After many years of fund raising efforts and hard work the 1st Seaton Scout Group’s new headquarters and community facility is nearing completion.

The next stage will be to demolish the old 70-year-old timber Scout Shack building and carry out groundworks to restore the site.

The new building will add to Seaton’s community spaces and will complement the existing village hall to form a hub of facilities at Seaton’s Welfare Fields.

The scouts have managed to raise almost £180,000 in grants and community donations for the building.

Build contractor Stobbarts Limited has worked closely with the group on the development, which has a 105 square metre hall, fully accessible toilets and disabled facilities along with a kitchen and garage area for use as an ‘indoor/outdoor space’ in poor weather.

Brian Hemming, working with Seaton Scout Group as funding and project manager, said: “The development of the new building has been a real challenge.

"Firstly in attracting grant funding, working with a very tight budget to create a construction programme with the Stobbarts team.

“Then secondly, dealing with a very wet construction site, two winter storms that damaged the old hut and working around a lockdown the likes of which many of us have never seen in our lifetime.”

In a couple of months the building should be handed over but they will still have to find funding for items such as decoration, kitchen and general installations.

The group will continue to make grant applications to help with the final stages but currently all support from grant funding bodies is directed towards Covid-19 community support.

They have got through a stage 1 application to the Big Lottery Reaching Communities fund and await the outcome of that application once there is an improvement in the current financial climate.

They are hoping to hear in the next three months and say the next really big challenge is to demolish the old hut and clear the site.

Brian added: “Since the group began in 1913 it has seen thousands of scouts progress through the movement in Seaton and valiantly supported the Seaton community I am sure that there are many stories to be told about its history.”

Mike Ditchburn, group chairman, said: “I have been involved in the group for many years and we have always been aware that even though we have first class leaders our old wooden headquarters has not enabled us to move into the 21st century. After many years of fundraising, we will shortly be able to offer scouts of all ages and gender a first class facility in which to develop their life skills.

“The new headquarters and community building will also offer another venue in Seaton for community groups.”

“To this end we are asking the wider community to support us in any way they can to complete the high quality facilities which we believe the people of Seaton deserve. Due to the present situation with Covid-19 and building work our annual Garden Party has not taken place. This would have been the perfect opportunity to thank you all, however I will take this opportunity to give heartfelt thanks to the many people who have supported us this far. Without your belief and commitment we would not have been able to see this building come to fruition.”

Group Scout Leader Ian Chambers added: “Despite not being able to meet face-to-face we are making plans to resume, when it is safe to do so. This will include having a Covid-secure meeting place.

"We are hopeful the new build being ready, will coincide with our plans. The benefit of the new hall is that it has plenty of space and will be easier to clean than our old hut.

"We wouldn’t have made it this far without Brian who has driven this project forward. We are 90 per cent complete, and will soon have a building the whole community can be proud of.”

“The group are extremely grateful for all the support they have received from the community and grant funding bodies. Without their help we could not have got to where we are today. Thank You!”