DESPERATE scout leaders are battling to keep their group running after their base has been hit by costly water damage and expensive bills.
The 6th Eckington Scouts group, on Castle Hill, Eckington, suffered 61 burst water pipes last winter which damaged ceilings, walls and equipment at their hall and originally left them with a Severn Trent water bill of around £1,300.
Eckington Assistant Cub Scout Leader Sheila Wright, who has helped run the group with her husband Harold since the 1970s, said: “We’ve had the worst year ever. We’re doing everything we can to keep going but we’re getting demoralised.
“Our group has 40 children and we teach them values and respect and if we have to stop because we can’t keep the hall there will be nothing for these youngsters for miles around.”
The group’s hall was damaged by frozen temperatures and snow and ice made access very difficult for both members and Severn Trent repairs staff, according to Mrs Wright, and unattended burst pipes and leaking water caused the water bill and damage to accumulate.
Severn Trent agreed to reduce the water bill on Friday to £433 but the group is still struggling to meet the costs of repairs, insurance and plans for a new security fence.
The group and supporters have been running events including raffles, tombolas and a market stall to raise funds but they need over £2,000 and are appealing for donations and volunteers to help with repairs including a vandalised store.
Eckington parish cllr Jim Jesson, who is backing the campaign to save the scout hall, said: “Improving and renovating the building will not only help the group to flourish, it will allow the wider community to benefit.”
The group, which was formed in 1953 and leases the hall from Bradley Lomas Electrical, has had a large number of Queen’s Scouts and Duke of Edinburgh award winners among members with some going on to become highly ranked police officers.
Those wishing to support the group are urged to call Mrs Wright on (0114) 2472538. firstname.lastname@example.org. email@example.com
APPEAL: Eckington scout group leader Harold Wright with his wife and assistant cub scout Leader Sheila Wright. Sp93289/8.