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  1. #1
    Senior Moments Penny E's Avatar
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    WHY build a Scout Hut?

    I won't go on at length about the history of our Group (long time members are already bored stiff with hearing about it ) but we were chucked out of our site (two huts and 7 acres) nearly 4 years ago.

    Since then we have always assumed that we would build ourselves a new hut - a knee-jerk response at the time, and one that we have never wavered on - until now.

    We currently use the superb and modern Village Hall for Cubs and Beavers. The Scouts use a local Scout hut (which happens to be in another County, but still very close by) and also Phasels Wood.

    The total cost of that lot per annum is £568.00.

    Our outgoing Treasurer has quite rightly asked the question as to whether we should be committing ourselves to £100k-plus of expenditure, and all the pain, to build a new hut.

    We would then need £2-£3k each year for utilities, insurance and maintenance, which might or might not be covered in part by rental income. That would mean either a lot of fund-raising or an increase in Subs.

    That is a BIG reason not to go ahead.

    The reasons that we still have to go ahead with the project are:

    - "it helps to unite the Group" - mainly cited by the Scout Leaders, who feel a bit left out. The Cubs and Beavers both meet on the same night, so we see plenty of each other.

    - it gives us somewhere to store all the Group's equipment other than my garage!

    - we have the flexibility to run meetings when we want to, rather than when premises are available.

    - we could run activities in the hut whenever we wanted to (assuming we have a need for that, and the village hall, other Scout Hut, Phasels Wood and all local huts are fully booked!)

    - it gives us security of tenure, should all the other venues throw us out and no alternatives are available.

    - errrm ...

    Any thoughts on either side of the argument would be welcome.

    Cheers
    Penny E

    P.S. If you are thinking of building a new hut, please do join the Group Scout Hut Builders
    Akela & Acting GSL, 1st Tylers Hill


    Yes, those are my legs - and my hiking boots too!

  2. #2
    Account Closed weefatbob's Avatar
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    This is a tricky one - so many Groups I think don't realise what a good thing they have by having a Scout Hall. Certainly my group is very lucky to have a hall, which cost very little to build at the time (about 50 years ago - it has been rebuilt since!) but the land it now sits on is worth twenty or more times that.

    It is difficult to build a hall from scratch now, with so many additional costs involved and legislation to jump through.

    But if we didn't have a hall, I would still recommend we built one. My reasons would be similar to yours:

    1. It does unite the sections into one group. You have a shared common purpose - keep the place tidy, upkept, nice etc as it is only you who will use it

    2. It forms a group identity which isn't the same in church halls/schools etc - kids know they are going to scouts when they go to a scout hall, and they feel an increased loyalty to that troop because of it

    3. Security - not physical security but future security - a group near me folded because the church they were meeting in one day turned round and terminated the agreement they had with them. They were turfed out, and after trying to share with us for a few months, gave in. Twenty kids were out of a Scout Group. Having your own hall ensures that you have somewhere to meet for the future.

    4. Fundraising - we rent our hall out Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to a play group which meets from 8am to 5pm in the hall. We give them the main hall and kitchen for the day, and one small storage cupboard, in return for a substantial donation. They can easily afford it as childcare is a booming business these days.

    5. Additional activities - you can quite easily organise an activity for a Saturday at short notice when it is only your own bookings to think about - not so easy in a church hall. Also things like a jumble sale or similar - you can block off a week where you pile loads of junk in your hall and then sell it all at the weekend - again, not possible anywhere else.

    6. Again, the future - it might be okay to store your gear in a leader's garage etc, but is that a good plan for the future? I know we need to think about that as we still store all our camping equipment in a former leader's (huge) garage, but how long until he passes away or we lose the connection?

    Wow! That was longer than I intended.

    Ultimately, it is a HUGE decision to make, not just the initial choice to go ahead and fundraise the capital, or to actually progress a building plan etc, but the long term decision to upkeep the building, insure it, heat it, pay the bills, clean it, and upgrade it in due course.

