Scout troop needs home! THE scouts may be used to exploring the great outdoors and enjoying adventure, but, unfortunately for one Portavogie group, they have found themselves ‘homeless.’ After successfully starting a scouts group in Kircubbin last year, which now caters for 114 members, the Scouting Association was approached by residents in Portavogie who asked something similar in their own area. Stephen Wilton is District Commissioner of Newtownards, which covers the Ards peninsula. After the request he started the process in October 2013: “Getting the adults in place would have been the focus before we opened up, with regards to accepting young people. So, it’s been in the pipeline for a long time.” He said that members of the community had already ‘stepped forward’ to volunteer
and all have been fully trained and undergone child protection checks.” Stephen hopes to open the new scout group at the start of March. It already has 25 leaders who will look after four sections, covering children aged from four to 14 years old. They are also expecting 75 children to join it. However, they do not have anywhere to meet. Stephen admitted it was ‘disappointing’ that, despite the demand for a scouts group, they have not received any offers for accommodation. He added that when the local community asks for it, there is a greater chance of success: “We find, from a development point of view at the Scouting Association, that when the local community come forward to say, ‘Look, this is what we want,’ rather than us trying to put people into place, it has a greater liklihood of lasting. So,
First Kirkisto Beaver Louis Brown. B45-20-2-14
the disappointment will be from the local community and the young people.” Stephen said they are exploring different ‘Plan B’ options, such using a local school, but ‘funding constraints’ may led to problems as that would be the more expensive option. “If we can’t get any premises we won’t be able to progress,” he said. He added that scouting brings many advantages to the community: “Scouting offers fellowship, adventure and outreach within the local area. It gives young people something to do. There’s nothing in this area for the young people to do, so it offers fun, adventure and friendship.” And because it is a secular organisation, he said, it is open to children from all backgrounds and brings ‘cross community benefits.’
Lorraine Brown (centre) 1st Kirkistown Group Scout Leader with some of the Squirrels, Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Leaders who are appealing for somewhere to meet. B46-20-2-14
Photos on show A NEW photographic exhibition, being held in Newtownards, compels viewers to contemplate the extraordinary nature of our daily lives. The Photographic Contemplation exhibition in Ards Arts Centre, Conway Square, Newtownards runs from February 27 unil March 21 2014. Admission is free. For more information contact Arts Centre, Tel: 028 9181 0803, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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