New Scout Hall Project - 1st Kesgrave Scout Group

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New Scout Hall (Project 2000)
We moved into our new Scout Hall in Feb 04 and the project is now closed. The business plan was last updated in 2005 and outlines how the 1st Kesgrave Scout Group achieved this project. It is here for reference only.

Executive Summary
Our project is to promote and expand our Group to meet the needs of Kesgrave's rapidly increasing population and to provide a link between the old and new parts of the town (a village until 1 Jan 2000) as it develops. A key part of this project was to build a new Scout Hall to provide accommodation for the Scout Group and other community organisations and to help provide a centre for the growing community.

Pictures of the New Hall project can be found in the Photo’s section of this web site (from Aug 2002 through to May 2004).

If you require further information please contact: Alan Comber Tel : (01473) 622185, Email:

Where we are - The project is now in its twelfth year. So far we have achieved the following:

  • Expanded our Group from 120 to 187 members;
  • We had to hire scarce alternative accommodation for one section as the current hall was fully utilised for meetings. As we expand we will need further accommodation;
  • Managed to cater for everyone applying to join the Group although for over two years we had a waiting list of 20-30 boys waiting to enter Beavers. Typically this delayed joining by between 3-9 months;
  • Opened up our current hall to community use. Achieved 1992;
  • Expanded our fund raising and community events to maximise our contribution to the community;
  • Helped set up a consortium with three other interested parties to lease a piece of land on which to build various community buildings including our Scout Hall to form part of the new Town Centre. Achieved in 1997;
  • Funded our share of the infrastructure for the shared land. Infrastructure completed in 1997;
  • Acquired a sub lease from the consortium for our own site with services to the edge of it. Achieved in 1997;
  • Raised funds of £320,000 (over 75% of the capital amount required) of which £115,500 was directly by Scout Group fund raising events and £20,000 by covenants, gift aid and GAYE. The other funds have been raised through grants, loans, donations etc.
  • Opened a charity shop in partnership with another local organisation to significantly improve the Group's fund raising efforts and provide a useful local social facility.
  • We introduced a third Beaver colony in May 2002 which catered for 12 of the boys on the waiting list and has reduced waiting time.
  • Started building the shell 12 Aug 2002 and completed in November 02.
  • The Scout Association introduced a new section in September 02. This is a District based section, started primarily to cater for our older Scouts and meets at Martlesham. We were unable to provide accommodation for their meetings until the new hall was built.
  • Started a second troop in May 03.
  • Started fitting out the hall in March 03 and completed in Feb 04
  • Moved in to our new HQ on 22 Feb 04.
  • Started to support a District based Explorer unit in Apr 04.
  • Started taking bookings for external hirers in Apr 04 - we have already had many bookings for parties, training activities etc.
  • Officially opened the new hall on 8 May 04
  • Completed the tarmacing of our car park in Jan 05.
  • Sold old hall to help pay off loans - 18 March 05

The Group has gained a proven track record in managing such a project and raising substantial funds towards the new hall. We have now completed the building and occupied it.

We are now looking for funding to pay of the outstanding loans and finish off some outstanding fittings inc a lift. We are finally beginning to gain the benefits of our new accommodation and minimise costs.

The total cost of the project is estimated at £430,000 including acquiring the land and professional fees.

How YOU can help
Donations/Gift Aid - One of the best ways to help us is to donate money on a regular basis. It doesn't need to be a large amount, just a few pounds a month, but it soon mounts up and gives a regular income. With the introduction of the new Gift Aid rules from 6 April 2000 this method of fund raising can be further enhanced by allowing us to claim the tax back. A further 28% for free. An opportunity not to be missed. All that is needed from you is a declaration that you want all payments made to the Group to be treated as Gift Aid donations. This can be any amount and may be on a regular basis or a one-off payment.

