1st Banwell Scout Group was founded in c.1920, and their Scout Hut is actively used by the village’s community groups on a weekly basis.

We spoke to Group Scout Leader Jane Gomm, who told us more about how their £2,500 grant from the Burnham & Weston Energy Sunshine Fund triggered substantial funding from other grant makers, allowing them to turn the 1st Banwell Scout Group building into a modern, energy efficient reality for Scouts, Girlguides and a whole host of village and community groups and events in Banwell.

Photo of new 1st Banwell Scout Group Hut

An important community resource

“1st Banwell Scout Group meet at our new Scout Hut every week. Scouts include both boys and girls across the Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers from ages 6 years through to 18 and beyond. We rent the hut out to the Girlguides too, as well as other village groups such as a weekly coffee morning for our older residents, yoga, the town twinning association, the flower group, private birthday parties and salsa dancing.

“The hut is located right in the centre of the village – the newsagents and shop are close by and the school is opposite – and it’s actively used by all the community. It also has the very latest in modern accessibility including ramps, toilets, car park and kitchen.

“There is a huge waiting list of children from the village wanting to join Scouts – we just don’t have enough resources to take them all on! Scouts is all about learning new skills and working with teams of people, and we are lucky (in normal times) to take part in the Army’s annual two-day Ten Tors challenge walk across Dartmoor every year. We have a field out the back of the hut where they practice their overnight camps.

The previous Scout Hut was an old wooden slatted building that had been donated by RAF Locking in 1984, where the building had already been in service for at least 10 years. So it was around 50 years old and just not fit for purpose; it was cold, damp and extremely inefficient.

A photo of the old 1st Banwell Scout Group hut

The new energy efficient building

“All the appliances in the new building were chosen for their high energy efficiency and the building meets building regulations SATC high rating for heat and energy retention. Large bi-fold windows at the rear of the building mean that when the sun shines it warms up quickly and retains the heat for a long time.

On colder days, ahead of a group coming in to use the hall, it takes the new air source heat pumps – which were recommended following a comprehensive heating report as the best option – somewhere in the region of 10 minutes to warm up the main room. This makes an enormous difference to the energy use – it’s an incredibly efficient way to heat up a room. As an example, the older scouting sections that use the building are very active and generate a high level of energy as they run around and play – so, for these users there is only a minimal need for heating.

However, for the younger age groups such as Beavers, Rainbows, Yoga classes and seniors meetings, where there is less movement, the heating needs to be increased to reflect the needs of the specific user group. And thanks to the design of the heating system – whilst it was expensive to install – it’s proven very efficient and we’re able to control a change in temperature very easily and quickly.

Sunshine Fund enabled a positive change for the whole community

“We’re so grateful to the Burnham & Weston Energy Sunshine Fund, supported by Somerset Community Foundation. We applied for a grant from you to help us improve the energy efficiency of our Scout Hut. You were the first grant funders to support our project and this enabled us to secure further, substantial grants from other funders allowing us to dismantle and rebuild our village Scout Hut. In total the project cost £330,000, but thanks to your initial grant 1st Banwell Scout Group was able to progress the development to its full potential, including fencing and landscaping outside. We’re really thrilled with our new community resource and just so pleased so many different groups in the village are now able to regularly use it – it’s for the enjoyment of the whole community.”

Jane Gomm

Group Scout Leader, 1st Banwell Scout Group

Burnham & Weston Energy Sunshine Fund

If, like 1st Banwell Scouts, your community group is keen to improve the energy efficiency of your community building, get in touch. The Burnham & Weston Energy Sunshine Fund may be able to help.

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