Community rallies to fund revamp of Scout and Guide headquarters

The Downham Market Scout and Guide Association has been fundraising to refurb their Howdale Road hut facilities. 

The Downham Market Scout and Guide Association has been fundraising to refurb their Howdale Road hut facilities. - Credit: Karen Smith

A Norfolk Girlguiding and Scout group is a step closer to seeing its 30-year-old hut facilities transformed after the community rallied behind a bid to refurbish it.

The Downham Market Scout and Guide Association appealed to the local community in 2019 to help with fundraising efforts to upgrade its Howdale Road  hut which was rundown and "dreary."

The kitchen facilities at the Scouts and Guides hut on Howdale Road in Downham Market.

The kitchen facilities at the Scouts and Guides hut on Howdale Road in Downham Market. - Credit: Emma Smith

Howdale Pax, a group committed to the building's upkeep, has since seen donations come in and has been awarded £5,000 from the Calor Rural Community Fund after applying for the project last year.

The group leaders said they were "amazed by the support", which has raised an additional £1,500 - allowing them to move ahead with refurb plans.

This involved the installation of three new toilets in January, including a disabled toilet.

The toilet facilities at the Scouts and Guides hut on Howdale Road in Downham Market before the refurb.

The toilet facilities at the Scouts and Guides hut on Howdale Road in Downham Market before the refurb. - Credit: Emma Smith

Emma Smith, 1st Downham Market Rainbow leader, said: "We were so overwhelmed to have been awarded a grant, as our toilets have not changed since our hut opened 30 years ago.

"We can finally give our young people and volunteers the facilities they deserve. This is going to benefit the next generation in our area.

The toilet facilities at the Scouts and Guides hut on Howdale Road in Downham Market before the refurb.

The toilet facilities at the Scouts and Guides hut on Howdale Road in Downham Market before the refurb. - Credit: Emma Smith

"Our next big project is the kitchen. It is not functional or safe for our young people to use.

"It is unpleasant, dreary and needs some life injected back into it. By improving our kitchen we can offer more opportunities to our young members such as badges, sleepovers, community events and most importantly valuable life skills."

The toilet facilities at the Scouts and Guides hut on Howdale Road in Downham Market after the refurb.

The toilet facilities at the Scouts and Guides hut on Howdale Road in Downham Market after the refurb. - Credit: Emma Smith

The toilet facilities at the Scouts and Guides hut on Howdale Road in Downham Market after the refurb.

The toilet facilities at the Scouts and Guides hut on Howdale Road in Downham Market after the refurb. - Credit: Emma Smith

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Fundraising for the kitchen is currently taking place with a seven day virtual balloon race starting on April 4 at 12pm.

It is part of a national race that is offering three prizes which includes £500, an iPad, and £10 book tokens. And Howdale Pax will be offering the top 15 balloons who supported them with a 'thank you' badge and postcard, and the top five will also win a mystery prize.

To buy a balloon visit ecoracing.co/user/page/1516 

Howdale Pax badges are also being sold for £1.50 each and all proceeds will go towards the kitchen fundraising.

Thank you badges for those supporting the cause.

Thank you badges for those supporting the cause. - Credit: Emma Smith

The kitchen facilities at the Scouts and Guides hut on Howdale Road in Downham Market.

The kitchen facilities at the Scouts and Guides hut on Howdale Road in Downham Market. - Credit: Emma Smith

For those looking to buy a badge or to support the group email howdalepax@gmail.com.