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Celebrating our 140th Anniversary

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Friday 29th July 2022

In the previous Gazette I spoke of the optimism that comes with Spring and the hope we can take from the Easter story, and here we are about to embrace the season of Autumn!

As BB leaders, the Autumn is a season of new beginnings too, as we welcome new members and bid farewell to those leaving for university or have come to the end of their journey as a young person. It is a time to plan ahead, reflect on what has worked well and what hasn’t, as well as introduce new activities to help attract and retain members.

As an organisation it is important that we take this approach too. Earlier this year we launched our first national census, and a big thank you to everyone that took the time to complete this. I am delighted that we have received responses from over 800 Companies and the initial findings will be presented at Brigade Conference in September.

It is vital that the priorities of the national organisation, as well as for Battalions and Districts, are shaped by the needs of Companies. Consulting with leaders through things like the Census should help ensure our decision making is based on the needs of members. We should remember that the current five-year strategy to improve the quality of experience of children and young people is a result of the independent research conducted on our behalf in 2019.

Just as our national priorities should be based on what members are telling us, so Company programmes must be shaped by the children and young people we serve.

The Vision article in this Gazette focuses on the voice of young people. They will always be our greatest ambassadors and advocates. I joined The Boys’ Brigade not because of some flashy recruitment campaign, but because my best friend at school was a member and encouraged me to give it a go.
Too often, the spokespeople for the organisation are middle-aged like me, and that isn’t good enough. I am determined that young people be the voice of the Brigade and the ones that shape the change the organisation requires to secure its future.

In October we are holding a residential for young leaders and I hope this will be the first step in creating a new network for young leaders to encourage and challenge each other, as well as providing opportunities to speak on behalf of the organisation.

I am also excited by the partnership we are launching with the University of Bolton focusing on raising the aspirations of teenagers. This is a five-year project and Companies will be receiving a range of programme resources aimed at the Company and Seniors age groups.

As we approach the start of a new session, let us remember that it is a privilege to serve children and young people, and that there is so much we can learn from them.

With every blessing for the new session,
Jonathan Eales
Chief Executive

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