THE 1st Sid Vale Scout Group faces a race against time to begin work on its planned new home.

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A £200,000 fundraising effort, backed by a Sidmouth Herald campaign, is gathering pace and the popular movement has around £38,000 in the bank.

Generous community contributions have seen leaders and youngsters raise around £55,000 in two years - as £17,000 has already been spent on providing Salcombe Recreational Field with mains electricity.

But planning permission for the hut they hope to build runs out at the end of the year.

It is hoped the HQ will put an end to the group having to ‘beg and borrow’ for places to meet.

Scouts chairman Gareth Hughes said: “We are really pleased with the response we’ve had from the local people of Sidmouth.”

The group’s Brian Manwaring added: “We have been, locally, really well supported.

“Our planning permission runs out in December. We’ve got to make a start building this year and would like to start the foundations by July or August.”

The next 12 months are vital for the project and the Herald is calling on residents to help make the dreams of 150 children in the beavers, cubs, scouts and explorers contingents come true.

The group hopes to move closer to its target by selling two assets it owns – the existing scout hut in Manor Road and a piece of land at Littlecombe Shute.

Ceilidh band Mischief and Mayhem did their bit at Sidford Village Hall last Saturday when an evening of fun and dance helped raise £500.

Around 80 people supported the event and enjoyed a chicken and chips supper.

The band has now helped net £1,000 towards the campaign in the last year.

A jumble sale in March, a concert by the La La Choir and the group’s annual summer fete, both in July, will boost the coffers further.

Western Power has helped the bid by paying compensation over a land issue relating to electricity being supplied to the site.

● Contact Gareth on 01395 515552 for more information on the project or if you can help. Donations can be sent to treasurer Denese Molyneux at Goodrich House, Cheese Lane, Sidmouth, EX10 8RA, or online at https://mydonate.bt.com and search for 1st Sid Vale Scout Group.

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