September 2 2014 Latest news:
West Suffolk chief reporter
Thursday, May 22, 2014
The popularity of Scouting has grown so significantly that around £100,000 is to be invested in a new facility in the west of the county.
A cabin with kitchen and bathroom facilities is to be built at Bradfield Park Campsite, near Bury St Edmunds.
Last year, Chief Scout Bear Grylls paid a flying visit to the 26-acre site, which is open for camping and leisure activities for Scouts, Guides and other educational organisations.
The camp site currently has two older buildings which are both due to be renovated, and according to John Mullan, chairman of the Sudbury District Scout Council, the new cabin will enhance what the centre offers.
He said: “The existing buildings are essentially meeting rooms with three sleeping areas for up to 16 young people, and have basic kitchen and toilet facilities. The new building will have a kitchen, a unisex disabled bathroom and overnight sleeping for younger Cubs and Beavers, when camping outside is not appropriate.
“Through grants from charities and money that has been borrowed by the county from Scout headquarters, so far we have managed to raise the £92,000 towards the new building, which will cost £100,000. The income that comes into the camp will help to pay off the loan.”
There are an estimated 28million Scouts worldwide, and in Suffolk, about 500 youngsters are on a waiting list to join the movement.
Mr Mullan added: “The number of Scouts has been growing each year since 2007, which has bucked the national trend in terms of youth organisations. Young people often get a bad press but those we see in our local Scout groups, including 12 from the Sudbury District who will be attending an international Jamboree in Japan next year, are full of enthusiasm and work brilliantly together as a team.
“I think Bear Grylls has been a wonderful figurehead for the movement and an inspiration to the youngsters.”
Around 2,000 Scouts use Bradfield Park Campsite each year and Mr Mullan said the new improved facilities would encourage groups from all over the UK to visit west Suffolk. The building work is due to be completed by October 10.