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Guest Profile

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Matt Hyde

Chief Executive, Scouts UK

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About Matt Hyde

Matt Hyde is Chief Executive of the Scouts, the UK’s largest coeducational youth movement. Formerly Chief Executive of the National Union of Students (NUS), he has undertaken a number of leadership roles in the charity sector and as Chief Executive of the Scouts has contributed to a period of record membership growth since he joined in 2013.  


He has overseen the development and delivery of two major strategic plans, a rebrand, award-winning campaigns and has spearheaded work to support the growth of Scouting in areas of deprivation.

His volunteer work is equally important.  As a trustee of Step Up To Serve, he has helped change the conversation about youth volunteering, attracting support and investment to grow youth social action. Matt is also a trustee of Comic Relief, a Patron of UNLOCK (the charity for people with convictions) and was previously Vice-Chair of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).  He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from Queen Mary University of London in 2012.

Episode Overview (29 Nov 2020)

CEO of the Scouts UK, Matt Hyde, talks candidly about painful decisions taken on restructuring, redundancies and disposing of assets in the face of COVID-19. Invaluable insight on weathering the storm


Scouting prepress young people with skills for life. It has been around for 113 years and is active in 190 countries. There are 53 million scouts worldwide and 460,000 in the UK. Moreover, there are 160,000 adult volunteers in the UK and 60,000 young people who are waiting to join the Scouts.


In the UK, the Scouts are a federation of 8,000 Scout charities. The organisation has numerous income streams and areas of operations.


Matt sheds light on the dynamics of how the Scouts operates in the UK and we discuss how different parts of the organisation have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.  He describes in detail the painful realisation over the late summer, 2020, that this pandemic wasn’t going to be going away quickly and, therefore, they needed a decisive plan.


Consequently, the team has been reduced from approximately 390 staff to around 260, and many property assets, including Baden-Powell House in central London, are being disposed.


This has been painful for the entire organisation and staff morale has clearly been affected. And, yet, there is a realisation of the importance of focusing on the Scouts’ mission and ensuring everything works towards achieving that.


Matt’s key takeaway for other leaders trying to weather the storm: The first thing is to go back to your mission. Ask yourself, is everything you’re doing furthering your mission?  And, are you taking those difficult but courageous decisions that you need to take?  Because, sometimes, to build the new you have to give up some of the past, and that’s difficult — and it’s emotionally difficult. We often don’t talk enough about the emotional drain on leaders. It’s about a mindset shift that says, OK, we’re going to build something new and therefore we’re going to take these difficult decisions. And then, ask how are you adapting your strategy in order to deliver that — in order to return to a time when you can be more optimistic about the future. You have to go to the depths of those difficult moments to come out on the other side.


Episode Overview (14 July 2019)

Chief Executive of the Scouts UK, Matt Hyde, joins Alberto Lidji to discuss inclusivity, growth and why Scouting transforms lives in 193 countries. 


Matt Hyde introduces listeners to the global Scout movement and to the Scouts in the UK.  Scouting was set up in 1907 and today has approximately 50 million Scouts in 193 countries.  The organisation aims to prepare young people, aged 6 to 25 (exact ages vary in different countries), with skills for life. 


In the UK, there are 460,000 young people participating in the Scouts and 160,000 adult volunteers. Interestingly, there are currently 60,000 young people waiting to join the Scouts in the UK – this waiting list is due to a need for additional adult volunteers. 


Matt sheds light on how to join the Scouts, what it entails and how it transforms lives.  He gives listeners visibility into his own personal journey in the Scouts.  He got into the Scouts as a young child, which set him on a leadership development path and, now, he finds himself as the Chief Executive of the Scouts in the UK.


Matt also provides insight into their corporate strategy.  We hear how the Scouts in the UK are considering expanding their provision into the ‘Early Years’ for participants aged 4 and 5. Encouragingly, they have received funding to run 40 pilots from diverse funders. 


For the next four years, the Scouts are looking to add another 50,000 participants, reach out to and engage with people living in deprived areas; inclusion is of vital importance and they want to ensure that Scouting in the UK represents modern British society on all fronts -- gender equality, LGBT+ issues, race, ethnicity and more.


When defining success for the next few years, Matt is focused on growth, inclusivity, ensuring that the Scouts are shaped by young people, and achieving substantive community impact.

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Additional Resources

Matt Hyde on Twitter

Matt Hyde on LinkedIn

The Scouts UK

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