THE 1st Strathfieldsaye Scouts hope to expand their activities and introduce Venturers for older teenagers after locking in at least $500,000 for upgrades to their current makeshift facilities.
The Scouts hall, occupying the former maintenance hall behind the old Strathfieldsaye Shire building, has no kitchen or office, relies on an outdoor toilet and has little space for its membership of 75 children to improve their skills.
Labor’s Jacinta Allan promised $250,000 to upgrade the site, matched with a further $250,000 by Scouts Victoria and with additional funding from a federal government grant.
Strathfieldsaye Scouts group and Cub leader Margaret Keech said they had outgrown the hall, which was provided to the them in the mid-1990s.
She said the upgrade would allow them to accept more children in the coming years, particularly those aged 15 to 18 for Venturers Scouts who would require a separate room for their advanced activities.
“We would really desperately like to have inside toilets because our only toilet is an outside toilet - it’s covered - but it’s open to the elements,” Ms Keech said.
“It’s not very pleasant.
“We’d also like kitchen facilities, better storage facilities and offices for our leaders to be able to work more efficiently with the children.
“We do outdoor cooking... but we can’t do indoor cooking – biscuits or scones or anything like that – because we’ve got no kitchen.”
Much of the fitout of the hall was completed with volunteer labour, including cladding of the walls and flooring works such as sanding and varnishing.
The lack of indoor toilets also hampers the operations of the Scouts troop, with a leader and a second child required to company a Scout who needs to use the outdoor toilet.
Ms Allan said the upgrades to the hall would encourage more children in the Strathfieldsaye district to get involved in Scouts.
“The group has grown over the years, they’ve made great use of the space they’ve got but it does need to be improved,” she said.
“There needs to be the proper facilities so the Scouts... can enjoy their activities, so there can be space for the leaders of the Scouts to work with the young people and most all, encourage young people to come along and join Scouts.”
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