1st St Neots Scout Group have been granted £3,700 by St Neots Town Council, to improve their outside space for scouting activities.

“The Scout Group owns the land which the original Scout Hall stands on and leases the remaining land from Huntingdonshire District Council on an ongoing medium-term lease arrangement. This land has always been un-landscaped with continued best efforts made to make it useable for a short term. Building works in 2017 to renovate our building caused some wear to the land making it unusable for much use most of the year in that is mostly mud and pools of water. We have always ‘made do’ and limited our activities to those suitable (fire lighting on dry patches, fireworks) rather than using it for its potential (small scale camping, tent pitching, pioneering, star gazing, etc).

The plan is to excavate a 120m2 portion of the land, remove the spoil, install hard landscaping in the form of a hardcore sub-base and install gravel grids with a gravel infill to develop an external activity space. The gravel grids will be installed in a way to provide single-level access for wheelchair users which supports elements of the 2017 redevelopment which included widening doorways and installing a fully compliant disabled toilet.

In the short term, during the current COVID restrictions we are limited by the space available internally as our external space is unusable for most activities. Our maximum capacity is calculated at 24 however our largest section capacity is 25 young people + approximately 6 Leaders (31 total). Having a usable outdoor space means that we can keep our sections at usual capacity. Effectively meaning we will be able to support, empower and develop more young people in St Neots by increasing our current numbers (by approx. 52%) to meet capacity.

In the medium-long term, we will be able to support our sustainable recovery from this current pandemic by improving the buildings attractiveness with improved vehicle access. Hiring our hall out to local groups and personal hirers will provide both a great functional space for the community and a much-needed income stream for the Group. Additionally, when COVID restrictions are relaxed, we will be able to utilise the space even more for Scouting activities, thereby meeting part of The Scout Method to ‘take part in activities indoors and outdoors’, ‘learn by doing’ and ‘undertake new and challenging activities.’ ”

Here’s what it looks like now, and we’ll share photos after the transformation is complete.