Help Raise Additional Costs Due to Covid! #NewHQ
Our Current Stage…
We have our new acre of land with a secure perimeter fence where we have been able to begin developing structures including an obstacle course, outdoor chapel, campfire circle and wildlife pond. Groundworks have begun, however further developments are likely to stall due to an increase cost in building materials. With no building to return to in September, we need our New HQ more than ever!
The building we have secured has been designed for us, rearranged internally and refurbished to current standards.
Importantly, it has indoor toilets, running water, disabled access, safety glass and other essentials which our current headquarters does not feature. Please see the video below for more information on our previous headquarters.
Who we are and why we need a New Headquarters…
1st Fressingfield Scouts is a large vibrant group of 100+ young people from 6 to 25 years old – supported by around 20 adult leaders. We have recently left our previous rented, dilapidated hut which we could no longer use. Not only were there structural concerns, the previous building had no running water, no kitchen and was served by one poorly lit outside toilet.
These provisions were in no way suitable (especially amidst the Coronavirus outbreak), and with other groups being able to facilitate a phased return to face-to-face Scouting much earlier than us, the future of our historic Scout group is under threat.
(Below – One of our Beaver Colonies on a local walk)
What do 1st Fressingfield Scout Group Do?
We currently offer a huge range of activities for our members, including: camping, archery, shooting, water activities, arts & crafts, scouting skills, first aid training, leadership development, community engagement projects, motor sports and international expeditions (for older members) – recently to Kenya and Iceland. We support young people to complete their Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and a huge range of scout badge work – from pet care to gliding! We are a scout group that push the boundaries and aspire to provide an exceptional programme that delivers fun, friendship and challenge. Our existing HQ is now holding us back.
(Below – Scouts route planning)
Summary of why we need a New Headquarters…
- No toilets except single WC in Methodist Chapel
- No water supply except single tap in Chapel WC
- No proper access for wheelchairs and disabled
- Windows lack safety glass & some don’t open/close
- Roof requires costly repairs or replacement
- Building shows subsidence in one corner
- Parking compromises traffic on New Street
- Growth of Scout Group requires more space
Impact of the New Headquarters…
The new facility will not only secure scouting in this rural area with some of the best facilities for local scout members – the facility will also be available to an local educational trust during term times for pupils to use as an outdoor learning centre – further maximising the possible positive impact for young people.
Our New HQ will allow us to expand our offer to more young people locally (our plan is to move from 100 youth members to 150 youth members within the year) and the improvement in facilities will mean that we will be able to provide even more exciting activities for an ever increasing membership. This is really important in an area where rural transport poverty has a major impact on the opportunities of many sections of our community.
We are also in discussions with ‘First Responders’ and we are likely to be the base for this essential emergency response for the rural community – providing space, facilities and some volunteers to support the East Anglian Ambulance Service in getting to medical emergencies quickly. The Scout Group is already a ‘Heart Start training provider’ with the ability to teach the wider community first aid, including resuscitation techniques. A New HQ building with modern facilities including WiFi and data projection would allow us to extend this type of work.
We are looking at ways to ensure that we benefit the maximum number of people with our project in a fairly rural part of Norfolk and Suffolk. We currently have two Beaver Colonies (6-8 years), two Cub Packs (8-10 years), two Scout Troops (10-14 years) and one Explorer Unit (14-18 years). With our New HQ we can expand our numbers that we can take within the existing sections as we have waiting lists for new members.
Our proposal is for a centre that will have a major positive impact on the local community, scouting, education, health and wellbeing.
(Below – Part of our commitment to The Scout’s #SkillsForLife campaign)
Environmental Impact of the New HQ
Buildings and roads invariably change the environment. However, our development offers several compensatory elements that will enhance the area:
- Existing trees preserved
- Extensive planting of trees and hedging will screen views of Weybread Woodcraft and the Scout HQ
- The new plantings will add to biodiversity in the wider area, offering nesting sites for birds & bats
- Scouts will make and erect nest boxes for birds
- A small existing pond will be cleaned and should provide aquatic habitat and site for pond-dipping
- Wild flowers & grasses will be established in places and be managed as wild flower meadow
- The existing Public Footpath will remain for access between New Street and Priory Road.
In all these ways the new Scout activity area will greatly increase the richness of the habitat in the wider area, enhancing environment for neighbouring residents including in Priory Road, Priory Crescent, Carpenter’s Yard and the future housing development.
Further outdoor facilities planned include: archery and air-rifle range, camping field with own shower, toilet block and continued development of the wildlife area with a reinstated pond.
Additional facilities will include a Suffolk barn to store our minibuses, kayaks and larger camping equipment. The centre will be served with 20+ car parking spaces and we aim to plant native hedging and seed wildflower meadow edges to our camping field again to increase biodiversity in the locality.