New scout hall at Hillside finally gets under way

The old hut, which is being demolished
The old hut, which is being demolished

Scouts in Hillside will soon be able to meet in a new hut for the first time in more than 50 years.

The green light for a new hall at Hillside, north of Montrose, was given by Angus Council’s development standards committee back in November 2013.

After a long fundraising campaign and a generous donation, work has at last started on replacing the 57-year-old Hillside Scout Hut in Hillside Park, used by the 1st Hillside Scouts, with a modern hall suitable for the needs of the Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorer Scouts who meet there.

The current timber hut is in a state of disrepair and is being demolished. It is roughly 21 by 5.5 metres, but the new building, which will be made of wet dash and timber cladding, will be 30 by 8 metres.

The new hut was expected to cost around £250,000 and an anonymous benefactor donated £210,000 to the 1st Hillside Scouts for the contemporary hall. The youngsters have been raising cash for the past few years for a new meeting place.

In addition to a large meeting hall, facilities will include a kitchen, disabled toilets, shower room and a large store suitable for the storage of tents and camping equipment and will also include solar panels for electricity generation.

The work is being carried out by local builders MCK Construction and is expected to take around 22 weeks.

As work started on the demolition of the old building, hall committee chairman Stephen Valentine said: “This is the culmination of a lot of hard work by the committee over the last five years to overcome planning issues, complications with the lease for the ground and most of all fundraising.

“I would like to thank all those who have supported our fundraising efforts and provided professional services and advice in order to get us to this stage.

“In particular, I would like to thank our principle benefactor, who the completed hall will be named after, for his substantial donation towards the cost of construction.”

Although the funds for the hall have been met, members of the public can still buy a ‘Golden Brick’ to help raise extra cash for the scouts.

Mr Valentine added: “Although sufficient funds are now in place to meet the building costs, fundraising continues in order to equip the new building and I would like to remind everyone that the ‘Golden Brick’ appeal is still in operation for anyone wishing to donate.

“A donation of £10 buys a brick and one lucky contributor will have their name carved on a ‘Golden Brick’ on the front of the completed building and an invitation to the official opening.”

Donations can be made via their website www.1stHillsideScouts.org.uk and click on the donate button.

Sadly, another scouting group in the Montrose area, the 2nd Montrose Scout and Cubs Group based in Borrowfield, is under threat of folding due to a lack of leaders for these two sections.

For the time being the Scouts will continue to operate out of Borrowfield Primary School on Wednesday evenings but this will have to be revisited in the near future if there are no Cubs to move up.