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Watford Observer's grant helps renovate Scout hut
Renovations to a Bushey Scout hut that have “desperately needed doing” since 2000 are almost complete after a £10,000 donation from the Watford Observer.
The Observer’s contribution, from the charitable Gannett Foundation run by the newspaper’s parent company, to the 1st Bushey Heath Scout Group’s club house will allow disabled children to join in events at their community club.
The grant has been used to re-roof the front of the building, put in disabled toilets, widen corridors to improve disabled access, install a meeting room and develop the existing toilets.
“It was great to get the donation to do all this work,” said scout leader, Chris Wright.
“It gives us the opportunities we didn’t have before.”
Chris, who works as a project manager in finance, said Scout and Beaver numbers have more than doubled since she became a leader in Bushey in 2000.
The mother-of-three said: “When I arrived here 13 years ago, I said it would be a £10,000 project to do all the renovations that were needed.”
She added: “It has given us a much cleaner and easier place to work in, and, with the new toilet facilities, we are now in a position where, if we have an application from a disabled child, we have access for them.
“Before the renovations we wouldn’t have been able to get them through the front door.”
The Scouts, which includes children aged between ten and 14, are at their maximum intake capacity of 34.
Now Chris, 51, said she has a waiting list of children whose parents are eager for them to join the group.
She said: “When you start breaking down the numbers that is an awful lot of kids off the street.”
With the extra funding and new facilities, Chris said all they really need are more adult volunteers to deal with the influx of applications.
Chris has been involved with the Scouts since she was schoolgirl, and she said she believes it teaches you life skills such as teamwork, cooking, First Aid, mapwork and community work which stay with you forever.
She added: “It is all those life skills that makes them rounded people and gives them some independence within a safe and controlled environment.”
With the extra funding the club will be open to children of many different abilities.
Watford Observer Editorial Manager, Frazer Ansell, said: “We are delighted that this project has come to fruition in the year the Watford Observer celebrates its 150th anniversary.
“It shows the newspaper was at the heart of the community a century and a half ago and it still is now.”