A GROWING number of people in Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire are getting involved in Scouting.

A census has revealed that within Paisley and District Scouts, which covers both areas, the number of young people signing up has soared by 28 per cent in the last decade, while the number of adults volunteering has gone up by 56 per cent.

In East Renfrewshire, home of the 1st Barrhead, 3rd Barrhead and 1st Neilston groups, it is boom time for Scouting, with membership rising from 122 in 2008 to 188 today – and the number of adults lending their time going up from 29 to 70.

For Paisley and District Commissioner Iain McNair, who was newly appointed to the role two months ago, it points to a bright future for Scouting.

He said: “These numbers show how much the Paisley and District group has contributed to the nationwide increase in Scout members, which is good news for everyone.”

Mr McNair, 50, believes there are clear reasons for the rise in popularity for Scouting.

“I think it’s down to young people and parents looking for something better to do that is outdoors, safe and away from the monotony of computer screens,” he said.

“It also shows how much trust families put in the Scouting network and the qualified and skilled individuals who they leave their children with.

The main way someone gets involved with Scouting is word of mouth – and that’s from young people hearing how great it is to be involved from their friends at school or even parents hearing about the benefits at the school gate.”

Mr McNair, who is a teacher and former engineer, has been involved with Scouting directly since the age of eight.

He said: “We always say we’re the biggest gang in the world and I was happy to take on the position of District Commissioner and give back to something that has given me so much.

“We now want to bring more leaders in to get involved, as that is the surest way of continuing this increase in membership, and one of our key priorities is to reach out to more deprived areas.

“We do cover areas hit by poverty and deprivation already and we recently started a group in Ferguslie, which has massive implications for working towards this goal.”