Support our fund raising events - To raise the money required will require lots of fund raising events over many years. We are already holding a number of regular events each year such as family day, bonfire night, gang shows, jumble sales etc. Please come and support these events or even suggest some of your own! During the last year we have been involved in the opening of a charity shop (2nd Stop) which is significantly helping towards funds.

Help with fund raising - If you are inspired by this project, perhaps you could spare some time to help with fund raising events, or even better join our fund raising committee. Your help will be very welcome.

Offer your services - Now that the hall is virtually completed internally we no longer need any skilled resources such as carpenters, electricians, plumbers etc? For those who helped over the last year your efforts were great fully received.

Why a new hall
Our community is expanding - Kesgrave is situated 4 miles from Ipswich on the A1214 and is within the Suffolk Coastal District based at Woodbridge 4 miles distant. Until 8 years ago there was a population of 5,000. Now we have a population of almost 10,000 which is set to rise to 14,000 over the next 5 years, as our major development (Grange Farm) of 3,000 additional dwellings progresses. To reflect these changes Kesgrave became a town on 1 January 2000. Prior to that it was a large village.

A new town centre and a united community - The old and new parts of the town need to be united during the period of growth and development and a key part of this is the formation of a new town centre. There is an increasing need for community facilities within this centre. The Scout Group has taken a leading role in this development (as part of a consortium) and will be responsible for building their own new hall to fulfil both the needs of the community and their own Group.

There are a number of reasons why the Kesgrave Scout Group needs a new hall. These are:

Population growth - The expansion of Grange Farm is increasing the size of Kesgrave and hence the youth population. The Group already has nine sections which comprise three Beaver Colonies, three Cub Packs, two Scout Troops and a Venture Unit and often has waiting lists for Beavers and Cubs. We estimate we will have a membership of well over 200 by the time Grange Farm is completed. It is currently 187. We have also moved our older scouts (12) to a District Based explorer unit.

The existing Scout Hall when built in 1974 was commensurate with need and was located next to a large community field which has now been built on. It cannot be extended and all possible time slots for Scout meetings are being used.

The existing hall meeting capacity is now exhausted and in 1999 we started hiring a another local hall. This situation can only get worse.

Inadequate existing hall size - The size of the existing hall restricts our use of it for events such as dances, discos, toy sales and quiz nights and therefore we must hire other facilities which often make the event uneconomic.

Insufficient existing activity space - A lot of activities take place outside. The existing hall is inappropriately sited in relation to the revised town layout and has insufficient activity space in the vicinity. It is also in close proximity to a busy road and cycle path.

Lack of storage space - To undertake activities properly requires a lot of equipment that has to be stored carefully. The Group currently has to store; canoes, tents, marquees, cooking equipment, spars, tables, chairs, games equipment etc. These take up a lot of space. The hall already has a storage problem, with equipment needing to be stored in leaders homes. This is not only very difficult and inconvenient but may not always be possible. Other users of the hall also require storage for toys, games equipment etc.

Inadequate Disabled Facilities - The existing hall cannot be adapted to provide facilities such as disabled toilets or easy access and limits our ability to provide Scouting for all. It also restricts its use by other organisations.

Increased refurbishment and modernisation costs - The existing hall is now over 25 years old and nearing the end of its economic life. Significant costs (>£6,000) have already been incurred over the last seven years to meet safety and hygiene standards and to keep the hall in good repair. Undoubtedly there will be further changes to be made.

Reduced lease - The existing hall building belongs to the Group but is sited on land leased from the Landlords, the Vicar and Churchwardens of All Saints Kesgrave. This is a financial burden to the Group and only guarantees the halls future for another 1 year with an option for a further 12. There are rent reviews every 4 years and the Group pays a market rent.

Lack of suitable land - Suitable sites in Kesgrave are scarce and command a market rate. Obtaining a suitable site was a priority before the development of Grange Farm and the town centre were completed. After that it would be very difficult to find a site where a new hall could be built at a reasonable cost. A suitable site was identified and purchased in June 1997 and is ideal from the following points of view:• six acres of playing fields adjoin the new hall site;

  • savings were made because car parking is communal to the development;
  • central to the town;
  • savings were made as land costs were at a minimum.

