Major fundraising appeal for Calne Scout group’s hall extension

This Is Wiltshire: Calne Scouts excited about the possibility of an extension to their hut Calne Scouts excited about the possibility of an extension to their hut

Members of the Calne Scouts, who have met in the same building for 50 years, are about to embark on a fundraising campaign to raise more than £12,000 towards the cost of an extension.

Generations of young scouts have met in the scout hut at Quarr Barton and the extension is expected to cost about £250,000, most of which it is hoped will come from grants and donations.

The group, which celebrated its centenary this year, has more than 100 members aged six to 18 who use the hall four nights a week.

Planning permission for a ground floor extension to the rear of the hall was granted in September and now the scouts hope to raise the rest of the money needed for the extension by fundraising and applying for grants.

They decided to build an extension after a request from The Nighthawk Explorers Unit, who meet in a converted pre-cast concrete garage at the rear of the main building, known as Jabba the hut, due to a lack of space.

It has already taken the group three years to apply for planning permission and raise the funds to pay for this.

Chairman Mike Curry said the building was so old it needed a makeover, as the group has issues with storage space and struggles to hold large group activities.

He hopes the extension will double the amount of children able to use the building.

He said: “Recently we went on a night hike with a number of other scout groups.

“We used the hut as a starting base and then the children went back there to sleep.

“Having one hall makes it quite difficult, it didn’t allow the adults to sleep at the same time as the children. A second hall would give us the opportunity to run parallel activities and to run more sessions at the same time.”

Planning permission to extend the building ends in three years time, so the group hopes to raise the money in two years.

Mr Curry said: “We are providing quite a significant service and we are developing children to be good members of the community.

“They can look back on their experiences and apply them to the future.”

Mr Curry also appealed for volunteers.

He said: “The scouts can’t work without volunteers and it would be great if there were people there who could help. We need people who can manage the finances and we need more people on board to help with fundraising.

“The hut is there for the community too – it’s widely used by the Calne Silver Band, art clubs and amateur dramatic societies.

“The whole town needs to be behind this, it needs to be everyone.”

During the planning process the scouts received support from several local schools, including St Dunstan Primary School, Fynamore Community School and Heddington Primary School, as well as residents and parents.

Parent John Forsyth, of Shelburne Road, said: “My son spent some four years with the scout movement in Calne where he made new friends, learned useful skills and enjoyed himself.

“It would be a shame if others were prevented from having similar experiences just owing to a lack of space.”

Anyone interested in donating can contact First Calne Scouts through their Facebook page.

 

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