    But in three words, my advice would be GO FOR IT....

    Hope this helps!

    Bob

  3. #3
    Senior Member robp1970's Avatar
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    Our group have never had our own hut - all our sections meet at the local Primary School hall... The plus's of that are superb facilities - they have an IT suite they let us use a couple of times a year to do the IT badge & great playing fields for games & other outdoor activities... Also the plus's you already mention of lesser outgoings etc. As for storage we have a shed at the school & another brick shed at a local farm (Owned by a parent!) So we don't have that issue...

    On the down side, when we do art or craft activities if we want to spread things over a couple of weeks - everything has to be carried out to the shed to store or taken home. And we can't display any of our groups work as the walls are all covered with school stuff... Also if we plan an outside evening away from the scool & it bins it with rain, we end up cancelling as we have no way of getting into the school at short notice - we have to rely on the caretaker to open up / lock up which has to be booked in advance.

    But on the whole I personally prefer the way we have it - it makes it easier for the leadership team, no one has to manage the building maintenance & costs & our funds never get dented by an unexpected repair bull... We all just concentrate on providing great activities for the group... But I can see the advantages of the other way if there's a good committee to manage it all.

  4. #4
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    It's a difficult one and I can see the arguments for both sides. My previous have just raised £20k in 3 years and that is just for a small wooden extention to their hut. BUt then a group in my previous district had their hut burned down, the amount of help andmoney from local businesses, organisations and local council was phenomenal. Their new hut was completely rebuilt in 2 years.

    If you do decide to go for the new purpose built hut, then you need a few key people in place.

    1. Someone at district or county fighting you corner.
    2. Someone specifically in your group to be media person, keeping local media updated and the community at large in touch with what you do and how its going. If people don't know, how can they help.
    3. A fund raising group on your committee of parents and locals, applying for grants, donations, awards, sponsorship you name they go and find it. Again so many as we have found lately are willing to donate or help.
    4. Yourself - if you want to do it you'll have to make it run. Prepare yourself and plan everything, tell everyone and badger people.

  5. #5
    Account Closed weefatbob's Avatar
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    Could I add Ben

    5. Someone in charge.

    It is really easy to overlook this one, and assume the GSL is in charge of the project, but this is a mistake. It is a huge project building your own hall, and if you aren't careful it will take over everything you do, meaning the programme and normal section running will suffer.

    Have a sift through your parents and find one (their is bound to be one) who is in the building trade or planning etc and make him Chairman of the New Hall Committee. And let him be the complete focus for all the work on the hut - only have reports every so often to the Committee from Scouters.

    Bob

  6. #6
    Assistant ESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    Our Scout Group has met in the Church halls we meet in in for our entire 75 year history. Apart from a major disagreement with the Church a couple of years ago which is now resolved (thanks to a change in minister) we have always felt very secure in the knowledge that we would always have somewhere to meet and store our equipment. We pay a £500 nominal rent to the Church each year which is considerably less that maintaining a Scout Hut would cost. We do have to work around when the halls are booked by other users but we can generally use them whenever they are not in use (i.e. for drying tents) as well as when our usual weekly meetings are.

    In short we have never had a Scout Hut and I don't think we'd ever consider getting one as our current arrangements meet our needs very well. So I think what you have to consider is are your current arrangements such that they are bad enough that you NEED (as opposed to would like in an ideal world) to have your own hut or are your arrangements ok enough that the massive effort that getting and maintaining your own hut would require is not really worth it?

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Friday ESU & ABSL and Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
    www.falkonerscouts.co.uk

    Bookings Secretary - Wike, North Leeds District Campsite - www.wikecampsite.org.uk
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    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

  7. #7
    aka "Old Battle Axe" tomahawk's Avatar
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    I struggle with this. In our village there are 3 halls. We had the opprtunity to partner with the community centre/sports centre a couple of years back and have a lovely new, warm space in which to hold meetings, in a hall that opens onto a large recreation ground and woodland. If we had partnered, we could have insisted on a store room annex for our stuff.

