The 2nd Warwick Sea Scout: A year on from fire
Since the arson attack on their new headquarters and community building a year ago, the 2nd Warwick Sea Scouts have pressed ahead with their building work while providing a vital service for families during the pandemic. They are now trying to fund the final 'fit out' to open this summer
On February 29, 2020, the community was shocked when the 2nd Warwick Sea Scouts' building site was the victim of a suspected arson attack.
The steel frame that had just been erected warped with the heat of the fire, and the sports centre next door also suffered damage to the sports hall.
This happened just a few weeks before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, which then also put local fundraising on hold and didn’t allow them the chance to take up all the offers of help from the local community that came flooding in.
The pandemic also caused delays to the insurance claim and rebuilding works.
However, their determination has been demonstrated over the last 12 months, as they worked through the insurance claim, re-started the work on the structure and now have a fully watertight shell that they are beginning to fit out inside; having raised more than £850k.
They are now approaching the final fit-out stage for their new HQ.
This will complete the second phase of their ‘Building a Future’ project; the first phase being the successful renovation of the jetties and construction of a new boatyard which was opened
in 2018 by HRH The Duke of Kent.
2nd Warwick's aim is to increase the number of children who can join the group, but to achieve this they need more leaders, safe waterside facilities and a larger meeting place.
Terry Morris, Mayor of Warwick and Andrew Day, Leader of Warwick District Council have both visited the site to see the progress to date.
Cllr Terry Morris, the Mayor of Warwick said: "It is amazing to see such great progress being made since the fire a year ago.
"The local community have really come together to support this project over the last few years and it’s great to see it now becoming a reality.
"The new facility will enable the group to expand, giving even more of the district’s young people and children the opportunity to join and benefit from the many life-long skills and experiences they offer, whilst also establishing a great new community venue in the heart of Warwick.
"I can’t wait to see it up and running later in the year."
A new Beaver pack to open soon
The group is already planning to open a second Beaver colony as soon as face to face meetings are allowed again, so that it is established ahead of moving into their new HQ.
This will provide up to 24 additional places a year for local youngsters to benefit from all the skills for life that children learn through sea scouting.
Lily is a new member to the group and is looking forward to the opening of the new pack.
Emma, Lily's mum said: "Lily is new to the Sea Scouts and is really looking forward to all the fun activities she will be doing when the new Beaver colony starts.
"She can’t wait to learn some new skills and make some new friends. Also it is thrilling that she will be one of the first to use their brand new HQ."
Fundraising Challenges and Successes
The watertight shell has been fully funded by the Sea Scouts after extensive fundraising, which had been made even more challenging due to Covid-19.
This has been achieved through the support of Warwick District Council and other major funders including; National Grid, King Henry VIII Endowed Trust, 20th May 1961 Trust, The Freemasons, the Bernard Sunley Foundation and Garfield Weston Foundation.
They have also received amazing support from the local community including; Warwick Town Council, Warwick Court Leet, Kenilworth Round Table, St Nicholas Church, Kenilworth and Warwick Lions, St Mary's Hall Trust, Edith & Jack Griffiths Trust, The Charity of Thomas Oken and Nicholas Eyffler and many other smaller trusts and private donations.
Their youngsters have also worked hard doing lots of ‘virtual’ fundraising
They were able to move on to fitting out the inside of their HQ due to generous support from the King Henry VIII Foundation, HS2 Community and Environment Fund, Alan Edward Higgs Charity and Leamington Round Table.
They have just installed the toilets and shower; which were donated by Excelsior (IPS Panelling) and Wolseley (sanitaryware).
They are also delighted to have just received funding from Heart of England Community Energy Warwickshire Fund to part-fund the new Air Source Heat Pump they will be installing as they aim to make the new HQ as sustainable as possible.
Solar Panels will also be installed on the building.
Janette Eslick, Fundraiser, 2nd Warwick Sea Scouts, said: "We have been overwhelmed by the support we have had; it’s hard to believe we have now raised over £1 million for our new jetties, boatyard and new HQ.
"This is a massive achievement for a local scout group during a challenging time and we are so grateful to the local community in helping us get this far.
"We just need one final push to finish the fit-out and allow us to open our doors in the summer.
"Please do check out what sponsorship is still available or buy one of our new online raffle tickets from our website.
"You could win a horse archery lesson at Knights of Middle England or a voucher for a meal, day-out or other activity. Thank you to Aubrey Allen, The Globe, Art Kitchen, Bravissimo, Leam Boat Centre, Shakespeare Distillery and MAD museum for supporting us.
"With the draw taking place on April 12 it will give you something to look forward to as lockdown eases."
Over the last 12 months, 2nd Warwick have demonstrated the key role they play within the local community, having been a real lifeline for local families during the pandemic.
Sections have continued to meet, either online or in small groups when allowed and have been a great way for the youngsters to meet up with friends either virtually or outdoors.
Marc Gadsby, Group Scout Leader at 2nd Warwick Sea Scouts, said: "The Covid-19 pandemic has shown how vital outdoor activities are for our local youngsters, and how they are needed now more than ever.
"Our leader team has been amazing this year, adapting continually to offer amazing activities and adventures for our youngsters.
"Recently they have been making tin can pancakes, going on ‘unplanned hikes’ and learning survival skills at home.
"We hope to move the new Beaver Colony and the established sections into our new HQ later in 2021.
"As we expand the group, we do need more volunteers and leaders, so would love to hear from any adults who would like to get involved in the future. "
If anyone would like to want to get involved in volunteering or would like to help the sea scouts raise the final funds they need to complete the new HQ and community building in 2021 they can get in touch by emailing: [email protected] , visiting: www.2wk.org.uk/new-hq or follow on Facebook: www.facebook.com/2wkseascouts