SCOUTING has received a four-figure funding boost.

The 1st Hexham Scout Group has welcomed a grant of £8,526 from the Government's Youth Investment Fund.

The Youth Investment Fund was designed to create, improve and expand local youth facilities and services across the country to support young people’s health, wellbeing and skills for work and life - no matter where they live.

The funding has gone towards 12 solar panels and battery storage for the Scout building, off Maiden's Walk. Its kitchen is also being refurbished with separate grant funding.

Scout leader Stuart Ford said the group is always trying to reduce its overheads.

He added: "It's, hopefully, going to be a really good investment that'll make us a little bit greener as a group and hopefully, we can reduce the money that we have to give out to the energy companies, which will mean we'll have more money to invest in the building and in activities for the kids.

"It'll reduce the impact on us of all of these energy rises. It means we can keep the costs down for our members so we don't need to put up their fees.

"The impact that's having in the youth sector (cost of living) is unestimated and not really considered. We do do everything we possibly can to keep the costs down. 

"We know scouting, whilst it's probably relatively cheap, it's not cheap for people on lower incomes and we need to try and keep our costs down as low as possible because we want to appeal to as many people as we can."

The Scouts' trip to Austria next month has also been hit by rising costs, with around a £3,800 increase in total. Twenty-one youth members are due to attend the summer camp abroad.

The group is funding part of the trip from its minibus replacement fund, which will have to be replenished by fundraising activity.

At home, youngsters also have an upcoming district camp with a Roman theme for Hadrian's Wall's 1900 birthday celebrations.

Guy Opperman MP added: “I am delighted the 1st Hexham Scouts have received this grant funding to improve their facilities.

"The funding will cut their running costs and enable long-term investment in outdoor facilities for children.”