A village scout hut near Dereham has been given a £42,400 makeover which could open it up as a community venue for other groups.

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The new extension to 1st Beetley Scout Group’s headquarters was officially opened on Saturday by Lynda Turner, Breckland Council’s deputy leader and a former Akela.

After the completion of a nine-year project, it is hoped the building can now be rented out as a top quality, affordable venue for other scout groups, providing a much-needed extra income stream for the 1st Beetley.

With its rural location and large grounds, leaders said the site had great potential as a venue for scout weekends away, but with only two toilets and no shower, the original building was considered unsuitable for overnight stays, meaning business had to be turned away in the past.

The first phase of the upgrade was completed in 2012, when the main building works for the extension were carried out. Additional funds were needed in 2013 for the second phase, to equip the improved hall with modern facilities.

Local efforts raised £3,200 and a grant of £6,996 from Breckland Council enabled the work to finally go ahead. The completed extension now has five new toilets, washbasins, two showers and a refurbished disabled toilet.

Colin Fisher, group scout leader of the 1st Beetley, said: “Because of our excellent location, we are often approached by other scout groups asking to use the site, but the facilities were just not good enough.

“The upgrade will enable us to hire out the site and raise much-needed funds. I’d like to say a big thank you to our volunteers for all their hard work, helping to raise funds, helping with the upgrade work and most of all for their continuing support of the group.”

Mrs Turner said: “The scout group plays an important role in the local community. Youngsters from Beetley and nearby villages can meet up to learn new skills, get active and make new friends. This fantastic upgrade will help safeguard the future of the scout group for local children - and maybe for their children too.”

For more information about Breckland Council’s match-funding grants call pride and grants officer Laura Apps-Green on 01362 656870.




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