The Scout Group has expanded in the past 3 years and we now provide a weekly programme of activities to more than 120 young people aged between 6 and 14, over 2 evenings. However, there are multiple demands on us to increase our provision and membership.
- In the Bristol West area, there are several hundred children waiting to join Scout Groups; nationally, you may have seen the recent BBC news item about 60,000 youngsters waiting for places.
- There is a pressing need to start an Explorer Scout Unit, for the 14 to 17 year olds.
- Within the next 3 or so years, it is likely that a new Scout section will be started for those aged 4 to 6. Pilots are already underway.
We have met at Westbury Methodist Church since 1965; they are our sponsors. However, we cannot expand out Group any further as the premises are fully booked. This has led us to the conclusion that we need to find new premises.
Over the past 3 years, we have met with several organisations, the Primary Care Centre, local churches, Bristol City Council and our local Councillors. We have discussed with them ideas for a Scout and Community Centre, potentially incorporating a new community library and facilities for other organisations in Westbury.
Recently, I gave a presentation of our vision to the Westbury Forum. We will be inviting representatives of all the local organisations to an exploratory meeting later this year, to gauge levels of interest and discuss how to take this project forward.
This is one small step forward. We have the support of the Council and a lot of good will towards the Scout Group. It’s our opportunity to make a difference.