Other factors - The Group currently has enough leaders and skilled resources to undertake such a venture. This may not be the case in the future.

Having a waiting list will put boys off joining the movement. If boys don't join at a early age (Beaver/Cub age) then they are unlikely to join later on (Scouts/Venture age). This will be a severe loss of opportunity for the youth in Kesgrave.

Summary - Taking all these factors into account there is unquestionably a need for our Group to cater for the expansion of the town and to provide larger accommodation sited on a new location in Kesgrave. That is why we decided to start the project. This document outlines how such a project could be completed. The objective being for the Group to complete the hall by the end of 2000 so that it can provide facilities for the community and carry on Scouting for all in Kesgrave into the third millennium (hence the name 'Challenge 2000'). The project will finally end when the town stops expanding (current estimate 2008).

Local Significance
As a focus for town life Kesgrave has a new centre in the middle of the town, which incorporates a new Tesco 'Micro' store and a community centre.

The Scout Group have been instrumental in identifying a site within the new centre and arranging to join with three other community users; a doctors surgery, an elderly, mentally infirm day care centre and a children's nursery to acquire and develop the area. The consortium purchased the land in July 1997 and the infrastructure was completed later that year. The three other users have now built their accommodation and occupy it. The children's nursery was opened in early 1998, the doctors surgery in August 1998 and the EMI day centre in March 1999. All that remains is for the Scout Hall to be built.

Even with this development the centre is still not complete and lacks other facilities appropriate to a town centre. There are still some undeveloped areas of land in the vicinity and a temporary static library has recently been sited nearby. The five Tesco shop units have been occupied by a vets practice, hair dresser a dry cleaner and an estate agent. The final unit has recently been occupied by a charity shop (2nd Stop) that is raising funds for this project (on a 50:50 basis with another organisation, SPARK - Sport and Recreation in Kesgrave).

Six acres of playing fields belonging to the community centre nearby provide a safe area for outdoor activities and are already used by the Group for activities such as the town fete and bonfire night. As a whole the area provides a focus for town life providing shopping, medical, sporting and recreational facilities all in one place and will take the town into the next Millennium. Our Hall is central to this site and will be at the heart of this new development.

Scouting in Kesgrave has been an important part of our social fabric since 1927 and plays a significant role in the town. The Scout Group aims to help unite the town, grow with the community and promote community spirit. We would prefer to have one large active Scout Group rather than two or three separate groups as may be found in other small towns. We organise a lot of activities such as the town fete (attended by over 3000 people), bonfire night (600 people) and a biannual gang show in which over 200 people take part on stage and 900 people watch. Many of these events are carried out in conjunction with other village organisations such as the Football Club and Guide Association.

It is our intention to continue this community involvement into the new millennium. A new building will maximise our opportunity to do this.

Benefits for Kesgrave
  • An increased Group membership will strengthen our organisation, increase its capabilities to put on events for our members and the local community and ensure it's longer term success.
  • Already during the school holidays we provide workshops and activities for children of all abilities to raise funds and help uniting the local community.
  • Help to keep Scouting and Guiding alive in Kesgrave for future generations at minimum cost, with the best possible facilities.
  • The aims of Scouting are about young people working together with adult help to develop their full potential and social awareness. Having suitable secure accommodation where they can meet and join with others is essential to this.
  • A new hall will allow the Group to meet the needs of the expanding youth population in Kesgrave without having to hire expensive alternative accommodation, turn people away or eventually have no accommodation/facilities once the current hall lease runs out in 16 years time. It would currently be impossible to house all the Group's sections in alternative local halls - there aren't enough.

