Carbon monoxide awareness programme

The Scout Association

Reducing carbon monoxide harm among 350,000 young people

Our project at a glance

  • Partner GDNs: Cadent, Northern Gas Networks, SGN and Wales & West Utilities
  • Strategic priority area: Reducing carbon monoxide harm
  • Support target: 86,250 households per year
  • Duration: August 2021 to August 2024
  • Investment: £300,000 over three years
  • Forecast SROI: £1.81

I knew my boiler needed changing as it’s very old, but I was waiting for my extension to be completed before purchasing a new one. I checked on it the other day and noticed condensation on the window. I remembered that was a sign it was leaking carbon monoxide so have since replaced it. I wouldn’t have known this was a sign if I hadn’t taken part in a GDN activity.

Kathy O’Brien

Head of Corporate Partnerships, Scouts

Why we’re working together

While young people are one of the demographics most at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, they’re also one of the groups least aware of the dangers of CO.

Every week, The Scouts help almost half a million young people develop skills for life, with nights away and camping forming an integral part of scouting.

We’re proudly leading a collaborative partnership with The Scouts that enables us to reduce CO harm among large numbers of young people nationally. Our activity programme equips young people with safety knowledge and life skills that transcend their meetings and camping expeditions – we’re equipping young people with important skills that may one day save a life.

By engaging with Scouts, we’re able to educate whole households about the dangers of CO as younger people, particularly those between the ages of 5 and 11, share learning with their families. With young people becoming ambassadors for CO safety, we’re able to extend the reach of our awareness-raising activities to other at-risk and hard-to-reach age groups and communities.

Project objectives

  • Raising carbon monoxide awareness among 350,000 young people
  • Creating a range of engaging and interactive activities to help young people understand the signs and symptoms of CO poisoning
  • Educating young people on what to do if they suspect CO is present in their home
Media library image
2 girls and one boy wearing blue beavers uniforms

How we’re working together

Home Safety Badge for Cubs

In collaboration with the other gas networks, we’ve spearheaded the co-design of an updated Home Safety Badge for Cubs aged eight to 10.

The badge teaches Cubs how to prevent accidents at home, through activities including making a carbon monoxide safety checklist, finding out what CO is and where it comes from, and learning what to do in a gas emergency.

More than 21,400 Cubs have been awarded our sponsored Home Safety Badge since February 2022, having actively taken steps to protect their homes and families from carbon monoxide.

Activities for all scouting sections

In addition to the Cubs Home Safety Badge, we’ve introduced six other activities that are tailored to the differing needs and interests of young people across four Scouting sections – Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers.

Our newest set of activities includes useful camping recipes embedded with CO safety information and a new mystery game where players must identify what the undetected danger is.

Our ‘Solving a carbon monoxide mystery’ game resonated so well with Scouts, that it was one of the top searches on the entire Scout Association website in March 2023.

CO education for leaders and volunteers

This appetite to increase CO awareness-raising activities beyond our initial programme is reflected in the organisation’s training for adult volunteers. We’ve linked The Scouts with another of our programme partners, Gas Safe Charity, to design a bespoke training programme to educate and empower Scout leaders to engage young people around CO safety.

How to get involved

Educating your Scout group on CO safety

If you’re involved in Scouting and would like more information about the CO safety activities and resources available for your section, please visit The Scouts website.

The passion and enthusiasm from the gas networks, but particularly from Dan Edwards from SGN, has been hugely important in allowing us to activate all elements of this partnership. He has supported us immensely to explore ways of bringing the vitally important CO messaging to young people and leaders, and we look forward to seeing the impact multiply as the partnership continues.

Adan Freeman

Partnerships Account Manager, The Scouts