Due to the partnership approach that Pears Foundation has as a funder, and the importance they place upon ‘learning’ and providing the space to try new things, the Pears Project has produced results beyond our expectations and is helping to shape our growth strategy and our processes across the whole of the UK.Ben Powlesland, Pears Project Manager,
Cementing and developing a strong, central partnership has been key to this project’s success and sustainability. By removing common restrictions and ring-fenced objectives, the project has had real ‘permission’ to take risks and innovate, concentrating on the value of learning rather than numerical targets. It is this that has resulted in the Pears Project’s biggest successes, enabling it to grow and evolve through a strong, honest and effective partnership.Bridget McGing
The Scouts offer children and young adults an opportunity to enjoy exciting experiences, learn new skills and develop their team-working and leadership abilities. Anyone between the ages of six and twenty-five can join and enjoy a diverse range of activities, events and experiences, from the outdoor and physical pursuits for which scouting is best known, to community service, creativity and learning about the wider world. Adult volunteers help to coordinate activities and their numbers continue to grow each year. It’s widely acknowledged that volunteers can take as much from their experiences as the young people they support.
For over a century, scouting has been an enduring reminder of the great potential of young people to make a positive impact, not just as a helpful and character-building experience in their own lives, but as a real and valuable contribution to their community. Today’s Scouts have evolved far beyond traditional perceptions of toggles and bob-a-job – currently the Scouts engage half a million young people in their earliest efforts to actively contribute to their society.
As part of its commitment to expanding opportunities for youth social action, the Foundation created the Pears Project to address one of the key challenges for the organisation – long waiting lists caused by demand for provision far exceeding supply. Together the Foundation and the Scouts constructed a pilot project, proposing an innovative new model: using a team of part-time paid interns working collaboratively alongside volunteers to create new provision quickly in a concentrated area.
Research and statistical analysis led to the selection of Avon as the focus area, which had long waiting lists, gaps in provision and very diverse communities. Two years on, the project has delivered excellent results, opening 40 new Scouting provisions across Avon and Gloucestershire, with over 200 new volunteers supporting over 600 young people.
In keeping with the Pears Foundation’s philosophy, support is offered through a partnership that relies not on statistics and reports, but on a close working relationship and a deep understanding of the organisation’s objectives.