Wimbledon scouts celebrate as work starts on their new hut

Wimbledon Guardian: Some of the 19th Wimbledon scouts with Paul Wilkins outside their hut Some of the 19th Wimbledon scouts with Paul Wilkins outside their hut

Young scouts are celebrating as building work has started on a new £450,000 home after years of planning.

No longer will the 19th Wimbledon Scouts have to tolerate leaky, old temporary facilities with an outside toilet they have to trek to in the dark.

Soon the 140 boys and girls aged six to 18 years-old and their leaders will be able to hold meetings in a brand new hall, with up to three meeting rooms, indoor toilets and showers.

Building work has begun on the site in Cottenham Park Road, Raynes Park, in the corner of the former Atkinson Morley Hospital.

Chairman Richard Bowyer said: "It is about better facilities which we deserve as a group.

"It is hard for the leaders on cold nights having a hut that is poorly insulated.

"It is about securing the future - there is no way the building would have lasted another five years."

The former hut had been installed as a temporary solution in 1988 after the hut before that had been destroyed in an arson attack.

Ever since the emblem on the scout’s badge has been a phoenix rising from the ashes and the new building will be known as Phoenix Two.

After more than 20 years the scouts are looking forward to having a brand new home.

They have raised more than £20,000 to cover the cost of the building by holding cake sales, race nights and a buy-a-brick-scheme over the last five years.

Significant funds have also come from the All England Lawn Tennis Club, the Scout Association and the London Marathon Charitable Trust among others.

Mr Bowyer, who started with the club as a young cub 38 years ago, said the new showers and an increase in the amount of land around the site will mean the club can hold overnight stays and an improved programme of outdoors events for the youngsters.

They may even be able to expand their numbers.

Mr Bowyer said: "We are a strong and successful group, with loyal and positive leaders and very active and enthusiastic group of young people."

The work is scheduled to be completed in August this year and a grand opening may be held in October.

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