The Scouts Heritage Service is delighted to announce it has received a National Lottery grant of £15,800 for an exciting and innovative heritage project, Moving Connections: Scouting and Displaced People. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project will begin in September 2018.

The Scouts will work with the pioneering educational charity EmpathyLab. Children aged 9 – 11 years from Kenilworth Primary School, Hertfordshire will use objects from The Scouts vast Heritage Collection to learn about the Movement’s fascinating heritage and develop their empathy skills. The project will focus on promoting understanding of one of today’s biggest social issues, the current refugee crisis.

The Scouts have a long history of supporting refugees and displaced people, in 1914 UK Scouts helped welcome Belgian refugees fleeing the First World War.  From 1938 Scouting supported children who fled Nazi persecution and arrived in England through the Kindertransport scheme.  See our online exhibition Scouting and displaced people for further details.

Scouts; refugees; second war war; Robert Baden-Powell;
A drawing by Robert Baden-Powell showing Scouts welcoming refugees from war worn Europe.

The ethos of helping and welcoming those in need continues to this day. This project will focus on objects which show how Scouts International Relief Service gave assistance to refugees in Northern Europe during the Second World War. Award winning children’s illustrator Jane Ray will run workshops integrating objects, stories, creative writing and art to help children explore the topic of refugees and displaced people.

This collection is important to the Scouting community, many of whom will be unaware of this aspect of the Movements history. With the current day community impact programme, ‘A Million Hands’ supporting 2,500 local projects, these items demonstrate that the Movement has a long history of social impact. Because of the nature of the collection, it is also of interest and significance to anyone affected by resettlement and those interested in the study of forced migration and refugees.

Supported through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the project will enable the young people to explore Scouting history and its relevance to modern society. As they respond to the collection through creative writing and art, and read stories about refugees, they will develop some of the key skills for life that thousands of Scouts across the UK learn each week. The social action campaign they devise will provide a lasting and positive difference to their community by removing barriers, helping to break down perceptions of the refugee community, and improving social cohesion and a sense of belonging by bringing communities together.

Robyn Llewellyn, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund, East of England said:

“Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we are thrilled to support this fascinating project which will enable children to learn about this lesser known aspect of scouting heritage and to generate their own social action campaign.”

We will be blogging regularly as the project progresses.