HAYDON Wick sea scouts are looking to raise £140,000 to help double the size of their scout hut to meet growing demand in North Swindon.

The Wick, next to Haydon Wick School, was originally built as a Wesleyan Chapel almost 150 years ago, but growing numbers of children wanting to join in the last three years has meant the old building is no longer fit for purpose.

Plans for the extension show a mezzanine floor for a second activity room, as well as offices, store rooms, kitchen and disabled toilets.

The association has raised £40,000 from smaller grants, companies donating scrap metal, and chairman Jason Cripps doing the Iron Man Wales challenge.

Carl Steckerl, one of the leaders from 1st Swindon Sea Scouts, told the adver: “There’s a huge demand, there’s so many young people that want to do it. 

“For cubs we probably have eight or nine on our waiting listing at all times. 

“There is more demand then there are places, which is a real shame.

“We’re hoping the project will help us double in size, which will be amazing. If we had a bigger hall it’s possible you could run two sessions at the same time. That would be our aspiration. It’s all very exciting”

Over the last three years the numbers of beavers, cubs, and scouts in the North Swindon district has increased from 900 to 1220. The numbers of beavers in 2015/16 was 260, but in 2017/18 there were 329.

Around 130 young people use The Wick, and 40 volunteers, over the course of a week.

Catherine Smith, the group scout leader, explained the importance of the extension to keep putting on the activities for young people.

“The young people do hikes, kayaking, learn about healthy food eating, and fitness; complimenting what they do at school in a much more fun environment,”she said.

“At that age they need the space, you need to make sure you can create small groups for them.”

“It’s about giving the children independence. They could maybe hold fundraising activities and bake-offs, which at the moment they can’t do because the space won’t let them. 

“We can take those children that struggle in the school environment and  make them a balanced individual that feels important. That is part of the mission of scouting.”

The project has planning permission from Swindon Borough Council and is looking for more donations to get it off the ground.