Budget battering for good Scouts

Echo clipping 1998

Looking for a home - the 5th Canvey Air Scout Group needs somewhere to meet and store its equipment.

A thriving Canvey Scout group with 100 members faces the axe because of budget cuts. Now the 5th Canvey Air Scout Group is desperately appealing for new premis­es, land, a cheap hall or help towards its rent.

On April 1, it will lose its 75 per cent Essex Comity Council subsidy for the £200 a month rent for St Katherine’s’ School hall, Hilton Road, Canvey. Group Scout leader Paul Varker was horrified there was no warning given before the subsidy was scrapped.

He said: “These cuts are not just going to affect us. Every Scout group and vol­untary organisation will lose out. We have been offered some prefabricated build­ings but we have nowhere to put them, so we are looking for a piece of land, if we cannot find a hall.”

Conservative county councillor David Rex, who sits on the county’s policy and resources committee, said: “I am not aware that we are taking anything away from anybody. I thought we were simply reducing grants. We have had to save £5.9m from somewhere so it has to be taken from across the board. I advise the group to speak to the community education officer at county to see if there is anyway they can help.”

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