Boys’ Brigade

The Boys’ Brigade

BB is the oldest uniformed youth organisation, founded in 1883 in Glasgow by William Alexander Smith.

It was originally organised in a military style and we have a legacy of that today in some of our terminology. The local unit is the "Company", companies in an area form a "Battalion". Those leaders who are trained and enrolled by BB are Warrant Officers, Lieutenants or, if in charge of a company, Captains.

Over the years, BB has developed its programmes of activities, keeping pace with the expectations of young people.

The national organisation sets standards for leader training, and safety and child protection policies.

BB Object, Badge and Motto

The Object of the Boy’s Brigade:

The advancement of Christ’s Kingdom among Boys and the promotion of habits of obedience, reverence, discipline, self respect and all that tends towards a true Christian manliness.

The Boy’s Brigade Badge is an anchor in front of a red cross with the Motto “Sure and Steadfast” which is taken from the Bible at Hebrews Chapter 6 Verse 19.

Founder and History


Award Scheme


Copyright © 2016 BB in SE Essex

The work of the BB covers four age groups (known as “Sections”) as follows:

Senior Section

(age 15-18 years)

Junior Section

(age 9-11 years)

Anchor Boys

(age 5-8 years)

Company Section

(age 12-15 years)

Not every Company has all four age groups and some have slightly different age limits. Often Company Section and Senior Section groups meet together.

An AMICUS group has an age range (14 - 22) which also allows girl members. The 24th SEE Company, at Hawkwell, has an AMICUS group instead of Seniors.

There is no typical BB programme - leaders plan their evenings to meet the needs and expectations of their own boys, ensuring that boys enjoy sufficient, varied activities to qualify for badges in the Award Schemes.

Members of the younger sections, Anchor Boys and Juniors usually enjoy games and crafts during their evening. This will include some form of Christian teaching, at a level appropriate to their age. There may be drama, music and stories as well.

Company and Senior Sections are even more varied. Sports and games usually feature prominently. Some companies offer participation in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme. Many of the ideas come from the "Discover" programme pack.

Most sections offer a tuck shop during their evening.

Members get out for trips, visits to the swimming pool and outings. There are many opportunities for groups to join together in competitions and fun events organised by Battalion, District or the Brigade. Sections may organise sleepovers or short camps depending on age. The week long Annual Camp is a highlight for many in Company and Senior Sections.

A company has a great deal of freedom to arrange its programme. The Brigade supports companies with programme material.

Church Affiliation

A BB Company is usually part of a Church, which appoints the leaders. The Church will ensure that BB leaders are aware of and comply with Child Protection policies.

The BB has Award Schemes by which boys can earn badges through participation in activities within the Company programme.

Discover LogoChallenge Plus LogoJuniors LogoAnchors Logo

As boys progress through the Awards Scheme they may have the opportunity to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and to achieve their BB President’s Badge and Queen’s Badge, the highest Award in the Boys’ Brigade.

Email enquiries about BB in SE Essex to the Battalion Secretary

The Boys' Brigade was founded in Glasgow on 4th October 1883 by Sir William Alexander Smith (pictured). From this one Company formed in Scotland the BB has grown in to a world wide movement having worked with millions of children and young people for well over a century.

The Boys’ Brigade celebrated its Centenary in 1983 and its 125th Anniversary in 2008.

Some BB Companies, where no alternative organisation for girls (e.g. Girls’ Brigade) exist, provide a Girls’ Association. The 1st and 22nd Southend-on-Sea Companies have a Girl’s Association.