The new hall and location will provide:
  • Much needed accommodation/facilities for others to use. This type of inexpensive accommodation is scarce in Kesgrave. It is intended that the new hall will be used by Guides, District,Childminders support group, District and County Guide and Scout Leader Training, local dance groups, children's parties, cross stitch group, antenatal classes, keep fit classes, coffee mornings, school holiday clubs and any other member of the community who wishes to use the building. Our existing Hall is already used by many of these Groups and it is anticipated that this use will continue in the new hall.
  • More modern facilities and a more suitable size will make the hall much more attractive to day time users, hence making better use of our accommodation.
  • A more suitable venue for drop in services, fund raising activities, promotional work etc than any other accommodation in the area. This can only be of benefit to the Scout Group and any other organisation using the facilities.
  • Improved facilities for section meetings, storage and Scouting activities.
  • The capability of being used as accommodation for overnight stops by other Scout/Guide groups or Schools.
  • Better access and facilities for disabled people.
  • Improved activity space nearby than the current location.
  • Accommodation for larger events such as dances, bingo etc to be put on by ourselves or other organisations to meet local needs.
  • Facilities to our neighbours (a doctor's surgery; elderly, mentally infirmed unit and a children's nursery) during the day if required (subject to VAT restrictions). We already provide accommodation to the children's nursery during holidays to accommodate a local demand for school holiday clubs.
  • Indoor sporting facilities i.e. badminton, indoor football, climbing wall, etc for the Group and other organisations to use. The current hall is unsuitable for these activities.
  • A better catchment area for fund raising activities for ourselves and other local organisation because of the halls proximity to a local retailer (Tesco) etc. This will mean we can provide better equipment/services than at the moment.
  • More effective interworking between sections and between other organisations by having two halls in close proximity, plus being able to accommodate the potential demand.
  • More visibility/accessibility to the general public for the Group and others users
  • Part of a new central focus for the town.

Public Support
The project has wide community support in Kesgrave including unanimous approval and support by the Town Council, which has donated £1000 to the project. This community use of the site also has the approval of the Suffolk Coastal Planning Authorities. Suffolk Coastal have also provided £15,350 towards the project.

The Scout Group itself has mounted a tremendous fund raising effort and has already raised over £115,500 from numerous activities and events held in the village. This has recently been augmented by setting up a local charity shop (2nd Stop) in partnership with another local organisation SPARK (Sport and Recreation in Kesgrave). This could not have been achieved without a lot of local support and a highly motivated enthusiastic fund raising team.

Local businesses and charities have supported us by matching our fund raising efforts or paying for fund raising costs. We have also received donations from individuals in the village and a covenant scheme has been launched through which people are able to show a regular commitment. So far covenants, Gift Aid and GAYE have raised £20,000

The group has a good working relationship with many of the organisations in the town and joint fund-raising ventures are often held. We work closely with the Guides, local schools, football teams, SPARK and actively contribute to local conservation groups and the Parish Path Partnership Scheme.

We also have the backing of the Scout Association, both at HQ, County and District levels. However the Scout Association do not provide grants for such projects but will only provide a loan to match our fund raising efforts at base rate interest repayable over 10 years. We currently have a loan of £15,000.

New Hall Site
Our site was acquired in July 1997, which is central to the town and forms part of the town centre. It is ideally placed for use by organisations and individuals and to promote Scouting and Guiding.

The land is leased from Tesco on a 125 year lease, via a management company (Rupert Fison Centre Ltd). The management company is owned and run by the four consortium members who occupy the site. These are representatives of the local doctors practice, Rhymes Nursery, EMI unit and ourselves.

Full planning permission for the site was granted on 31 May 1996. We also have outline planning permission for our hall.

The infrastructure of the roads, drains and communal areas such as car parking have been put in place. These were completed in 1997. This leaves us with a fully serviced site which is central to the development.

