Mercury helps save Quantock scout hut

This is The West Country: The Bridgwater YMCA agreed to take over the scout hut The Bridgwater YMCA agreed to take over the scout hut

A SCOUT hut in the heart of the Quantocks which was at risk of closure has been saved after a story in the Mercury.

The Campbell Room in Over Stowey had been a base for groups exploring the countryside for 35 years, but its management committee was growing too old to run it.

Derek Briggs, 80, is a member of the scout hut’s six-man management team, and with two members of the team retiring this year he turned to the Mercury in February to put out an appeal for younger volunteers or else it would have to shut down.

The Bridgwater YMCA, on seeing the article, sprung into action and saved the scout hut from closing.

Martin Hodgeson, of Bridgwater YMCA, said: “When we saw the article in the Mercury we met the committee to discuss the future.

“The board said they were, and I believe the phrase they used, “getting on a bit”.

“We’ve been in Bridgwater since 1884, and rather than letting this fantastic resource shut down we can run it in partnership with the volunteers already there.

“We all shared our views on what the Camp-bell Room could move on to in the next 20 years.

“It has the same goal as us in giving young people the chance to broaden their horizons.”

The Campbell Room is used by scout groups, schools, biking clubs and orienteering groups as a base to explore the Quantocks with ages ranging from eight up to the occasional adult group on company team-building exercises.

Mr Briggs said: “As a result of the article we had a number of responses from groups and individuals.

“The YMCA immediately knew a lot about it and showed considerable interest.

“They were prepared to take it on with us and share in it with us.

“I’m grateful to the Mercury. Other offers of help, one in particular, have been taken up already, while others offered help with things like decorating.”

Though the current management committee is growing older they will still be involved with running the scout hut.

Mr Briggs said: “The YMCA doesn’t envisage a lot of change at all. They’ll be referring to us lots – we’ll keep finding the energy and the health to be able to keep it up.”

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