save our scouts

Chatteris Scouts at Co-op, bag packing in a drive to get more members, otherwise they may have to close later in the year.
Chatteris Scouts at Co-op, bag packing in a drive to get more members, otherwise they may have to close later in the year.

CHATTERIS could lose its Scout group by the end of the year unless membership is doubled in the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts.

The 2nd Chatteris Scouts are pleading with the community to support them or the group, which has been active in the town since 1956, may close.

Press officer Matt Allen explained they have been told they need 10 children in each of the groups to make them a “viable concern”, compared to current levels of around five. They also need another Scout leader.

If they do not meet this criteria by November, it could sound the death knell for the group.

Matt said: “The main problem is that people don’t know we’re here. There hasn’t been a committee and you never see the Scouts out in the town.”

To try to solve these issues, a committee made up of parents and Scout leaders has been formed and they are working hard to raise the profile of the group.

Flyers have been distributed in local schools and several events have been planned in the Chatteris area to get word out about their recruitment drive.

On Saturday, they were at the Co-operative Store in Chatteris, helping customers to pack their shopping and handing out leaflets about the groups.

Matt said: “I think we can be seen as a bit old-fashioned, but the children get to do lots of things. For example, they recently went canoeing. The problem is, with not many members, it can be difficult to do things like that.”

As an incentive, the committee has decided to offer new starters a free six-week trial period. Matt is hoping it will be long enough for the youngsters to start making friends and want to carry it on.

They are also working on a new website to bring the group up-to-date and let the wider community know what they have been doing.

Beavers, Cubs and Scouts are open to boys and girls, aged six and over. Beavers meet on Tuesdays from 6pm to 7pm, Cubs on Wednesdays from 6.30pm to 8pm and Scouts on Fridays from 6.30pm to 8pm. They all meet in the Scout Hut, off Victoria Street, near the police station.

The committee is also busy raising money to renovate the hut, as it is in a poor state of repair. They are hoping to paint it, insulate the roof and improve the state of the heating.

They were recently helped by a £400 donation following a charity prize bingo at Chatteris Working Men’s Club.

However, there is still a long way to go. The committee would love to hear from any businesses that could help by donating materials, particularly roof insulation.

• If you are interested in joining the 2nd Chatteris Scout group, you can turn up to any meeting. Alternatively, for more information, contact David Driver on.