What do you do when you want to hear good news? Tune in to Nana Akua’s Happy Monday’s Show on BBC Three Counties Radio of course! And recently we had the story about a Scout who collected 78 sacks of donations for a homeless charity, writes Helen Halsey.
Invited by Happy Mondays’ producer Jonathan Blackwell, Caddington Scout Alex aged 10, went along to the studio with his Mum Clare and Luton Scouts’ Media Manager Gerald, to talk about his own good news story and 78 sacks of donations that are now helping the homeless in Luton.
Alex explained to Nana that he had been inspired by his older sister, who had volunteered to cook for homeless people at Christmas, to come up with his own plan. He decided he wanted to help Signposts, a Luton charity which offers temporary accommodation with support services for anyone who is unable to secure appropriate housing to meet their needs. Having thought about what homeless people might need, he set about collecting a range of essentials including toiletries, notepads, pens, socks, plasters, as well as a few luxuries like chocolate fudge, and packing them all in useful backpacks for distribution at Christmas and the New Year.
Mum Clare explained that in the first year she and Alex’s Dad had helped him collect donations and put together nineteen rucksacks at their home. In 2019 he hoped to fill thirty bags and knew he would need some extra help.
Alex told Nana that he decided to contact local businesses and ask for their support. The response was fantastic and, with the help of companies and organisations including John Lewis, Watton-at-Stone Guides, 1st Tewin Brownies, Millers Garden Buildings, Mercer and Hole Accountants as well as Caddington and Slip End Scout Groups, he was able to smash his target and deliver 78 filled bags to Signposts.
What helped was a business plan that Alex wrote outlining what the project was all about. It proved a winner with John Lewis, among others, who were amazed by the youngster’s knowledge.
Val Fowler from the John Lewis department store in Welwyn Garden City said, “I was astonished at this young man’s grasp of the business world. He talked about quantities, items and deadlines in a way few professionals manage. We were able to provide enough sacks for all his collection and a generous supply of items for Signpost his chosen homeless charity.
Gerald described how young people in Scouting get involved in their community in many ways, including expeditions and events to raise money for charity, visiting Senior Citizens, litter picking & clearing rivers. Scouts help the community because they are part of society, and Scouting is about all kinds of life skills, not just knots and compasses.
Alex’s Mum went on to explain that, while they had started out in 2017 collecting and filling the bags at home, last year they had to make use of Caddington Scout Hut, where she is a Cub Leader. This year they are hoping to be assisted by other members of the Scout Group as Alex hopes to break his record again. Alex hopes that his scheme will continue to grow and even become a national award.
Having seen some Founder’s Day activities going on near her home, Nana wanted to know a bit more about what is happening in Scouting locally. Gerald told her about our own Founder’s Day Hike, as well as the 36 young people from Bedfordshire who will be taking part in the 24th World Scout Jamboree in USA this summer.
Good Luck with your campaign Alex!