A MAJOR fund-raising drive for a new Scout hut in Stocksfield is within sight of its target.

More than £71,000 has been raised through sponsorship, including various sponsored walks and bicycle rides. And one former Scout, Stephen Harpin, even rowed across the Atlantic to raise money for the cause.

Meanwhile grants of over £120,000 have helped towards the project to completely rebuild the Scout hut at Guessburn, which in total will cost more than £230,000.

Philippa Harpin, fund-raising co-ordinator at 1st Stocksfield Scout Group, said they were only around £50,000 away from being able to complete the rest of the work on the building. Following that work will begin on landscaping.

“The hut was put up in 1964 and we have known for a long time it needed to be replaced – particularly because it didn’t conform with disability legislation,” she said.

“In winter 2015, which was a particularly bad winter, the whole roof completely collapsed and the whole thing was just beyond repair so we started to raise money in earnest, and applying for grants from lots of different trusts.”

The project was one of 11 Tynedale organisations to submit applications for grants to the Gannett Foundation, the charitable arm of the owners of the Hexham Courant, and the group has been progressed to the next stage of the process. It has also applied for funding from Northumberland Community Chest to help reach the target.

It is planned that the building will be used as a hub for the whole community, with plans in place for various community groups to use it including youth groups, those for people with dementia and young adults with learning difficulties.

It is hoped the building will be ready by early in the new year.