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How to make your Scout meetings more accessible

Follow these steps to ensure that you create an accessible and inclusive environment for your Scouts throughout the next year.

02nd September 2019
The Scouts pride themselves on being a safe space for all young people. Both organisations aim to encourage equality, diversity and ensure that inclusion is a number one priority.

Both organisations have extensive online and offline resources available to encourage leaders and volunteers to take control and lead the journey to becoming more accessible to young people. Offering the same opportunities to members from all walks of life, from various backgrounds, with a range of abilities and different interests, is essential.

Take a look at some ways in which you can make your meetings more accessible by creating inclusive spaces:

Adapt activities to cater for everyone

Most activities advised by The Scouts and Girlguiding will already be inclusive to most within the Group.

However, those who use wheelchairs, have restricted mobility, or sensory impairments, might not be able to take part in certain activities. Always offer an alternative, make reasonable adjustments to ensure every member can take part, or avoid activities that might exclude some members of your Group. Take a look at Girlguiding’s advice for this here.

In terms of being inclusive when it comes to gender identity, race, religion and sexual orientation, it’s important to factor these in when planning for your meetings. Some members might not be allowed to participate in activities due to their religious background, beliefs or dietary requirements, and adjustments must then be made to cater for this.

Members might not typically get to celebrate religious or awareness events with their peers from other backgrounds, so make sure they can.

Celebrating religious events, awareness events and a range of holidays across the year to include everyone would be educational and beneficial.

Celebrating religious events, awareness events and a range of holidays across the year to include everyone would be educational and beneficial.

Customise the meeting place to cater for all kinds of abilities

Making reasonable adjustments as detailed in the Equality Act 2010 is essential when it comes to making your meeting space accessible.

Physical adjustments such as a ramp, accessible toilet, and allowing extra support should be offered where possible.

If your space is in a community centre or church hall, why not speak to others who are involved with the building and maintenance? Any adjustments may be worthwhile for other groups that use the space and they might pitch in.

Change the language used

Consider the language you and your fellow leaders and young people use around each other. For those that may have faced bullying or discrimination in the past, their weekly Scouting or Girlguiding meeting should be a place where they feel safe and can be themselves.

Never assume something about someone. You could end up using offensive language and making a completely incorrect assumption. If you hear other leaders or members using language that seems incorrect, make an effort to educate them and use the correct language.

Take a look at The Scouts’ Inclusive Language Guidelines here.

What adjustments do you make to ensure your Section, Unit or Group is more accessible? Let us know on Facebook, or Tweet us!