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Celebrating our 140th Anniversary

‘Raise the Bar’ is a challenge for Leaders and Companies to build on the quality of what we offer as an organisation.

There is already so much we can be proud of, but can we do more? ‘Raise the Bar’ is set around 10 challenges for each Company, focussed on raising the quality of experience for children and young people.

This challenge is all about asking the question ‘How can we do better?’. It’s about taking time to consider our approach to specific areas of our work, looking at what needs to change and setting targets to strive for.

Ten challenges have been put together which we believe are clear and realistic for each and every Company to tackle during the session. It’s not an exhaustive list, but we believe these are some of the essential building blocks.

Why this Challenge?


Some Companies are growing, in the 2018-2019 session around 500 Companies grew in number. However, the statistics show that even more Companies are in decline, and statistics show we have lost around 1200 members in the same session. Also, for the first time in many years we noticed a decline in adult leaders too.

Over the past few years a number of initiatives have been used to encourage growth and you may recall the Growing Better and One for All campaigns. These campaigns have had some success in encouraging Companies to look at recruitment and there are good news stories of Companies that have increased in number, with some doubling or trebling their strength. Alongside these campaigns the Brigade has provided numerous resources including free recruitment materials.

Focussing on recruitment initiatives and the growth agenda has had some success, but our experience tells us that real and sustained growth will only be achieved through focussing on the quality of our work. We have heard lots of positive stories where through a Company reviewing what they do they have turned things around, from a position where they were struggling, to a position where they are reaching capacity or bursting over that. With this comes a huge sense of achievement and renewed enthusiasm. Company Health Checks and the Company Development Scheme are resources to support Company Development. They assist Companies in reviewing the quality of what they offer, but have they really been taken up and used? Has your Company used these resources?

We all know that we now face much more competition from other groups and from young people who are isolated and it is often difficult to attract members in an online age. Nevertheless, other youth organisations like the Scouts and Cadets are reporting overall increases in membership on a national level. If this is the case, surely where we are seeing a decline in numbers we need to be asking ourselves why this is? Why are we not able to retain members or see new members coming along when another youth group down the road is? Perhaps our instinct when numbers are low is to put some leaflets through doors or do a school assembly, but is that the real answer? Is it not more about looking at what we offer, how we go about it and what changes we need to make? We need to push the boundaries in everything that we do to ensure that we are supporting and equipping our leaders to deliver the best possible youth and children’s work.

10 Challenges for Companies

It has been fantastic to see so many Companies take on the 10 challenges over the last few sessions and we encourage you to keep revisiting these or even come up with your own.

It’s not necessarily about trying to tackle everything at once, but start out by looking at 2-3 and take it from there. It may be you have already done some of these or have made a start, it’s not a race or competition, but we would like everyone to think of it as a set of challenges to take on.

Check out the 10 Challenges for Companies

So, having read the challenges we hope you feel ready to get involved in the campaign. Remember to be realistic about what you can achieve, set out to make positive changes based on the challenges and celebrate each and every achievement along the way.

Make a Pledge by downloading and completing our Pledge Poster which has space to add details on how you are getting involved in the campaign. You can then display your pledge on your noticeboard to let others know what you are doing.

Battalion/District Challenges

Raise the Bar is not just about Companies, but there are also 10 challenges for Battalions and Districts to encourage our local support networks to review the quality of what they offer. The Brigade will also be doing its part by providing resources and support to assist you in taking on the challenges through the Gazette, e-BB News and website.

Get in touch with others & share

Good luck and remember we are all in this together and there to support each other, so please get in touch with other Companies, speak to Leaders in your Battalion/District and get in touch with Regional/UK & RoI Headquarters about the challenges we each face.

We would love to hear what you are getting up to and would encourage you to share your thoughts and stories on social media using #RaiseTheBarBB. Post your pledge on social media using our ‘pledge’ graphic.


  • Raise the Bar Logo pack (ZIP file).
  • 10 Challenges for Companies – list of challenges with space to make notes.
  • 10 challenges for Battalions and Districts – list of challenges with space to make notes.
  • Pledge Poster (A4 size) with a space to add details on how you are getting involved in the campaign which you can display on your noticeboard to let others know what you are doing.
  • Campaign Posters (A4 size with 3 designs) which can be displayed to acknowledge your involvement in the Raise the Bar campaign.
  • Social Media Pledge Media Post on social media to share your pledge, in the post share what you are getting up to.
  • Company Presentation (PowerPoint/PDF) – includes notes and tips for the presenter.
  • Battalion/District Presentation (PowerPoint/PDF) – includes notes and tips for the presenter.