Post People: Scout leader helped generations of children in Barking and Dagenham

Scout leader Steve May, 65, has helped to give life skills to children for more than four decades.

The father-of-two met his wife Jill, the district commissioner of Barking and Dagenham Scouts, through the movement.

They are both teaching assistants and live in Rothwell Road, Dagenham.

I have been involved with the Scouts for over 40 years. It’s a commitment. We’re one of the largest educational organisations in the world. It has taken boys and girls for over 20 years.

The main aim of Scouting is to turn young people into good citizens.We take them from six as beavers and then cubs at eight. They play co-operatively. There is a lot of badge work. We teach them about their environment. They also find out about religions other than their own.

We’re a faith based organisations. Our group meets at the Salvation Army in Ripple Road, Barking.

There are 15 groups in the district in Barking and Dagenham and about four more in Chadwell Heath, which are not part of the district.

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Some have their own headquarters. Others use church halls and schools.

We even have a Muslim Scout group at the Barking Mosque in Victoria Road that we opened a couple of years ago.

Leaders with time and commitment are needed to put something back into the community.

I wouldn’t say it’s one night a week though and all the leaders have to do some training.

The satisfaction is working with young people. You see children leave us much more confidence in themselves and occasionally we turn young tearaways around.

We’re a voluntary organisation. The young people are our main concern. We’re checked with the Criminal Records Bureau and we do safeguarding training.

My wife is the district commissioner and has been so for 14 years. She was a Guide leader before that. We’ve now been married for 40 years.

One of our children was one the first beavers in our district. On the whole most of the time it’s really good. We are helping to improve the lives of young people by example. Some families need help.