the Explorers her life story as a child of war. Her parents worked for a company owned by Jews, when they wouldn’t denounce their employers her mum was executed by the Nazis and her dad spent the rest of the war in Belsen concentration camp. She didn’t see him until 25 years later.

“Liz escaped to Vienna where she then survived the Russian invasion before fleeing to England as the Iron Curtain came down with just one shilling in her pocket.

“The Explorers were completely spellbound by her story; their admiration was written all over their faces. This incredibly moving story made their attendance of the annual Remembrance Sunday parade a few days later even more meaningful.”

In a similar community project, Gwynedd Explorers volunteered in Leonard Cheshire Home, a supported living and domiciliary support service for adults with disabilities, carrying out refurbishment work.

Whilst camping in the grounds surrounding the home, the Explorers painted the courtyard, did some gardening and painted the interior of the home. This work would have usually been carried out by volunteers, so the Explorer’s efforts enabled the volunteers to carry out other essential work at the home.

Rob Hughes, of Gwynedd Scouts, said: “The hard work of the Explorers was awe-inspiring. They set up camp outside the home and dedicated their free time to carry out much needed maintenance work.

“The home was fantastic feeding the Explorers whilst they camped onsite, they  really embraced the help offered to them. We are hoping that we can make this a regular partnership and hope to return this year”

“We are extremely proud of our volunteers who have dedicated a lot of time and effort to such a worthy cause.”

Scouting is a worldwide movement that creates stronger communities in Wales and inspires positive futures for the people of Wales. A study commissioned by The Scout Association, gathered data from over 2,000 young people, both Scouts and non-Scouts, and was independently conducted by SocStats. It found that Scouts are one-third more likely to take an active role in their communities and are one-third more likely to help out in their local area.

Rhian Moore, Chief Commissioner of ScoutsCymru, said: “Scouting has been proven to develop strong community engagement in young people and foster a culture of curiosity and acceptance. The Merlin and Gwynedd Explorers are a fantastic example of this.

“We are extremely proud of their hard work and the selflessness they have shown by going out into the community and dedicating their free time to help others.”