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The History of Our Headquarters

The project to build a Scout Centre in Rothwell with sufficient space and facilities for it to be used by a variety of local organisations, societies and the general public if required began in 1969.

The Scout Group had been given notice to quit its meeting place because the owners wished to sell the property. The Group launched a fund raising programme with a view to erecting its own headquarters. At that time the total Group membership was 24 including three leaders.

It was decided to site the new headquarters as near as possible to the centre of Rothwell so as to be more convenient and to cater for as many people as possible. The then Local Authority had promised to make land available for the new building but in the end this came to nothing. By 1971 the Group was growing larger and had raised sufficient money to purchase a freehold site in Haigh Road.

The Group made applications for Grant Aid to the Local Authority, the West Yorkshire Education Authority, the Department of Education and Science and the Leeds Metropolitan District Council but all without success. Fund raising continued with the help of other Rothwell organisations such as Lions International, Round Table etc., and as soon as sufficient funds were available it was decided to start building in order to keep ahead of inflation. This proved to be almost impossible in the 1970’s but voluntary labour provided by members, leaders and parents began work in 1976.

The Need

  • 1968 Small Group in Carlton Insititute – dangerous conditions – Trustees wished to sell.

  • 1969 Group moved to Old Band Room, Rothwell – Group doubled in size – “need a home of our own”. R.U.D.C.’s promise of a site (1957) applied 8 times, all unsuccessful. Development fund launched – Target £1500.

  • 1970-1 Search for a site continued – fund raising also.

The Dream

  • 1971 Found a site – cost £2,400 – we only had £1,400 so did a deal and purchased over 18 months.

  • August 1972 Site paid for – The Dream was on the drawing board.The Group had grown to 75 with considerable growth potential. Moved to the Old Parish Hall – outgrown the Band Room.

  • 1973 Fund raising produced £2,000 – Dept. Of Education & Science Grant applied for – 2nd place on a list for 1976 – restriction of £11,000 total cost for building and site works based on builders estimates – no guarantee of grant. Planning permission for sectional building turned down – new design approved – estimate £35,000. No other grants forthcoming – things looked black!

  • 1974 Inflation raging – decided to go it alone. Rolled up our sleeves – took up picks and shovels and literally got stuck in.

  • 1974-5 Small team of voluntary labour cleared site, dug foundations, mixed & poured concrete. Supplies purchased as an when cash available.Some good deals were made but inflation caused on one occasion the price of concrete to rise by the hour!

  • 1976 Old Parish Hall sold – fund raising now limited. Moved to Haigh Road & C of E Schools. Donations received (Lions £1,000, Round Table £850, Scout Association £500 and Queens Silver Jubilee Trust £500).

  • 1978 Own fund raising had topped £11,000 – everything possible being tried from Cubs saving pennies in Smarties tubes to galas, dances, sponsored events, selling waste paper, Christmas cards, raffles, jumble sales etc. The Group developed to 100 members – another Cub Pack & Scout Troop started in Carlton; this later developed into an independent Group. Total spent now £15,000.

  • 1979 Now into big expenditure – some sub-contracting necessary. 1st phase of roof – beams £1600 – sheeting £500. Brickwork – 200 cigarettes per weekend! Running costs of activities now £1,000 per year.

  • December 1979 1st phase complete – walls – half a roof.

  • 1980 Drainage – £2,500 plus months of pick and shovel work. Slog on!

The Reality

  • 1980-1 Sights set on Phase II – the second half of the roof. Interior walls going up.

  • 1982 Total cost so far £20,000. A stroke of luck – local councillors invite an application for a grant to finish roof. We get £5,000 and have to add £2,500 to complete within deadline.

  • 1983 The shell is complete! – We are broke!

  • 1984-5 Second floor constructed. Fund raising continues.

  • 1986 Leeds Chamber of Commerce & Industry Community Programme Task Force landscape and layout car park. Work provided for long term unemployed. Cost £2,000.

  • 1987-8 Water and electricity installed. (Leo’s donate £500 – half cost of electricity). Toilets completed.

The End Game

  • 1989 Installation of roof insulation and lining, interior fixtures and fittings. Internal decoration undertaken. Will another £10,000 do it….????? The struggle went on. We were determined to finish the building and offer its facilities to the community. The Cubs & Scouts were still meeting in Haigh Road Infants School – The Venture Scouts in Rothwell C of E School. A joint event with the Round Table, Rotary, Lions & Leo’s was a great success and produced £3,000. Now we could put in some heating and finish the lighting and insulation.

  • 1990 There was a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel – we could begin to use the building for some activities. Fund raising was becoming easier by having a venue to hold events. We were also receiving some income from allowing other organisations and individuals to use the HQ.

  • 1992 At last the final coats of paint were going on the ceiling and walls – a few more finishing touches and we would be at the end of the project

  • 24th August 1992 Disaster! – A mysterious fire destroyed the stores and every piece of equipment in it. The new decorations were ruined – lighting out of action water everywhere.

  • However like a Phoenix the project has literally risen from the ashes with the help of a friendly Insurance Company – a local builder and a concerted effort from many people the headquarters was officially opened by Martin Kelner on June 12th 1993.

    Today the Headquarters is used seven days a week by the local community, providing a valuble meeting place for a diverse range of local groups and thus fulfilling the forty year old dream.