Communications provider Plusnet today announces a partnership with Scouts to enable youngsters to take the skills they develop into an online space.
The Plusnet x Scouts: Preparing for the Future collaboration launched with a digital camp at Scouts HQ in Gilwell Park, which took place across the weekend of 9th and 10thNovember 2019. Scouts from Sheffield and London gathered to help solve problems relating to important topics like the environment, mental health and homelessness – showing young people how the power of the internet can be a force for positive change.
To inform the weekend, Plusnet conducted research on the real-world issues that young people care about today, discovering that:
- 65% felt that plastic pollution was the biggest problem affecting the environment today
- 45% said that online bullying was the biggest cause of mental health issues in young people
- 56% felt a lack of support and understanding from society was the biggest issue facing people living with hidden disabilities
Working with The Raspberry Pi Foundation, the hackathon saw young people use the power of online connectivity to code solutions to these issues.
The inventions included:
- A digital diary which translates emotional words to emojis for people with autism
- A gamified basketball style bin which rewards people who recycle
- An app that tracks carbon footprints and rewards good decisions with points to get environment-friendly products like LED lights and metal straws
- A timed flashing light which can help regulate breathing for people suffering from panic attacks
- A happy bot that recognises faces and gives compliments to people suffering with loneliness
William, 11, Scout from Sheffield, speaking at the weekend about his team’s digital autism diary, said: “We did it for autism because some of our friends have autism and we thought it’d be nice to help. We all got to do different parts of the making process. A bit of coding, making the case, a bit of rushing around and a bit of researching.”
Safa, 14, Scout from Newham, said: “Because of climate change, we’ve decided to create a bin target that uses technology to stop littering. In general, Scouting is quite in touch with nature and in future we want to preserve that and the environment.”
The weekend culminated in presentations of the inventions to a Dragon’s Den style judging panel made up of representatives from Plusnet, Scouts, The Raspberry Pi Foundation and TV presenter Reggie Yates. Each Scout in attendance also received a Plusnet x Scouts one-off badge created especially for the weekend.
Reggie Yates commented: “I’ve seen so many amazing inventions this weekend and it really demonstrates the power of technology, especially in the hands of these brilliant young people. The Plusnet x Scouts: Preparing for the Future project is a testament to these young minds and some of the ideas I’ve seen this weekend have been truly inspirational.”
With Scouts’ ambition being to prepare young people with skills for life, the Plusnet x Scouts: Preparing for the Future brings this mission into the digital age – marrying Plusnet’s online capabilities with the Scouts’ thirst for developing skills that benefit their communities and the world around them.
Following the event, young people from across the UK can also try their hand at using their digital skills for social good by downloading their own Hack at Home Pack at newsroom.plus.net/Scouts.
To make a lasting commitment to the partnership, starting with 100 locations, Plusnet will connect Scout HQs across the UK with free broadband to allow groups to be prepared in an online world as well as offline.
Simon Carter, Head of Media at Scouts said “We are delighted to work with Plusnet on this partnership. Plusnet plan to help connect Scout’s HQ’s across the UK with broadband and their practical support will really help our volunteer leaders by making it easier to plan programmes and deliver innovative activities inside these Scout HQ’s.”
Speaking about the partnership, Andy Baker, CEO of Plusnet, said: “While Scouts may be known for teaching young people how to be prepared for life through traditional practical skills, we wanted to help take this into the digital age. By connecting Scouts HQs and facilitating ways for them to make positive changes through the power of the internet, we hope to create a lasting legacy that puts digital skills at the forefront of their amazing work.”