    The group turned it down because they want their own space.

    It costs us £2k a year, plus maintenance costs, to have our inadequate hall.
    Its freezing cold, uninsulated, rotten, has no natural light and inadequate ventilation. There are mice that eat anything not locked away in plastic boxes.

    And why? So that they can leave tents hanging and have an equipment store. I just dont get it. Practicality vs pride.

  8. #8
    Senior Moments Penny E's Avatar
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    I will admit that hanging tents is another virtue of having your own space.

    My garden was festooned with canvas for several days after camp, waiting for a couple of dry days in a row for it all to dry out.

    However, there are plenty of farms with barns around us ...

    As for storage space, it would cost a lot less to build a garage-size store on the back of the village hall or the cricket club, or just a free-standing garage in a reasonably secure location.
    Akela & Acting GSL, 1st Tylers Hill


    Yes, those are my legs - and my hiking boots too!

  9. #9
    Grey but not that old Alfbranch's Avatar
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    I wouldnt work on a costing of £100,000 either we are being told more like £400,000 due to CDM regs and other things.

    Even though we are trying to get going and rebuild our 54 year old wooden hut (with later exrensions)
    Alf

    Scout leader 1st Hensingham Scouts Western Lakes District
    NAA Western Lakes District
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    Only use sharp knives. Blunt knives are more dangerous.

  10. #10
    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
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    Surely it shouldnt cost that much to essentially build a barn, fit it out with a second hand kitchen and some cupboards, and of course a fire system and a disabled toilet.
    Dan Spencer

    Group Scout Leader and CSL 66th Bath
    Nights Away Adviser, Bath District
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Whether you need a Scout Hut or not depends upon how you operate.

    I could not operate out of assorted halls. The biggest issue I would have is not being able to leave things out, not being able to dry equipment, not being able to have the stores and equipment we have - We have an attic full of tentage and camping equipment, one container with ropes, targets, lawnmore, nets, and tools, and another with tables, scaffold tower, boat, windsurfers and armoured extension leads - 150 of armoured twin and earth takes up a lot of space!

    Even with that I still need the office for the IT, the archery, the shooting, and a small stage area for th DJ kit....

    OTOH, if we facilitated rather than did, we could m,anage without a hall. But then again, if you don't have a hall, how do you dry damp canvas? Fifteeen patrol tents and three mess tents.... not in my back garden
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



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  12. #12
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    Living around here which is very rural we often see farmers knocking up these steel framed buildings which allow you to then build sub rooms or stores inside. Talking to a farmer friend once you have the steel supports put in and roof done that is the bulk of the work done. The one on his farm took about 10 days to build and complete and he reckons you would spend a bit more time if needed an office or store putting in and a safety concious floor. But he reckons it wouldn't take more than 3 weeks, he also thinks they would make ideal scout buildings and whats more, you'd have far more room than a conventional building. And certainly the ones I've been in here they would make amazing scout buildings, they are like little warehouses, the space would be amazing.

    Although my farmer friend wasn't sure of the final costing as his brother did the finances, he reckons you would be looking at no more than £50.

    Just an alternative.

  13. #13
    Moderator wolfie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akela Ben View Post
    .

    Although my farmer friend wasn't sure of the final costing as his brother did the finances, he reckons you would be looking at no more than £50.

    Just an alternative.
    Me thinks there is a "k" missing off the end of that number - and if not where do I order one....
    Louise

    GSL 1st Fenstanton & Hilton Scout Group www.scubes.co.uk


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  14. #14
    Senior Member DonTregartha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfie View Post
    Me thinks there is a "k" missing off the end of that number - and if not where do I order one....
    Put me down for three!


    Don Tregartha
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  15. #15
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    Ok Ok I made a mistake, it should have been £50K. The kids were talking to me at the same time and distracted me.

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