Fundraising 2014 Update

9 November 2014
From this… to this – we are so nearly there…

It’s been an amazing 2014 so far; so much has been happening with fundraising for our new Activity Centre and equipment that it’s time we gave a major catch up to let you know just how much has been achieved and how near we are to achieving our goal…

February started off on a bit of a downer… In the hut, our much overused fan heaters gave up the ghost and we were looking at spending several hundred of pounds to get them fixed. Step up Mr Gavin Blackman, who is the Scout Leader at West Byfleet group and also happens to be a plumbing and heating engineer. The heating was fixed at NO charge.  Thank you so much Gavin.

The weather was so wet and wild that our Winter-walk Luncheon had to be postponed until March. It wasn’t such a hardship though, as it meant that it took place on a beautiful sunny spring day.

Everybody from the youngest to eldest completed the 8 mile route and made it to West Byfleet Scout group for a much deserved 3 course Sunday Luncheon.
The meal had been prepared by Steve and Carol Newlands and was served in style by the Phoenix Explorers. A really lovely day was had by all and £204.00 was added to the new building fundraising pot.

Thank you to the West Byfleet team for the free use of their HQ in support of our fundraising efforts.

April saw the Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers bag packing at Marks and Spencer’s, Brooklands.
We had a marvellous turnout from the sections and raised £821.21 which was a real testament to all the hard work that our young people and Leaders put into making the event so successful.

In May, I wore out some shoe leather by delivering leaflets around the village and raising another £340.00 for the pot.

Our updated plans for our new Outdoor Activity Centre were finalised and the application for planning permission was submitted to Woking Borough Council… and so the nervous wait began.
It was very reassuring to see so many letters from the local community supporting our application.

In June, Dave Linley headed up the Phoenix Explorers and together with some intrepid Scouts and parents, journeyed to the London Eye for the annual London to Byfleet Cycle Challenge.  A stop at Hampton Court and Walton-on-Thames allowed some of the Cubs and Beavers to join in and all made it back to Byfleet Boat Club very tired but triumphant, adding another £155.00 to our fundraising pot.
July:  You may wonder sometimes what we do with all the Sainsbury vouchers you so kindly collect for the group. Well, in July we took delivery of a box filled with balls, hoops, group game tag belts, Trangia fuel bottles and a much needed industrial sized ball pump. All much wanted kit that we didn’t have to pay a penny for! Thank you all so much for collecting the vouchers and we start again in January.

Our annual Strawberry Cream tea stall at Byfleet Parish Day was its usual overwhelming success.

After a foreboding start with grey skies and dire weather forecasts, it turned into a glorious day. The stall was well supported with customers and raised a marvellous £268.00.  The day cannot be so successful without a dedicated team helping on the day.
Thank you to all that helped and a special thank you to Debbie, Clare, Sara and Valerie (our Tiger leadership team) for all you did, both before and during the event, to make it all work so well.

August was a hectic month, starting with our cake sale at Byfleet Village Library. We had some wonderful cake donations from parents, but unfortunately due to the torrential rain and high winds the planned Village day event on the green was moved to the Village hall and anybody with sense stayed indoors. We still managed to raise £58.00 for the pot, although I think the leaders and the library team paid most of that, as we were unable to resist the yummy apple cake, scrumptious butterfly cakes and numerous other lovely donations from members and Parents. Thank you to all that donated cakes and also Thanks to the Library team who made us so very welcome on the day

We then received a great boost to group morale with a Grant of £2,400 received from our Surrey County Councillor, Mr Richard Wilson, to spend on new Group camping equipment. We are working so hard to fundraise for our New Centre that we need to look elsewhere to fund new equipment purchases.  We now have 20 brand new, lightweight expedition tents, which should last our Scouts for years to come. It was sales time as well, so with the pennies saved from the original quote, we were also able to purchase some camping crockery and new mallets as well. Our sincere thanks go to Cllr Wilson for his support.

In September we sent out a request to all of our members to get onboard and support the fundraising efforts by taking on the responsibility of organising their own events, away from our usual targets of families and friends and thereby gaining support from the wider community.

Joseph Caesar and his family immediately took on the task. They work very hard throughout the year, growing fruit and vegetables on their beloved allotment. A quick raid on the plot and an impromptu stall set up outside the house to catch the neighbours raised a marvellous £25.00 which was a truly heart-warming start to our request for support.

After months of training, Marc Platt (AKA Akela of Panther Pack) took part in the Surrey 3 peaks Challenge. This was a 26 mile hike over the Surrey Hills  starting  from Holmbury St Mary, up to the viewpoint at Box Hill (peak 1), The Nower (peak 2) and then Leith Hill (peak 3).
Marc completed it in 9hrs and 15 minutes, came in 7th and (including the gift Aid) raised a fantastic £682.75 for our fund.  Thank you, Marc, for all of your hard work on our behalf.

Panthers Sixer Harry Tyndall and his Mum Clare answered our call to raise funds by taking part in the inaugural Byfleet Running Festival’s 5K run. It was the first time Harry had ever run 5K and he romped home in the super-fast time of 25 minutes 41 seconds – coming 4th against all the adults!  A great achievement and leaving Mum Clare to come in quite a few minutes afterwards – but both were very proud to have raised £165 in sponsorship for the new Centre.

