Bid under way to refurbish scout Hut

Contract firm Wilmot Dixon is working for Yorkshire Coast Homes to clear up the surroundings of Sleights Scout Hut''w110816   Picture: Ceri Oakes
Contract firm Wilmot Dixon is working for Yorkshire Coast Homes to clear up the surroundings of Sleights Scout Hut''w110816 Picture: Ceri Oakes

A GROUP of volunteers have dug deep to refurbish an outdoor area and clear the way for future upgrade projects at an Esk Valley scout hut.

Willmott Dixon Partnerships responded to an appeal from Sleights Scouts and Cubs troop for organisations to help repair their dilapidated 1960’s scout hut which is owned by Yorkshire Coast Homes but is leased to them.

And now, thanks to the lifeline, the troop is looking forward to doing their best at the venue for years to come.

A seven strong team of tradespeople, apprentices and work experience placement pupils from Willmott Dixon set to work and spent two full days clearing the hut’s badly overgrown grounds before constructing a new barbecue area.

The work will allow the 40 members of the troop to practise outdoor activities, pitch tents and host barbecues and will also help to pave the way for additional upgrade work to take place at the scout hut.

Willmott Dixon works with Yorkshire Coast Homes on a £3.2m contract to repair and maintain 4,500 homes in Whitby and across the borough.

All of its employees are offered the opportunity to swap one normal working day for a community day volunteering in their local area.

Peter Backhouse, group scout leader said: “Many hundreds of children have been through the doors of the Sleights Scout Hut since it opened, but whilst scouting has modernised over recent years our venue has remained the same and is in desperate need of refurbishment.

“Our members have held a number of fund-raising activities to meet the costs of purchasing a new central heating system, kitchen and toilet facilities, but are still a long way off our target.

“We are extremely grateful to Willmott Dixon’s team for their efforts to transform our grounds into a useable area and hope that the work that they have carried out will act as a catalyst for other projects to take place at the scout hut.”

Melanie Watson, Willmott Dixon’s local resident liaison officer, was one of the volunteers who were given time off work to carry out the project and said they were only too happy to help.

“We are always keen to leave a lasting legacy and give something back to the areas where we are working,” she said.

“There is still a great deal to do at the scout hut and I would urge other local organisations to do what they can to offer their support and help preserve this important community venue.”

Esk Valley borough councillors Tim Lawn and James Preston said in a joint statement: “We fully support the efforts to refurbish the scout hut in Sleights.

“A great many youngsters have benefited over the years from being members of the scouts group and it would be fantastic to see new life breathed into the building, helping the group to continue its excellent work for many more years.

“Although we are in a difficult financial climate, we are optimistic that the necessary funds can be found to bring the building up to a suitable standard, helping the group to look towards the future with more certainty.

“Facilities such as this are very important for youngsters in our rural communities and deserve all the support they can get.”