A new shooting range at the South Woodford Scout Hut is just one of many activities members of the 52nd Epping Forest South Scout Group can look forward to, says Stephanie Woodley in the first of two articles
Back in 2016, our Scout group nearly folded due to a lack of volunteers. This is, sadly, a common theme for many organisations that are reliant on individuals volunteering their spare time to help. However, following support from another local group and amazing efforts by our current Scout Leader, the group has been going from strength to strength in recent years.
We now have three sections running two evenings each week. Beavers (six- to eight-year-olds) meet on a Monday, followed by the Scouts (10-and-a-half- to 14-year-olds), with the Cubs (eight- to 10-and-a-half-year-olds) meeting on a Tuesday.
You may have seen us in South Woodford the Saturday before Remembrance Sunday in November 2021, supporting the Royal British Legion by helping with the Poppy Appeal. All our group were proud to support this worthy cause with Beavers, Cubs and Scouts (and parents) joining in for at least an hour; collecting by the bus stop on George Lane and the eastbound entrance to the Tube Station. We raised an amazing £870 from the local community, so many thanks to all those who donated. The group also donated £220 last year to Redbridge Foodbank (from funds raised at our fireworks night).
The group attend regular camps, camping at Gilwell Park last October and recently hiking to Fairmead Scout Camp (staying overnight in a wooden lodge). We are also looking forward to a camping trip in May to Brownsea Island in Dorset (the birthplace of the Scouting movement) and are raising funds to subsidise the transport costs for this exciting adventure, holding a fundraising bingo session on 25 March.
The executive committee is expanding the range of activities the group can enjoy and have recently invested in an air rifle shooting range. This is a facility we will be able to share with other scout groups in our district. We were really pleased that the Mayor of Redbridge officially opened the range for us on 3 March.
We are keen to expand the group but rely on volunteers so we can continue to run. Please do get in touch if you would like to get involved as there are many ways to help; leading groups, helping when sessions are running or administrative support, such as keeping the website up to date. We are also interested in getting involved with the community, so please let us know if there is something our group can do to help others.
We look forward to providing a further update on the official opening of the shooting range and amount raised at the bingo evening in the next edition, as well as providing an update on future activities planned for the group.
The 52nd Epping Forest South Scout Group meets in the Scout Hut behind South Woodford Library. For more information, email Exco.52ndefs@Gmail.com