On this day in history : 18th April 1949 – 440,000 British Boy Scouts take part in the first ‘Bob-a-Job’ week to raise money for the Scout Association and for charity….
The idea had originally been introduced in 1914 by the Scout Association’s founder Lord Robert Baden-Powell as ‘Good Turn Day’…. It was a way of encouraging youngsters to lend a hand in the community….
In 1949 it became officially known as ‘Scout Job Week’ – but soon earned the nickname ‘Bob-a-Job’ on account of the expected shilling – or ‘bob’ – that would be popped into the fund-raising envelope on completion of the chore….
Unsupervised, young scouts would knock on the doors of their neighbourhood and ask if there were any odd jobs to be done…. They would wash cars, walk dogs, weed gardens, mow lawns, wash windows or clean shoes….. Some even became involved in cleaning jumbo jets at Heathrow Airport – or polishing the silverware at 10, Downing Street….
Bob-a-Job week traditionally took place around Easter time – as a way of keeping children occupied during the holidays…. The money raised would be split between the scouting headquarters and regional divisions….being used to provide equipment and to fund camping trips…. By the 1980s it was bringing in £100K per year, a valuable source of income for the Association…. However, during the 1990s the scheme was scrapped amid fears of health and safety and child protection….
Twenty years on it was reintroduced, albeit in a revamped format…. Now the scouts – boys and girls – work in organised, fully supervised groups on larger projects within the community….and collect donations and sponsorship for their efforts….