Sustaining groups- Our priority

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Sustaining existing groups is one of Woodcraft Folk’s strategic priorities, to support this activity the Development team have recently asked all groups and Districts to complete a sustainability survey, looking at the key areas that we believe impact on group sustainability:

• The people you need
• Being part of the Folk
• Finances
• Staying safe
• Publicity and outreach
• Programme planning

Whilst responses continue to come in, initial analysis shows that groups are achieving well in staying safe and financial management but struggling with getting the people they need. The New Groups project is working with other uniformed organisations, like the Scouts and Boys Brigade, to share best practice in recruiting, inducting and retaining volunteers. The New Groups project have also produced new guidance and publicity material for use by all groups in attracting new volunteers and new families to the Folk.

Over the last few years Woodcraft Folk has been undertaking research into both the impact of Woodcraft Folk and how we secure groups. TREE funded a series of recruitment pilots, case studies and recommendations can be found in the Change Agent reports. Youthlink Scotland funded Woodcraft Folk to collate best practice in the recruitment, induction and support of volunteers, which was pulled together to produce a Volunteer Toolkit.

The Youth United funded New Groups are about to test an approach used by the Scouts, which involves appointing a Group Guardian/Supporter to invest additional time into strengthening new and struggling groups. The paid role involves investing 20 weeks in planning and doing the behind the scenes activity e.g. funding application, volunteer recruitment, publicity (whatever the greatest need of the District). If you are interested in taking part please contact

If your group is struggling at any point please remember we are a co-operative movement, please contact and we will do our best to link you up with someone for help and support. If you feel you could be in a position to support a struggling group please also contact and offer your services.

For those of you who like statistics, I have included some of the headlines from the sustainability scorecard. At this stage 38% of Districts have responded, and of those who responded:

About the children:

77% have stable or growing numbers of children
45% have a waiting list of children
62% believe the demographics of children attending their group adequately reflects their local community
32% have contact with local schools


25% seek funding in addition to subs
47% do not set a budget

Staying safe:

87% successfully manage child consent and medical information
21% need to do additional work on their local safeguarding plan

The right people:

70% do not have a Volunteer Co-ordinator
47% are in contact with their local Volunteer Centre

sustainability indicators.pdf83.78 KB