Our contribution to the cost of the land was £56,400

The Hall
The new HQ will provide the following facilities:

Two Halls - These will allow the Scout Group to hold two section meetings at the same time every evening of the week and hence provide us with enough capacity to cater for the anticipated demand for section meetings in the near future. The main hall will also be large enough to cater for fund raising events for around 120 people. This will allow us to hold larger events such as dances etc. Our current hall only caters for around 60 people and hence severely limits it's fund raising capability.

Meeting Room - The meeting room will allow management meetings to take place at the same time as section meetings. Currently management meetings are held in Leaders houses because the existing hall doesn't have a separate meeting room.

Kitchen - The kitchen will provide catering to both halls and can be accessed without having to go through either of the halls. It will be equipped with modern facilities such as a microwave, cooker, fridge, freezer etc. This will help us to meet modern hygiene regulations and allow us to prepare food in the hall.

Store Room - The store room will provide us with adequate storage space to hold the vast array of equipment that a Scout Group requires to function properly. It will be used to store: tents, canoes, ropes, wooden spars, fund raising equipment, tables, chairs, cooking equipment, games equipment etc. It will alleviate the current problem of having to store some of our equipment in Leaders homes.

Workshop - The workshop will allow us to undertake maintenance on equipment, construct or build equipment (such as canoes), and dry tents when they are wet. All this without having to interfere with section meetings.

Toilets - Adequate toilet facilities will be provided catering for both gents and ladies and the disabled.

Disabled facilities - In addition to disabled toilet facilities, access to the building will allow for wheelchairs.

Entrance Lobby - This will allow parents to enter the hall without having to disturb section meetings. It will also mean that during inclement weather parents won't have to wait out in the rain or freezing cold waiting for section meetings to finish.

Model of the new scout hall

Our architects (Barefoot & Gilles) working on our requirements have provided the design.

The design of the building is the result of many consultations with committee members and others, the District Council Planning Officer, the Parish Council, Tesco and the original land owners. The building design as it now stands will satisfy our requirements for the foreseeable future and will make a positive contribution to the overall site development. The planners are satisfied that the various buildings on the site will have a harmonious relationship within the town centre and are insisting on quality materials and high standards of construction throughout the development.

The building is designed with high insulation values, in excess of the building regulations, and use as much natural lighting as possible to maximise energy efficiency and reduce running costs.

New Hall Plan
Phase 1 - Identify and Purchase Land. Build Infrastructure

  • 1993 - Project launched. Fund raising started.
  • 1994/96 - Find suitable site. Get hall designed/planned.
  • 1997 - Set up Rupert Fison Centre Ltd to purchase site. Acquire site and complete infrastructure.
  • 1998 - Finalise new scout hall design and plans.
  • 1999 - Landscape infrastructure.

Phase 2 - Build Hall

  • 2002 - Complete hall shell
  • 2003 - undertake internal works in line with funds available and occupy as early as possible

Phase 3 - Pay off any Loans

  • 2007 - Project completed and any loans repaid

Fund Raising
The Group are raising funds for the project from the following sources:• covenants/direct pay deductions from local residents

  • grants/loans from local councils - Kesgrave Town Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council)
  • fund raising by the Group
  • loans from the Scout Association
  • donations/loans from Charities
  • donations from local people and businesses

We also anticipate obtaining materials from local businesses at cost or as donations.

The Scout Group has mounted a tremendous fund raising effort and have already raised over £115,500 from numerous activities and events held in the village. This has recently been augmented by setting up a local charity shop (2nd Stop) in partnership with another local organisation SPARK (Sport and Recreation in Kesgrave). This could not have been achieved without a lot of local support and a highly motivated enthusiastic fund raising team.

Local businesses and charities have supported us by matching our fund raising efforts or paying for fund raising costs. We have also received donations from individuals in the village and a covenant scheme has been launched through which people are able to show a regular commitment. So far £20,000 has been raised by covenants, gift aid and GAYE.

The Town Council has donated £1000 to the project and Suffolk Coastal District Council have also pledged £7,850 towards the project.

