SCOUTS and Guides in Hampshire are enjoying a funding boost after Co-op members generated more than £2m in less than two years for the groups local community fund initiative.

Launched in September 2016, the fund has provided cash for 900 Scout Troops and Cub Scout Packs and nearly 400 Guide, Brownie and Rainbow units in the UK which have received a total of £2,100,000.

Thirty-five of these are in Hampshire – including the 15th Romsey Scout Group, based in North Baddesley, Hamble Sea Scout Group, and Alresford District Girl Guides.

Co-op members receive a five per cent reward and an additional one per cent going to local causes when they buy own-brand products, have a say in how the money is allocated.

The money raised through the Co-op scheme has enabled groups to undertake a variety of projects, from refurbishing halls to ensuring members can enjoy residential trips.

Rebecca Birkbeck, Director of Community Engagement at the Co-op, said: “Our members are passionate about supporting young people and it is the sector which we have backed more than any other, with more than 3,000 organisations benefitting from our community fund.

“Research by the Scouts themselves shows that young people involved with the movement are a third more likely to take an active role and to help out in their local communities, which is precisely the focus of our local community fund.”

Matt Hyde, Chief Executive of The Scout Association, said: “We are delighted to see evidence of such strong support and investment from the Co-op and its members in support of The Scout Movement. This ongoing commitment allows us to continue our vital work in supporting young people and particularly key provision in areas of deprivation and underrepresented communities."

Ruth Marvel, Acting CEO of Girlguiding, said: “This initiative has been invaluable in enabling Girlguiding units across the UK to do even more to bring about positive change. Helping others, carrying out community action, and preparing girls and young women to be a powerful force for good lies at the very heart of our organisation.

"This scheme provides an amazing opportunity to amplify this by investing in girls and young women and supporting them to make a difference in their local communities."