1st Shipley Scouts open new accessible facilities

On Wednesday 10th April 1st Shipley Scouts held a celebratory event to mark the completion of its brand-new accessible shower block, which was made possible by generous contributions from local businesses and the community.

Billingshurst Lions, Willmott Dixon, Saxon Weald, Dudman Group, Tugwell Heating Co and further local supporters provided donations, materials, or physical hard work to enhance the facilities at the Scouts’ remarkable countryside venue. The addition of the new shower block, together with the recently completed purpose-built external meeting space and kitchen, provides more children with the chance to enjoy memorable learning experiences at 1st Shipley Scouts HQ.

Chairman of 1st Shipley Scouts, Peter Sutton, welcomed and gave thanks to contributors, many of which were in attendance. He explained that the new facilities will present extended opportunities for Scouts both now and for the generations to come.

Before the showers were formally announced as open, guests witnessed one of the youngest attendees give his Scout promise and become officially invested as a Beaver. Also, Nikki, a former Scout and current member of Horsham’s Ready and Able Sports group, who grew up aware of the lack of accessible facilities like these, spoke to express his gratitude and was invited to have first use of the new accessible shower room.

Officially opening the new shower block were Jeremy Quin MP and Chairman of Horsham Council, Cllr David Skipp who jointly cut a ceremonial ribbon alongside Explorers, Scouts, Cubs, and Beavers from the group. After all the showers had their inaugural test-run, attendees enjoyed a BBQ lunch and explored the facilities together.

Other guests at the launch event included leaders of Shipley Parish Council, representatives from local SEND charity Springboard and Horsham Council’s Reaching Higher Project, Scouts County Commissioner Tom Dalton, and Lady Louise Burrell who attended with her son Bertie. The Burrell family own the Dragons Estate on which the building is situated and are keen supporters of the Group.

Pete Sutton, Chairman of 1st Shipley Scouts, commented on plans to make the site available for other groups to use:

“From experience, I don’t think there is another Scouting venue with a facility as good as this anywhere in the country. This means that other like-minded groups, who share our values, can now have the opportunity to also share our wonderful facilities.

“This brand-new building is equipped with a superb accessible toilet and shower, illustrating our mission to embrace everyone’s needs and ambitions. Now, more people can enjoy the experiences to be had here and create those important lifelong memories of having fun with their friends and exploring the great outdoors.

“With our incredible facilities now open to other scout troops and like-minded organisations for booking, it allows even more people to benefit from the scouting experience and our rural location. We can supply tenting equipment and catering – it’s early days with this idea, so we’re excited to collaborate and help people get the most out of their time here. We hope to see more and more groups enjoying the advantages of learning within this beautiful and wonderfully equipped setting in the years to come.”