The fund raising efforts to date are shown below. Further funds are also pledged once building work commences. The total cost of the project is estimated at £420,000 including acquiring the land and professional fees.

Post Implementation
The finished building will be administered and managed by the 1st Kesgrave Scout Group by it's Executive Committee.

It is anticpated that running costs will be met by membership fees, hall hirings and fund raising. The existing hall costs are met by these means. Before launching the appeal to raise funds for the new Hall we were regularly breaking even on running costs for the existing hall therefore we do not anticipate any problems in the future.

Charges will be levied to users of the hall based on the running costs of the hall (i.e. heat/light etc and a small contribution to wear and tear). The hall will not be profit making but must cover all running and associated costs.

The risks to the project are that the Group would be unable to:

  • recruit and maintain leaders to run sections (new leaders continue to volunteer readily).
  • keep up with building costs. We have already seen this as the costs of the wooden structure of our hall has go up by 18% in less than 4 years;
  • raise the money required quickly enough to meet the needs of our increased population
  • find the necessary expertise to plan, manage and build the new hall (architect appointed and designs made);
  • guarantee the continued commitment of key committee members due to people changing jobs (replacements have been readily forthcoming since project inception);
  • guarantee continuation of Scouting in Kesgrave (there is every indication that this will be achieved on the basis of its strength over the past 70 years);

The Groups work for the youth of the community is vitally important and is going through a phase of expansion with new leaders and helpers coming on board, especially from Grange Farm.

There have already been waiting lists for Beavers and Cubs. So with the expansion of Grange Farm this situation can only get worse. It is important that the Group doesn't allow the youth of Kesgrave to be denied the many character forming benefits of Scouting. It can only achieve this by having larger accommodation. We have already had to hire alternative accommodation to house one section of the Group. This is a financial drain on the Groups resources.

By allowing the building to be used by other organisations during the day, particularly those with learning difficulties, Scouts and Guides during the evenings for section meetings and fund raising (e.g. discos, a youth group, bingo etc) and for functions over the weekends, there is no doubt it will be a tremendous asset to the whole community.

The Scout Group has mounted a tremendous fund raising effort. There has been on average at least one event per month for the last six years ranging from coffee mornings to jumble sales to bonfire nights, fetes and shows. So far we have already raised £115,500 from numerous activities and events held in the village. This could not have been achieved without a lot of local support and a motivated fund raising team. Local businesses have supported us by matching our fund raising efforts or paying for fund raising costs. Financial support has also been received from local charities. We have also received donations from individuals in the village and a covenant scheme has been put in place through which people are able to show a regular commitment. This has so far raised us £20,000.

The group has a good working relationship with many of the organisations in the village and quite often fund raising events are run as joint ventures. A new hall will help us to build on this.

We also have the backing of the Scout Association, both at HQ, County and District levels. The Scout Association have provided a loan of £15,000 during the early stages of the project to match our fund raising efforts at base rate interest repayable over 10 years.

Although there are a number of risks involved with such a project the Group are convinced that it will succeed with the project. We have now gained a proven track record in managing such a project and raising substantial funds. We are now well on our way towards starting building but have reached a crucial stage. We have the land and the services but we now need the building. The community needs to see a result for all the investment of time, effort and money that they have put into the project. If we falter the momentum built up over the last few years will be lost, perhaps forever.

New Hall Committee
This no longer exists but consisted of the following key members.


  • Alan Comber

Working Party

  • Robin Percy
  • Tony Smith
  • Brian Bridle
  • Celia Comber
  • Kevin Mulley (Legal aspects and County Rep)
  • Roger Gilles (Architects)
  • Peter (Architects)

People who helped with building work

  • Paul Brown
  • Gary Marsh
  • Roger Waters

Other members who contributed but left before the end

  • Steve Edkins (ex Group Chairman)
  • Henry Ferguson (Town Council advisor)
  • Bridget Burke (ex Secretary)
  • Gary Sharman (ex Group Chairman)

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