Adapting & changing

Adapting & changing

Autumn 2023
Jonathan Eales

Chief Executive


Over the last three years we have all had to adapt to some enormous changes in our lives, and it hasn’t always been easy.

As an organisation The Boys’ Brigade has also seen significant adaption and change over these years as well.

As we head towards our 140th birthday of working with young people I think it’s fair to say that today’s world is a significantly different place to the one faced by our founder in 1883. Over the years The Boys’ Brigade has endeavoured to adapt to the changing world, and we will no doubt need to continue to adapt and change in the years to come.

Throughout this period of social change, The Boys’ Brigade has remained a constant, equipping generation after generation of young people, and providing opportunities to live life to the full and explore their faith.

Our foundations remain strong – our identity as a Christian youth organisation that seeks to advance Christ’s kingdom, and the central role that our volunteer leaders play in sustaining our work with children and young people. This issue of the Gazette is focused on celebrating what our volunteer leaders do and the impact they have on young lives in communities across the country (see our Vision article on page 6, written by one of our under 26 Trustees)

In September it feels appropriate to be returning to Glasgow for Brigade Conference, our AGM and recently announced EGM.

It would be fair to say that it’s been a particularly challenging session, navigating our way through two significant and complex matters – the sale of Felden Lodge and proposed separation of the BB in Northern Ireland.
At times I’ve thought it would be helpful to have a manual to pick off the shelf with a step by step guide of what to do in these situations. Unfortunately there isn’t one, however we are guided by our faith, our values, and by a desire to put children and young people first.

Earlier this year, with the support of external funding, filming took place in five different Companies across England & Scotland to talk to young people about the benefits and barriers to being part of the Brigade. I was fortunate enough to be able to see some of the filming that took place in Sheffield. Hearing young people describing the benefits of being part of the BB family has easily been one of my personal highlights during this session.

Finally, I was delighted that the Brigade was awarded significant funding from the Uniformed Youth Fund for the next two years. This recognition of the value of our work has allowed us to invest in our staff capacity and deliver even more support to leaders, aligned to our five-year Strategic Plan, and responding to the needs identified in last year’s Company Census.
Although the past session has had its challenges, or bumps in the road as I like to refer to them, there is also much to celebrate, and to give thanks to God for.

With every blessing for the new session ahead.

The Boys’ Brigade has been a major part of my life. I’ve met some of my closest friends here, my family is basically here.”

Luke, a leader at 133rd London