Digging in! Work on scouts’ new home gets under way

Adam and Matthew Dunford cut the cake at the Sidmouth Scouts field. Ref shs 7001-43-14TI. Picture: T

Adam and Matthew Dunford cut the cake at the Sidmouth Scouts field. Ref shs 7001-43-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

A reunion for Sidmouth’s scouts, beavers and cubs is in sight after work on their new HQ began in earnest this week with a ceremonial turf cutting.

John Hollick about to cut the turf at Sidmouth Scouts field. Ref shs 6997-43-14TI. Picture: Terry If

John Hollick about to cut the turf at Sidmouth Scouts field. Ref shs 6997-43-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Volunteers had already pitched in by digging a road, installing a gate and preparing the land - and now contractors have started the first stage of the build at the Salcombe Regis Recreation Field.

Aided by a Herald campaign and generosity from across the community, the 1st Sid Vale Scouts have been fundraising for a new home after they outgrew their Manor Road hut.

But with the fate of their former base still unclear, the group does not know how much more money it will need to raise.

Speaking at Monday’s (October 13) turf-cutting, scouts chairman Gareth Hughes said: “A lot of the people here today have helped enormously.

John Hollick at the controls of a digger at Sidmouth Scouts field for the cutting of the turf. Ref s

John Hollick at the controls of a digger at Sidmouth Scouts field for the cutting of the turf. Ref shs 6981-43-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant


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“It’s been interesting and challenging getting this far, and I’m sure the next stage will be the same.

“Everyone’s support is very much appreciated.”

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The scouting sections currently have to pay to hire school and church halls and make wet-weather plans - but they will be able to use their new hut all-year-round.

When it is completed, they will have an income from renting it out and Salcombe Regis will have another venue for groups to use.

John Hollick about to cut the turf at Sidmouth Scouts field. Ref shs 6987-43-14TI. Picture: Terry If

John Hollick about to cut the turf at Sidmouth Scouts field. Ref shs 6987-43-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Group scout leader Nancy Craven said: “It’s fantastic to get this far. We are so looking forward to being under one roof.

“It may sound contrary, but having a new hut will mean we can be outside more.”

Town council chairman John Hollick, himself a former group scout leader, said: “It’s been a long time coming but it’s good that they’re using the town council’s recreation field.

“We hope that more people utilise the facilities that are here.”

John Hollick at the controls of a digger at Sidmouth Scouts field for the cutting of the turf. Ref s

John Hollick at the controls of a digger at Sidmouth Scouts field for the cutting of the turf. Ref shs 6977-43-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

The scouts have been left in limbo in the six months since the group submitted plans for its Manor Road HQ.

It hopes permission to convert the property into housing will increase its value to prospective buyers and help them reach their £200,000 target.

The work on the new HQ at Salcombe Regis Recreation Field should only take five months to complete.

An update from East Devon District Council on the Manor Road plans was expected this week but had not been received as the Herald went to press yesterday.

To make a donation or organise a fundraiser for the scouts, call Gareth on 01395 515552.

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