Full speed ahead for Scout expeditions thanks to cash boost

YOUNGSTERS will continue to be given the chance to “develop vital life skills” through an awards scheme thanks to a successful fundraising drive.

At the end of last year concerns were raised over whether the Saffron Walden District Explorer Scouts would be able to continue taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) scheme after grants previously available were withdrawn.

It left leaders looking for between �5,000 and �9,000 a year to fill the gap in funding – a target that was exceeded following a successful application for a grant of �4,785 from Uttlesford District Council’s Jubilee Fund.

That money, plus the �4,850 raised from other grants and fundraising events – such as Christmas Music in the Market Square and the Saffron Crocus Trail Run in May – covers the district scouts’ costs up until late spring of 2013.

It leaves them with just the main Gold expedition in the Brecon Beacons next August to seek funding for, with around �2,000 needed for the 40-plus participants.

District explorer scout commissioner, Deirdre Hickey, was delighted to receive the grant – which has extra special significance given the district is celebrating its 100th anniversary on Saturday, October 13.

“We are very pleased because it will help us to continue funding the DofE expeditions and has allowed us to proceed with certainty with the Gold expeditions,” she told the Reporter.

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“The DofE awards scheme offers young people a wonderful opportunity to fulfil their potential and provides a platform for them to develop vital skills for life and work.”

Ms Hickey added that securing kit for activities like canoeing and paragliding, and the transport costs incurred in travelling to them, was expensive – a cost the district did not want to pass on to parents because it aims to make the scouts open to all.

To celebrate the district’s 100th anniversary, beavers, cubs, scouts, explorers and leaders will be coming together for a centenary fun day on the Common. The event, which will run from 11am-2pm on October 13, will offer people the chance to find out more about the Saffron Walden District Explorer Scouts.

There will be woggle making, sing songs around a camp fire, face painting, a ‘hook the duck’ game, pancakes, painting ceramic tiles and much more.

The day will conclude with a Renewal of Promise event around a flag pole by all the different groups.