The Ursula Keyes Trust is helping 1st Saltney (St Marks) Scout Group, a registered charity, to find the funds needed to restore its brick built hut in St Marks Church’s grounds in Saltney. The hut is badly in need of a general very extensive upgrade and whilst The Scout Group had secured funding towards this, it still needed the donation from the Trust to undertake this work.
1st Saltney (St Marks) Scout Group serves the Saltney and Lache area of Chester and is a thriving Group of over 80 children, 60% of which are girls. The group divides into Squirrels age 4-6, Beavers aged 6-8, Cubs age 8-11 and Scouts aged 11-14. Its 13 trustees are supported by more than 20 uniformed leaders.
As well as weekly sessions the Group undertakes lots of activities like The Chester Gangshow, Family camps, District & County camps, an AGM family event, District Hike, parades and services like the Harvest Remembrance.
Earlier in the year the Group took 130 children and parents to forest camp at Blakemere, including a Mum in a wheelchair who was able to try out a canoe there. In June 45 people camped out in tents at a District camp.
The group has seen its costs rise particularly for heating and utility bills as the hut is badly insulated.
The hut was rebuilt in 1996 after a fire but cannot be rented out to others as the kitchen and toilets are not good enough. Its application for funding with Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Spacehive raised £29k from the Council and gained 57 other pledges. The Group asked Ursula Keyes Trust for £15k to help top this up and achieve a new better planned kitchen, new toilets, better hand washing, low energy lighting, and potentially a new floor, new doors and new ceiling and wall lining. This will insulate the building to current standards and reduce bills.
Also key will be providing permanent access for wheelchairs, instead of a makeshift ramp and an improved welcome for parents and visitors.
Modernisation of the scout hut will help the guides too.
Caroline Jeffrey of the 1st Saltney (St Marks) Scout Group said; “On behalf of 1st Saltney Scout group, we are immensely grateful for the incredible generosity of Ursula Keyes and would be delighted to accept the £15,000 offered. We wish to thank you as this money will make a significant difference to the future of our group and our ability to offer a space to children where they can learn and develop skills for the future.”
John Brimelow, a Trustee of the Ursula Keyes Trust, added; “We were delighted to meet members of 1st Saltney (St Marks) Scout Group and see the incredible work they are doing first hand. We learnt about how the Group encourages ‘less screen time, more activity’ for kids and lots of cross-school friendships, as the local children are in the catchment areas for quite a few schools. Many lifelong friendships have been made here, a multitude of skills learnt over the years and fun had, we hope for many more years to come.”
Much of the work on the hut will be carried out over the Summer holidays and then into 2024. The Group has invited Ursula Keyes Trust back in a year to witness the hut’s transformation.