How the closure affects the youth

Malcolm Simpson who runs the 1st Ash Vale Scout Group has shared with us how the ranges closure affects the scouts, cubs and beavers. The below is is his views in his own words.

The 1st Ash Vale Scout Group has been in existence since 1938.

It was started by the Reverend Aubin, the priest-in-charge at St Mary’s Church Ash Vale. The Group Headquarters is in Wood Street, Ash Vale. The Scout Headquarters is in a residential area.

Today the Group has a Beaver, Cub and Scout section, totalling around 100 young members. The Group is supported by a strong team of adult leaders and the young member families.

From the very beginning, the Scout Group has used the ranges for activities. It is the only open space available to the Scouts that can be easily walked to. The loss of Ash Ranges would have a big impact on the Scout Group and curtails its activities. Around 100 local community children are impacted by its loss.

Whenever the Scouts use the ranges, it is always left as it was found, if not tidier.

Ash Ranges is very special to the Scouts:

  • It is a large open area with short grass.
  • It has  woodland that is not too dense and is close to the tarmac road and open area.
  • The tarmac road is safe, without traffic.
  • It is a very safe space to manage a group of young people.
  • There are never many people there, and it is ideal for safeguarding.

Activities on Ash Ranges:

  • Incident practice – first aid, making stretchers etc.
  • Map reading, grid references.
  • Games on the short grass (rounders, quick cricket).
  • Practice pitching tents.
  • Challenges such as pitching a tent blindfolded with instructions from others (communication skills).
  • Star Gazing.
  • Bicycle maintenance, riding on tarmac road.
  • Morse code using torches.
  • Walking practice for remembrance parade.
  • Wild life and bug spotting.
  • Making and flying kites.
  • Wide games, such as returning to base with a water balloon.

The group near the target huts near Heath Vale Bridge on Ash Ranges, May 1940
Beavers having fun