The Scout Association launched their first new brand in 35 years today to support early years children as communities rebuild from the Covid pandemic.

Adventurer and TV presenter Bear Grylls has backed the decision to introduce the Squirrels, which aims to take four and five-year-olds on outdoor adventures, help them make friends and learn essential life skills.

Reading parents can enrol their children at the 1st Ufton Nervet Scout Group in Pang Valley, one of 200 Squirrels locations across the country.

Bear Grylls, chief scout, said: “I'm so glad that younger children will now have the chance to join our family of Scouts and develop skills for life.

“We know from our pilot programme that four to five-year-olds can really benefit from the activities that Squirrels offers.

“All of us at the Scouts believe that by offering opportunities at this early age, inspiring a sense of wonder, fun and curiosity, we can have a long-lasting, positive impact on young people’s lives.”

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New Squirrels will learn how to pitch a blanket tent, plant seeds or how to spend 50p in a local shop, earning them brand new badges like Feel Good, Be Active or Explore Outdoors.

Matt Hyde, CEO, Scouts said: “Squirrels is part of our commitment to help young people, families and communities come back stronger from the pandemic.

"Our mission at Scouts is to equip young people with skills for life, and what we learn up to 5 years old lays the building blocks for everything that follows.

"If you’re four, you’ve spent a third of your life in lockdowns. We know this has especially impacted children in communities hardest hit by the pandemic.

"That’s why we are opening the first Squirrel dreys in the communities that need it most.”

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To roll-out the programme UK-wide, the Scouts Association is calling on adults to volunteer.

Jess Fortune, Squirrels pilot group leader said: “Being a Squirrels volunteer is amazing. The programme is built to help 4 and 5 year olds develop teamwork, communication and creativity.

"I have learnt so much as a volunteer, I hope more people volunteer so that children everywhere can experience these brilliant opportunities”