THE number of Scouts in Oxfordshire has continued to rise with more than 400 joining the movement in the past year.

An annual census shows there are 7,905 members in Oxfordshire compared with 7,500 in 2013.

And that is about 50 per cent on its 5,349 members in 2005.

A record numbers of girls are also joining county groups, with 104 more since 2013 to make a total of 1,220 female members.

Deputy county commissioner Alec Stanworth said the movement was now more inclusive.

He said: “We have had groups set up in mosques, for example the 54th Oxford is an all-Muslim group, and some of these groups have been really successful at bringing communities together.

“As part of our plan going forward we are trying to set up a group at Oxford Children’s Hospital at the John Radcliffe like they have at Great Ormond Street Hospital.”

Christ Church College geography student Becky Alexander, 21, who organises county camps, said: “Being a Scout leader is one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done.

“It’s something I can do on a flexible basis when I have enough time to spare. It’s great helping young people in my local area get the most out of life and watching them develop week in-week out. I’ve also picked up loads of transferrable skills that I’m able to use in my job and wider life.”

Scouting numbers have continued to rise for the ninth consecutive year with a total membership of more than 550,000.

Chief Scout Bear Grylls said: “I am super proud to see so many young people and adults learning new life skills, achieving personal rewards through Scouting in Oxfordshire.

“I am excited to see Scout numbers continue to rise across the UK and the big reasons for this are that more and more young people are realising that Scouting can give them so much – whether it’s the opportunity to be involved with some incredible adventures, learn practical life, outdoor and teamwork skills, or helping to improve their local communities.

“People don’t want to miss out and Scouting brings them all together, empowers them and allows them to make a positive impact.”

The Scout Association was founded in 1910 by soldier and writer Robert Baden-Powell.

It is planning to recruit another 58,000 more young people, as well as 18,000 more adult volunteers, by 2018.