A century old Scout group in Barnoldswick is facing closure within 18 months unless it can get more leaders on board.
The 1st West Craven Scouts is struggling for leaders but also with spiralling costs on the upkeep of the Scout Hall which is opposite Hope Technology in Calf Hall Road and dates back to the early 1800s.
The Scout group was established in 1912 and has been running successfully over the years. However, the group has gone from having 34 Scouts, Beavers and Cubs in 2014 to just eight Scouts at present through children progressing or drifting elsewhere. In that time, the number of leaders has also plummeted.
Suzanne Taylor, treasurer of the 1st West Craven Scouts, says the club needs the leaders in before the children to ensure a programme of activities can be planned and implemented, and that the club would be flexible on what night it holds its weekly sessions should interest from parents materialise.
Suzanne said: “We are struggling immensely with both the upkeep of the building and also on recruiting both leaders and helpers and Cubs, Beavers and Scouts.
“We are hoping to drum up some interest with both locally based companies and the community to get help with either sponsorship, cash donations, help with generally refurbishing the building, be it painters, plasterers, general materials and to drum up support locally to get the kids and parents interested in becoming involved with Scouting.
“The bottom line is that if we don’t get the help we need then the Scout group will only be able to continue to run for approximately 18 months whereby the upkeep and running costs will outweigh the income that we are currently generating.
“If we can at least get the building into a more desirable state then it will become more attractive for both those attending through Scouts and possibly to enable us to rent out the building.
“We don’t want the young boys and girls within Barnoldswick to lose the chance to attend Scouting and desperately need your help.”
The group is holding a taster session on Wednesday starting at 6-15pm to try and recruit more leaders as the group is in the situation where it has a waiting list of 15 children.
Group leaders are inviting people to come down and find out what the Scouts do and have three bases lined up on the evening; crafts, cooking and mapping.
Dale Thompson, the Group Scout Leader, took up the position in 2009 and had previously been assistant leader from December 2004 after joining the group when moving to West Craven from the Doncaster area. He joined the Scouts when aged six when he lived in South Yorkshire and has been involved ever since.
The group has more girls than boys at the moment and he added his voice to the appeal to get more children and parents interested.
Dale said: “There is a lot of planning that goes into it.
“I’m basically the manager of the group and there for support if needed, but as it is, I tend to be involved in most of it.
“Ideally we would like to have more parents involved which would help alleviate the pressure on the leaders to do things such as planning, administration work and fund-raising, but that has not been the situation for a long time now.
“There are camping trips, visits to various places, and recently I took five children on a trip to Alton Towers where we had a fantastic day.
“Currently we are working on survival skills, learning how to use knives and stoves safely, learning about edible plants and working towards a badge.
“We want to be able to give the children something to look forward to and to improve the programme.”
For more information on the 1st West Craven Scouts group, go to www.facebook.com/barnoldswickscouts/