‘The Home of Scouting’
Gilwell Park is an International Scout Activity Centre and Training Centre situated in North-East London, on the edge of Epping Forest. It is a safe environment where young people and adults alike can try out new activities, learn team-building skills, develop new friendships and have FUN.
Scouting at Gilwell Park began in 1919, providing the lasting home that Baden-Powell wanted for his new Movement. The site was a gift from a Scottish businessman who was moved to help Scouting after seeing Scouts operating in streets and on waste ground in the East End of London. Gilwell’s location made it possible for these young people to have easy access to a quiet rural environment they could call their own.
Diversity and Flexibility
Still helping young people from all backgrounds today, Gilwell has grown into a multi-purpose training, recreational and accommodation centre covering 108 acres. It provides visitors locally, nationally and internationally with opportunities to participate in a wide range of activities from a morning on the climbing wall to an intensive week-long leadership course.
Home to the largest Scout Group in the World
Scouting is a truly international Movement and Gilwell’s work is recognised throughout the world. Scout Leaders in over 150 countries are still awarded the Wood Badge on completing their training, a tradition begun at Gilwell by Baden-Powell himself and then becoming members of the 1st Gilwell Park Scout Group, the largest Scout Group in the world.
Scouts doing what they do so well
Scouting is dedicated to providing a balanced programme of activities, offering fun and friendship and promoting values-based team skills. The Movement is widely acknowledged for its unique place in society and the difference it makes. Quite simply, there is no other organisation doing what Scouting does on the scale that Scouting does it. Gilwell embodies all that is best about Scouting: a willingness to embrace new cultures and experiences, the ability to provide a flexible range of training, activities for everyone and above all, a capacity for change.
Why is the Development Needed?
From its earliest days Gilwell’s reputation for excellent and imaginative training courses and its unique camping facilities has meant it has always been popular and is now over-subscribed.
The truth is that Gilwell has become a victim of its own success. Its facilities are now stretched to the limit and without investment its future as a first rate year-round centre for activities, training and residential use is uncertain.
Investment in the future
There is strong evidence of Gilwell’s enduring appeal and capacity to deliver facilities and outdoor activity programmes for young people, which are still very much in demand. The first of the new lodges, the Branchet Lodge, was already booked for all its weekends a full year before it had a roof and it has continued to attract visitors in great numbers since it opened.
Gilwell currently welcomes over 40,000 Scouts each year. Each year it also provides facilities and training for over 10,000 non-Scout visitors. Once the development has been completed Gilwell will be able to offer courses and accommodation to 50% more Scouts and young people as well as a broader range of facilities and activities to a wider range of young people.
Much more to offer
A site with such a rich past and so many natural advantages deserves to be developed to maximise its impact on the Scouting Movement and its local area. With so much enthusiasm, knowledge and expertise on hand it clearly has a great deal more to offer.
Examples of non-Scout uses
“Leadership training delivered at Gilwell is now recognised by many of the UK top FTSE companies and there has been a significant increase in the take up of Gilwell’s corporate leadership development programme. The corporate sector has identified the need to foster leadership skills among its young workforce. Inspired young people are the future and lifeblood of our company who use Gilwell training regularly as part of our graduate intake programme”
Gareth Humphries of British Aerospace
“As an organisation dedicated to working with underprivileged young people from East London, Toynbee Hall relies on the facilities and expertise of Gilwell Park and The Scout Association. More than anything, we use Gilwell Park to introduce vulnerable young people, often for the first time, to the countryside and things they can do as an alternative to getting into trouble. We receive tremendous understanding and support from campsite staff"
Nick Godden, Toynbee Hall