Guess Who’s Back

When I finished March’s Blog with “April’s Blog Might be a bit of a challenge” I perhaps hadn’t appreciated quite how big a challenge it would be! It’s been six months and we certainly didn’t just disappear and stop but we have have certainly had an untypical summer!

So what have we been up to? We held our Virtual Challenge 20 Event, the Youth Team appeared in loads of the videos! Did you spot them in any? I’ve linked the ones they appear in below so you can take a look at your leisure. We had loads of people join us over the weekend from right across the country, fingers crossed we can do the real thing next summer!

As soon as we were able we got our Return to Scouting Risk Assessment sorted and submitted to enable us to meet up again. Although this did seem daunting at first, there was so many resources and support out there that it was a fairly simple process. The team met up at Bramhope several times throughout August completing a variety of site tasks; See if you can spot the damage, sorry… maintenance they carried out next time you’re up there. 

They also played a huge role in helping us establish some brand new activities that have social distancing in mind. They’re available free of charge and we’ve even completed the activity risk assessments for you so take a look at the Bramhope Page and get booked in now!

We should be holding our Annual Awards Day this weekend. Unfortunately but perhaps inevitably this won’t be going ahead this year. However each and every Young Person who has earned their Top Award in this past year should be so incredibly proud, not least if they have done so since Scouting couldn’t meet F2F. You should all be so proud and your commitment is inspiring. Thank You also to the leaders who work tirelessly to support you to achieve your Top Awards, once again, especially if they have provided tailored resources during these recent months.

We appointed a brand new County Commissioner!! How could I not mention that after 18 Months we finally concluded our search. A huge welcome to Carol Milburn as our new CC. I was a member of the search group and can say with absolute confidence Carol is exactly the CC Central Yorkshire needs to help it through the challenges we will face in the coming months and years. I know Carol will continue to champion the importance of the Youth Commissioner Roles, the Youth Team and the principle of being Youth Shaped.

This does of course mean Ian Hill now “leaves” to pursue his role as Regional Commissioner. I wrote a series of tweets reflecting on Ian and his championship of Young People here but I’d be remiss to not reiterate that I know no greater champion of Young People than Ian. His guidance and support is second to none and he has done nothing but support me and the team since Day 1. We won’t let him go far!

Finally, As a new term starts it’s a bit of change among our team. Taylor Scaife is stepping down from her role as Deputy County Youth Commissioner as she begins her 2nd Year at Keele University. Taylor has being absolutely indispensable since her appointment two years ago, she has supported and challenged (she’s very good at the latter!) me on my views and aims, supporting me and the team to deliver amazing things for Central Yorkshire, and also saving the County from some of my wilder ideas!!

Our other Deputy County Youth Commissioner, Sophie Head has secured an amazing place at Cambridge University to study Psychology, simply amazing and she couldn’t be more deserving. Sophie’s going to step back a little, into an Assistant County Youth Commissioner Role so when she is back up in “the North” she can get stuck straight back in.

I can’t express how much support I’ve found in Taylor & Sophie since taking on my role. They are incredible volunteers, inspiring young women and even better friends. I thank them wholeheartedly. However! Scouting keeps moving and towards the end of the year we will begin the search for our next Deputy County Youth Commissioners! If you’re 18-25 (Or nearly 18) and have a passion to make a difference whilst experiencing so many opportunities yourself, this could be you! Keep an eye out for more info or if you’re especially eager, drop me an email at

I look forward to seeing you in October when I hope even more exciting Scouting will be happening.




A Month Of Change…

It feels somewhat peculiar to begin to write this knowing how differently the month started and then finished. Nevertheless, Scouting in Central Yorkshire had another exciting, if not turbulent month!

My first meeting of the month was one chaired by Sam Morris, Deputy Chief Commissioner for England. It explored how the County is going to find its next CC.  There’s no exciting photo to accompany this but I mention it for two reasons; Maybe you’re reading this and have a passion for leading a successful County to provide even more exciting adventures to Young People?! and Secondly, Youth Shaped Scouting only works in Central Yorkshire because it’s championed at the highest level, whilst I’m cautious for what happens next I’m excited as I know whoever applies will share our passion to empower Young People to achieve incredible things.

The following week I met some colleagues from The Co-op who are developing a new online platform to host, share and advertise volunteering opportunities local to you.  It sounds so exciting and is currently being piloted in Manchester and Leeds, I look forward to seeing how Central Yorkshire can both support and benefit from the site!

The highlight of the month has to be judging North Leeds Cooking Competition! Those that may know me may argue I have a relatively limited palette so I was sceptical I’d enjoy anything that wasn’t a pizza… I couldn’t have being more wrong – Using nothing more than two gas burners some brilliant dishes were served up.  My personal favourite has to be “The Volcano” – Bangers and Mash served with the theatrics of lava gravy! A huge congratulations to 10th North Leeds for taking home the trophy and a big thanks to Richard Trout (ADC Scouts) for the invite, and the very creative wooden spoon prizes!


I should also mention a rare non-Scouting evening out to watch the City of Leeds Youth Orchestra, made even more impressive knowing it features a number of our Scouts! I’ve had the pleasure of watching them (and their partner Wind Orchestra) a number of times now and it’s brilliant to hear. Mya, Eleanor, Billy, Josh, Kai are just a few of our talented musical members!


