Big community venture to help Sleights Scouts

The revamped scout hut at Sleights
The revamped scout hut at Sleights

The scout hut at Sleights is set to be officially re-opened after a concerted community effort.

Over the past few years, it had fallen into disrepair and numbers dwindled but it has been given a facelift which will be shown off at a special ceremony on Saturday 19 November.

The tired and run down hut before it was given a makeover

The tired and run down hut before it was given a makeover

The wooden hut at Narrowfield has been re-wired, had a new heating system installed, new kitchen and toilet facilities and been re-decorated.

It has been given a new coat of varnish and the garden areas cleared and re-seeded.

All that remains now is for replacement windows and doors and the trustees are in the process of getting the money together for that.

The trustees of the 1st Sleights Scouts initially thought the works were going to set them back in excess of £15,000 but thanks to the help of local businesses they have saved thousands.

Wilf Nobles and Howdens donated material at reduced rates, grants were applied for and in keeping with the scout ethic, the troop has raised its own money too by bag packing at supermarkets, carol singing, holding bingo nights and fairs and sponsored walks.

Whitby Rotary (Endeavour) also provided the labour for painting and decoration.

Noel Barrett, a lawyer at Pinkney Grunwells and one of the trustees, said: “It has been such a rundown hut for years it has not been inviting to people but it is now a nice, warm, safe place to be and we really want to get the numbers up again.”

Mr Barrett was a scout himself in Sleights in the 60s and 70s after the group had been formed by the then village bobby PC Ken Buckle.

It was a thriving group with up to 70 youngsters meeting each week and there were four separate uniform organisations – scouts, cubs, brownies and guides.

Over those 30 years, hundreds, if not thousands, of kids passed through the doors of Sleights scout hut.

But in the 1990s numbers dropped off and the guides disbanded while the brownies decided to meet elsewhere.

The future of the hut was also hit with more uncertainty as the council land on which it stood on Narrowfield, near Birch Avenue and Birch Crescent, transferred to Yorkshire Coast Homes under the re-organisation of council provisions.

However, YCH has agreed to renew the lease of the ground the hut stands on for another 20 years at a peppercorn rent.

It is hoped that this, coupled with what appears to be a renewed belief in the benefits and personal development the Scouts can provide, will see the 1st Sleights Scouts go from strength to strength.

Mr Barrett added: “I was a Scout in the 60s and 70s and thought it would be great so I was able to help sort out the lease which means we are secure for the future again.

“It is hard work but it has been good getting stuck in and we want to see it blossom.”

Anyone who is interested in helping run the Scouts or children interested in joining are invited to the re-opening ceremony.

Activities run from 2pm to 4.30pm with the official opening ceremony taking place at 3pm.