I was called to a meeting at 1st Brookside Scouts' headquarters on Tuesday night along with other parents whose children go to Beavers, Cubs and Scouts there where we were given some very sad news.
After 39 years, the group is folding and merging with 1st Dawley Brook, which is based in the grounds of the Phoenix school.
The group is no longer viable for a number of reasons but the two main ones are the state of the building and the lack of leaders to run the groups.
The headquarters is the old chapel on Aqueduct Lane which, whilst a lovely old grade 2 listed building, is in quite a poor state. The roof has been vandalised many times and because it's a grade 2 listed building, any repairs have to be like for like. Roof tiles for 200 year old chapels aren't easy to come by and the extent of the damage means a repair bill of around £10,000. The walls were damp-proofed back when the Scouts moved in but the damp is coming in through the walls now and up through the floor when the building has warmed up in the winter. This isn't too much of a problem though because it's virtually impossible to heat the building.
Buildings can be repaired and there's an outside chance the group could raise the funds needed to get the building repaired but it wouldn't solve the main problem which is that there aren't enough leaders to run the groups. The District Commissioner, who is responsible for Scouting in the whole of the Shropshire Severn and Teme district has been running Scouts in Brookside for the last few months but he can't continue to do it, he has too many other responsibilities. Cubs and Beavers is reliant on four members of the same family which is far from ideal.
It's a real shame to see 1st Brookside Scouts come to an end but there is nothing anyone can do to save the group. The Chairman and committee have done everything they possibly can to try and save the group and it's a testament to their hard work that it's lasted as long as it has.
A lot of people have gone through the doors of 1st Brookside Scouts in the last 39 years. If you'd like to share your experiences of 1st Brookside Scouts, there will be a place on their website to do so shortly.