Consett scout hut to be ready next month

by James Powell

Consett scout hut to be ready next month

A flagship scout hut for two groups in north Durham is expected to be ready in time for the first May Bank Holiday.

Work on the £300,000 development for 1st Consett and 1st Blackhill started two years ago and is nearing completion.

The purpose-built community facility on Constance Street in Consett will cater for over 100 boys and girls in seven groups aged six to 14.

They are currently meeting across four sites at St Andrew’s Church, Consett Methodist Church, St Patrick’s School and Blackhill Baptist Church.

Rob Chester, Blackhill scout leader, said: “At the minute we have sections dotted around in and about Consett and we are paying a lot of rent out.

“It made economic sense to join forces and create this flagship scout hut.

“There are obvious problems associated with running a scout group from a different place to where you store your equipment, such as collecting it and working out what you need. Here, it is on hand and very easy and accessible.”

The land on which the old dilapidated hut stood was donated by the Consett group for the new headquarters and Blackhill contributed £80,000 brought in from the sale of their premises and fundraising activities.

The groups have received a grant of £50,000 from the Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation and the Garfield Weston Foundation, £7,000 from the Project Genesis Trust.

Durham county councillors awarded £60,000 from their neighbourhood budgets towards the new facilities.

The project has also been supported by the local business community which has rallied round to donate equipment and donate cash.

Consett group treasurer Carol Smith said: “We will be able to do everything involved in modern scouting. We are going to bring adventure to all.

“There are so many opportunities for youngsters in the Scouts. It is something that you could not possible get at school. It is open to every child. Everybody is included.”

The group is looking for adult volunteers to become leaders to help look after the groups and training will be given once people have passed a DBS check for child protection purposes.

Sean Forster, assistant scout leader at Consett, said the children enjoy learning life skills, cooking, camping, games and socialising with friends.

Seven-year-old Ellis Waites, who attends the Beaver group with his dad Stuart Jobburn, said: “The new hut is very good and everyone is very excited about it opening.”

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Source: thenorthernecho

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