After all that running some cake was needed and so the company where Clare works (The Network Collective) held a Great Bake Off competition. Everyone brought in their ‘Bakes’, and judges had to pay £5 to get unlimited tastings.
A delicious Yorkshire Parkin just beat a very impressive Giant Jaffa cake to be the ‘Star Bake’ and clinch the bottle of bubbly first prize.  A very fun and delicious afternoon was had by all and £85 extra was raised.

September then drew to a close with the wonderful news that we had finally received Planning consent for our new centre…YAY!

October has been an amazing month for fundraising…. Ben Barber (Puma Scout) and his family ran a table top sale and coffee afternoon. Ben rallied some friends and putting his technical knowledge and favourite hobby to use, they spent the afternoon building a replica of our new centre in Minecraft.   A really good way to get together, have a lot of fun and raise funds at the same time.  Ben’s hard work adds another £93.32 to the pot.

The Phoenix Explorers came onboard again – Kim Maclennan, Ella

Frankland and Harriet Law all wanted to contribute, so they asked to run another Cake sale at the Library Open day.  Lots of preparation went into the baking beforehand, as well as the decoration of the stall – all designed to attract visitors over from the neighbouring Market day stalls.

Marcus Wale and Thomas Capstick (Scouts) also helped and despite the torrential rain, they managed to raise a magnificent £168.00. Thank you to all the parents that contributed cakes to sell – the response was overwhelming… the Explorers ran out of time and customers before they ran out of cakes, so the surplus went to the Explorers that were camping at Birchmere that weekend, who polished them off with relish. Thank you to our Leaders; Clare Wale; David Walters; Bobby Gedling and Dorothy Farrant for giving up even more time, to help the young people on the day.

October also brings the biggest boost to our efforts…. We have just received the marvellous news that our application to the Surrey County Councils Community Improvements fund has been approved and we have been awarded a grant of £30,000.00 towards our project.
That is a huge moral boost to all involved and brings us ever closer towards achieving our aim.

We also received a really heart warming donation of £2,500 from The Matthew Hackney Foundation.
Many of you will still remember Matthew from when he was a Cub and Scout in the group.
Matthew was never fazed by anything that Scouting asked of him and always entered into tasks with great enthusiasm and a happy smile. This is a wonderful gesture from the Foundation and we thank the Trustees most sincerely.

Debbie Price (Tigers Cub Leader) decided the direct approach was best. Debbie explained our aims and the funding gap to her work Colleagues and asked them to make a contribution… She must be very convincing because between them all, they donated a huge £1,030.00!! Thank you all so much.

So in total, so far this year, we have managed to raise a mindboggling, truly FANTASTIC £36,595.28.  If we add on the Gift aid of £1025 that we can reclaim from the taxman, it brings the total raised so far this year to £37,620.28 and we’re not finished yet!!!

It is a huge amount of money but there’s still a little way to go to clear our £40K target. It is important to remember that any money we raise over the target will reduce the loan needed from Woking Borough Council.

We still have a number of Grant applications in the pipeline, but with so many other deserving causes in need of funding and money in short supply, we cannot assume that we will be successful. We still need to keep going to close the funding gap. It has shrunk by a tremendous amount, but the longer it takes us to raise the final funds, the more the price of construction materials rise and the bigger the gap grows.

So what’s next? I hear you ask…  Well, there are several ways you can support the fundraising…

22nd November: The recent cake sale was such a success that we have booked a stall at the Byfleet Village Christmas Fayre to do it all again. If you can help out on the day or supply some delicious cakes for us to sell then please let us know.

29th November: We have got a family Bingo night organised which will be a fun filled evening with good food, good company and a lot of laughs, if you haven’t seen the flyer yet then please contact your leader ASAP for more info and to book your tickets.

Sunday 21st December – From 10am until 4pm, Bag Packing at Marks and Spencer. All of the Beavers; Cubs; Scouts and Explorers to attend, if at all possible please. It’s a long session to fill so the more that attend, the easier for all on the day.

I’ve been asked; that as we now have the majority of the funds, can we start building now? Unfortunately, the answer to that is a resounding No. The Group Executive and Section leaders are trustees of the Scout group and have a responsibility to the members to take no action that could knowingly put the group in jeopardy. We cannot sign documents agreeing to build something we cannot yet afford to pay for in full.  It’s frustrating; we all are champing at the bit to get the first spade full dug…but we just need to wait a little longer.

We are getting there, perhaps not as quickly as we would like, but with Woking Borough Council and Surrey County Council supporting us all the way, with grants, practical help and advice, and such fantastic support from everybody in the group, pulling out all the stops and working towards the same aim, we will achieve this, we just need to keep working at it for a while longer.

I’m up for it… are you?

Linda Plunkett

Group Scout Leader – 1st Byfleet Scout Group
Explorer Scout Leader – Phoenix ESU

Donations can be made online at
Registered Charity No: 305809