Retention: Council Youth Services

Cambridge District Scout Archive


See Children’s Leisure time and the state

1948    ‘We must bear in mind the fierce competition for the over 15 age group from the Youth Service, whereas the under 15 is largely left to the voluntary bodies.’      W T Thurbon in a confidential analysis of census circulated to Executive Committee and Group Scoutmasters.

Early in the war the leisure needs of those outside school over the age of 14 became the responsibility of the council.  This move was initiated by concerns raised evacuated children, the anticipated needs of the Forces and the needs of families with fathers at war and mothers engaged in the war effort.  A need was seen to persist after the war and the local authorities entered the field.

Co ordination between youth groups had existed throughout the 20th century with the council providing grants directly or through delegated bodies.  The names change often and the responsibilities are not clear from Scout records.

After the Second World War Councils became more directly involved providing Council lead Youth Clubs. A notable example is the Howard Mallett centre. Howard Mallett was involved in Scouting for many years and later became a Councillor and Mayor. He was known as the Scouting Mayor and his long term concern for youth services was honoured in the naming of this centre. The funding of activities run by other bodies did not cease but with an in house alternative funds were split.

W T Thurbon’s analysis of the figures that remained in Scouting over the age of 15 in 1948 are           7:1      under 15: over 15

The anticipated figures would be                   7:3     under 15: over 15    

Nevertheless, an analysis in 1951 by W T Thurbon, suggested that Cambridge was ahead of the national average in numbers retained by age.  Putting aside the Cambridge University Rovers which strongly distorted the Rover figures this is probably attributable to the strength of the school based groups the 5th, 7th and 60th.  Strong groups not specifically affiliated to a school were the 12th, 13th and 23rd which all formed strong groups across all Sections.

JWR Archivist Jan 2019