Finally it was great to be invited to join the NCS Project Board as part of one of our National Programmes of work exploring 14-25 provision.  It was a fascinating insight into how two brilliant organisations can work together to provide even more Skills for Life to Young People.  Although Gilwell Park would’ve being a more idyllic setting than Microsoft Teams it was nonetheless a great afternoon with fellow volunteers and staff members who bring with them a wealth on enthusiasm and experience.

I have of course omitted to note the suspension of face-to-face Scouting that occurred this month as part of our Covid-19 response.  I have written a little more about this here but I would echo the notion that Scouting continues just in a different format however now more than ever other pressures and priorities are held on our Young People and Adults alike.

April’s Blog might be a challenge but speak then!

Don’t forget, you can always contact us at  We love being invited to things (Virtually)! You can also keep up to date on Twitter: @mathewmilner @sophieheadcyc @taylorscaifecyc

See you Later,



A Stormy Month!

February flew by but it remained packed full of exciting Scouting and as always we made sure to try get involved in as much as possible.

One of my first visits this month was to South Leeds & Morley’s Patrol Leaders Weekend in Drighlington amidst Storm Ciara . It was brilliant to see Gareth, Darren and leaders from across the District supporting our Young People to develop their leadership skills with the aim of delivering an event in the Summer which I look forward to joining!

This role offers so many opportunities and one of my favourites is easily engaging with our Child Friendly Leeds partners. This is especially exciting in February when the annual Child Friendly Leeds Awards are held. I’m proud to be part of an organisation doing so much for young people in Leeds (& Wakefield!) and had a great time joined by Ian (CC), Katie (AS Manager Aldwark), Sophie (DCYC) and Mya (North Leeds DYC).

Highlight of this month has to be our annual weekend away with our County Youth Team! We went to Aldwark where we have to thank the crew for their hospitality and support when Storm Dennis began to disrupt proceedings. Weather aside, we had a really productive weekend and left with a renewed sense of direction and vision- Watch this space! We even went entirely vegetarian for the weekend- Does that earn us our Youth Commissioners’ Challenge Badge?!

Finally I rounded off the end of the month with a visit to our Development Camp at Bramhope. Storm Jorge didn’t dampen anyones enjoyment as they climbed the tower, go karted, crafted and plenty more! Grateful to Anna (ADC Development SLaM) for pulling the weekend together offering even more Young People the incredible experience of a night away; ably supported by a fab team of ADC’s, DTA’s, DCC’s and plenty of other acronyms!

On a personal note, I also received my Wood Badge and my Nights Away Permit this month- Neither possible without the support of the inspirational volunteers around me.

What a month! That’s not even mentioning the visits and meetings with Wetherby Whalers ESU, Cllr. Lisa Mulherin, CFL and our great Scout and Explorer Teams.

I have to finish with the biggest congratulations to Lois Priestley, a Scout from Shire Oak who has being elected as a Member of the Youth Parliament for Leeds. We’re all so proud of you Lois and can’t wait to see what you get up to in your new role!

Don’t forget, you can always contact us at We love being invited to things! You can also keep up to date on Twitter: @mathewmilner @sophieheadcyc @taylorscaifecyc



See you Later,



A New Month. A New Year. A New Decade!

January’s always an exciting time with lot’s of new things happening, and plenty of exciting things continuing. Here’s a few things the Youth Commissioners and County Youth Team have being up to!

My first meeting in the year was with our Challenge 20 Youth Board- How else do you start?! It was a great day and it’s brilliant to see a group of Young People continue to fundamentally shape our largest County Eve

The real focus point this month has being launching our brand NEW Youth Commissioners’ Challenge for 2020. It’s focussed all around the Climate Emergency and encouraging Young People and Adults to play their part in creating a better world. Take a look at the page on the website to find out how you can get involved


Ian, Taylor, Sophie, Lois and I spent a great morning at Drax Power Station filming our promotional video and we then had a brilliant evening at The Carriageworks Theatre launching our award.

We’re hugely grateful to everyone that came along and supported us, as well as Leeds City Council and Drax for their continued support. I’ve being really inspired working with Lois on this award, a Scout in Shire Oak who’s passion for Environmental Activism is infectious! We can’t wait to see what groups get up to and look forward to presenting some badges!

It’s also being a month of sectional meetings. We’ve got another incredible year of activities planned for our Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers. Cinema Trips, Water Activity Days and Escape and Evade Events to name but a few! What’s truly special is that we have at least one Young Person (and often several) at these meetings to offer their vital input and influence.


I also had the pleasure of spending a weekend camping… Okay I use the word camping loosely, with St Chads Cubs at Blackhills. It was brilliant fun. Thanks to Carrie, who also happens to be our ACC Cubs for the invitation!






February looks to be just as exciting! We’ve got an evening with Explorers planning a brand new Crime Prevention Badge, The Child Friendly Leeds Awards and our Annual Weekend Away with the County Youth Team.

Don’t forget, you can always contact us at We love being invited to things! You can also keep up to date on Twitter: @mathewmilner @sophieheadcyc @taylorscaifecyc

See you Later,


Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls