Business as usual at Scouting Centre

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Friday, June 5, saw the Scout Association in Angus throw open its doors at the Jock Neish Scouting Centre, near Tannadice.

The general public, business leaders, schools, colleges and Scout groups from all over were invited to view the refurbished facilities.

The scout movement’s motto is “Be Prepared,” but last year they were not prepared for what Mother Nature threw at them. In January 2014 the river South Esk burst its banks and rushed across the fields, flooding parts of the scout centre.

Such was the extent of the damage that it was necessary to strip the wood lining off the internal walls to allow the building to dry out with the aid of industrial humidifiers. It was a race against time to get the centre habitable for the camping season at the end of March.

Although the insurance company was involved, most of the work was carried out by volunteers.

To try to protect the property, an earth bund (wall) was constructed around the immediate buildings. The internal linings had been renewed and decorated and things were starting to look rosy again.

Then in November 2014, just 10 months after the first flood, Mother Nature dealt the scouts another cruel blow. The river burst its banks once again and the bund was breached and once more the centre was under water. This time the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service was asked for help and they spent about five hours pumping water away from the site and helping sandbag the bund where it had been breached.

However, the damage had been done and it was back to square one – walls stripped and floor covering lifted in order to get the building dried out. Also the bund had to be strengthened and extended.

Last week-end saw the culmination of months of hard work by a small band of volunteers and centre management committee members to bring the centre up to a first-class facility for scouting activities.

A member of the committee, District Commissioner Stewart Duff, emphasised that although most of the work of cleaning and redecorating had been done by scout volunteers, the movement were indebted to some local bual was rendered scrap after the soaking it received. The managing director, John Wright, was extremely supportive. Another company who gave us invaluable help was Ewan Milne Welding, Brechin, who supplied a small digger to help us build the bund.

“This was the sort of practical help which made a worlsinesses who stepped in when they heard of the plight of the scouts.

He said: “In particular, we would like to thank Graeme Clark from Bancon Construction, Banchory, whose sister company, Deeside Timber, Stonehaven, supplied the insulation for the centre after the original materid of difference to helping us get the centre back in working order again, and we are extremely grateful to these firms who gave their equipment and machinery free of charge. Obviously, we would be delighted to see more of that sort thing in the future.

“Hundreds of invitations and letters were sent out to businesses, schools and colleges around Tayside inviting them to come and see our facilities for themselves.

“Although scouting takes place most week-ends, the centre is often free during week days and would make an ideal place to have team building activities or that sort of thing.

“The centre has a comfortable accommodation block for 50 people with showers, also a first-class kitchen and dining area, plus meeting rooms.”

Pic captions

Flood Pic 1 --

Flood Pic 2 – Showing some of the local scouts from the Tannadice group with some of the rolls of insulation used in the refurbishment of the centre. Contributed.

Picture 3 - Anne and Ron Grace with Scout Leader Stewart Duff looking at proposed plans for work on the hall. ATIMAGES