SCOUTS in Belper have launched a £150,000 fundraising campaign to build new headquarters.
The 1st Alton Manor Scout group is one of the biggest in the district - with over 150 members split between two Beaver colonies, a Cub pack and two Scout troops - but has had no permanent base for the last six years. The group formed in 2006 after the merger of two Belper Scout groups - but their headquarters were condemned and since then they have been using three different venues. Scout leader Darren Barnes said: “We desperately want to have our own Scout headquarters built. We want to unite the different groups in one shared building. It is difficult when we have to travel to other parts of Belper for our Troop nights to be seen in the Alton Manor area.”
The Scouts own a plot on Gregory’s Way and building work has already begun on a new base with concrete foundations being laid and the area fenced off.
The group has raised over £40,000 for the work so far but need another £150,000 for the building.
Darren said: “We have a long way to go! To raise their profile the Scouts have been putting up birdboxes, donated by Severn Trent, in a wildlife area near to the Alton Manor football pitch. Whilst we were erecting the bird boxes we were spoken to by passing members of the public praising our work and this can only be good for the group. As part of their ongoing activities the Scouts will monitor the boxes over the spring and summer and record any activity. In the autumn the boxes will be cleaned out ready for next spring.”
The group have so far been unsuccessful in applying for grants - but have raised cash with music nights at Belper Town FC, a ping-pong race on King Street and a Christmas market stall in Belper selling decorations. The group is is now working hard to raise £30,000 to erect the steel framework of the building.
They plan to hold a race night in May and a family fun day with activities and barbeques in June and will continue to apply for grants.
The Cubs and one of the Scout groups meet at the Strutts Centre meet on Mondays, the other Scout group meets at Fleet Arts on Tuesdays and the two Beaver sections meet at the Congregational Church on Green Lane on Mondays and Wednesday. Should anybody wish to assist the group with their fundraising please contact Darren on 01773 880019.