Hythe Sea Scouts reach £80,000 fundraising target

A group of Sea Scouts in danger of losing their clubhouse have the wind firmly back in their sails after raising enough money to pay for crucial foreshore protection works.

Hythe Sea Scouts launched an appeal in September 2016 to raise £80,000 for vital sea defences. The group, which is home to dozens of Cubs, Scouts and Explorers, faced the prospect of losing its base on the edge of Southampton Water as foreshore erosion threatened to wash the building away. The site is owned by New Forest District Council, although the Sea Scouts are responsible for the upkeep of the land and buildings. The Shore Road site has been home to the group since 1976, with youngsters enjoying a variety of activities including sailing, camping and orienteering.

Chris Godfrey, Chairman of the Sea Scouts’ fundraising committee, said: “We’ve finally done it, we’ve raised the £80,000 needed to complete the foreshore protection works. Thank you to the local community, businesses, Cubs, Scouts, Explorers, parents and helpers who have supported us to get here. We are truly overwhelmed.”

The Sea Scouts began work on the new sea defences last summer, spending more than half of the fundraising target on completing phase one of the foreshore works. This included installing a reinforced oak revetment – which looks like a wooden barrier - and replacing the site security fence.

Chris said: “Now we have the necessary funds, we are currently putting plans in place to be able to complete phase two. This means placing very large rocks or boulders in front of the oak revetment to break up the powerful action of the waves. We are also reviewing the original sea defences protecting the other areas of our site. These were installed 25 years ago and need to be revamped and secured for the next 25 years.

“We have saved the site from the imminent threat of foreshore erosion, but we will need to work hard to keep it that way. The job is not finished yet and there is still a lot to do.”

Chris paid particular thanks to ExxonMobil Fawley which has contributed a total of £9,250 towards the appeal. The latest contribution of £3,000 meant the Sea Scouts were able to hit their £80,000 target. He said: “Without the donation from Fawley we would not have been able to reach our total as soon as we did. The overall figure was incredibly daunting, so for ExxonMobil to have helped with more than 10 per cent of it has been a huge boost.”

To mark the milestone being met, Fawley Refinery Manager Simon Downing was invited to the Sea Scouts’ base to see the work already carried out and to hear about future plans. He said: “It’s incredibly important that young people get opportunities to try new activities. We are fortunate to live in a wonderful part of the world, so to see youngsters outside enjoying nature’s elements is fantastic.

“The practical and social skills they learn by being part of a group like the Sea Scouts will be of benefit to them all their lives. We were very pleased to have played our part in helping ensure the survival of the base and hope that the youngsters, parents and volunteers have many more happy years here.”