SCOUTING in Linlithgow is alive and kicking after a fantastic £30,000 cash injection this year has left them fit, active and raring for more.
The Scouts have been in Linlithgow’s Dog Well Wynd since 1932, and over the past year improvements to the tune of £30,000 have been made to the Scout Hall in their most significant development in at least 40 years.
An open evening is being held this Monday to celebrate the refurbishment of one of the town’s most loved institutions, which has included installing a new kitchen, creating a second hall for meetings, a new toilet, creating additional storage, replacing cracked lintels, guttering and roof ridges and a variety of other repairs to make the hall fit for the new generation.
Funding has poured in from a variety of groups who recognise the importance of Scouting in the community. Money has come from West Lothian Council Voluntary Gateway (£9600), People’s Postcode Lottery (£6000), Bo’ness and Linlithgow Rotary Club (£3000), Almond Enterprises (£500), the Robertson Trust (£1500), Royal Bank of Scotland, the Rank Foundation, the Round Table, Ineos and others including a share of the Journal and Gazette/Caledonian Produce Christmas Cracker cash giveaway of 2011.
Howden’s Joinery and Tomlin’s also helped by giving discounts on materials and fittings.
Nick Moody (44) has been with the Scouts for 20 years and is group Scout leader at 2nd West Lothian.
He said: “We are still here. We are not an anecdotal throw back - we are current, active and growing.”
Around 115 Scouts meet at Dog Well Wynd from Monday to Friday, and the group has doubled over the last 18 months with a waiting list of 54 young people.
Nick added: “From the children’s point of view, they get to try things they might not otherwise do in a supportive environment. It’s not the end of the world if they don’t get something right first time - no one gets thrown out. Everyone can participate and develop their mental and physical skills, thinking outside the box.
“Some kids just see it as another social club, but others will feel it has moulded them into better citizens, helping them contribute more to society.”
Activities that attracted young people 70 years ago are still going strong with camping, cooking and hillwalking regular features.
Nick added: “The boys like cooking and eating the most! You learn to be responsible and have fun at the same time.”
The local Scouts aim to be as community minded as possible by attending the town’s largest events such as the Linlithgow Marches, the gala day, and the Remembrance services in November. They are also developing the Scouting family across different age groups which includes Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and the older Explorer Scouts.
Local famous names that have come up through the ranks of the 2nd West Lothian Scouts have been First Minister Alex Salmond and Provost Tom Kerr who was a Cub and Scout.
The provost said: “We went along when we had to wear the proper Baden-Powell hats!
‘‘I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Cubs and the Scouts and could have gone on further but work commitments stopped me.
“I am delighted the Scout Hall has been refurbished and updated. The Scouts - and the Guides - are a tremendous asset to the town and deserve our support. A huge congratulations and thanks should also go to the leaders who put in so much time and effort.”
Scouts have received a higher profile with the fame of British adventurer Bear Grylls, appointed Chief Scout at the age of 35, proving it can be just as popular with adults.
Nick said: “The only thing that stops us increasing our numbers is adult support. We have 25 adults but we would like more and there are 54 young people on our waiting list that should be Scouting and that’s frustrating.” Nick wants people to go along to the open evening at the Scout Hall on Monday, October 22, from 7-9pm, so they can see what the group do. He said: “We would like to do more and offer Scouting to everyone who shows an interest.”