What is really that impossible a task?

7th May 2012

Every story has a beginning and this one started when three Groups, the 1st, 9th and 14th East Kilbride amalgamated at the end of 2007. At that time, it probably did seem like a high mountain to climb for Bill Linley, Chairman of the newly formed Group.

It was obvious that the 1st's wooden hall built in 1968 was well past its best. Various options were looked at, including knocking it down and a 'new-build', selling the land, moving, and building elsewhere on the proceeds but in the end, the Group decided to stay put and see what they could do with their current hall.

A local Chartered Surveyor came 'on board' and in keeping with the Group's wish to try to keep the essential character of a 'scout hall', came up with the idea of building a shell round the existing wooden structure using modern materials. In April 2008 plans went out to tender and by November 2008 planning consent was secured with the mere task of securing finance being all that was left!

After lots of frustration and failed attempts, funds were secured with 30,000 coming from Viridor (landfill credits), 21,000 South Lanarkshire Council (Scottish Power, Whitelee Wind Farm) and 2,500 from Scottish Scout HQ as well as the Group's own local fundraising.

Work started in late October 2010 and a further grant from Awards for All allowed the Group to add new central heating and a new kitchen to its project.

The end result? 80,000 worth of improvements to their existing building and a scout hall fit for the year 2012 as the Group continues to grow, with membership hitting in excess of 130 young people.

On Saturday 30th April, friends and family of the Group gathered in East Kilbride for a fun day to celebrate their achievement.

'From grant funders and contractors to parents and leaders, thank you for helping turn a damp cold building with zero insulation, into a warm and welcoming meeting place,' said Group Chairman Billm, 'next year, the Group will celebrate its centenary in a hall fit for purpose, allowing us to keep delivering Scouting to the children of the town and to continue to do so into our next century. I would keep you here for ages if I tried to thank everyone who has contributed to what has been achieved or who simply offered advice and encouragement. It may have taken four years, but I hope you all agree it was worth it.'

And that everyone does!

Not satisfied with where they are at, Bill spoke about the next phase of the Group's plans which include replacement of the hall floor, a new fence and a car park. Assisting with this will be the Group's newly formed committee of parent's who are freeing up the leaders to deliver their weekly programme and they are now enthusiastically looking at there next fundraising venture.

Author: Gary Bainbridge

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