Scouts forced to scale back trip of a lifetime

The Angelmead Explorer Scout Unit

The Angelmead Explorer Scout Unit

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering East Oxford and Cowley. Please call me on 01865 425430

A SCOUT group hoping to whisk 16 young people on a trip of a lifetime may have to scale back plans after receiving just a fraction of the funding it needed.

East Oxford-based Angelmead Explorer Scout Group applied for £5,000 from Oxfordshire County Council to take the group’s youngsters on a trip to Malta.

But the council decided to grant the group just £1,000 from its Chill Out Fund towards the voyage abroad.

Despite missing out on £4,000, explorer scout leader Shane Clark is happy with the outcome.

The 48-year-old Cowley resident said: “I’m really pleased and I’m really grateful. It’s £1,000 more than we had before. The glass is half full rather than half empty so we have been really successful here and we need to carry on our fundraising efforts.”

The group caters for about 25 young people aged between 14 and 18 from across the city, including East Oxford and Cowley.

The entire £5,000 funding budget would have allowed group leaders to take 16 youngsters abroad but they now face the prospect of taking just 14.

Although the group have raised about £2,500 themselves, they will have to increase fundraising efforts to compensate for the funding they missed out on. The two-week trip is set to take place between Thursday, October 23 and Tuesday, November 4.

Youngsters will get involved with a range of adventurous activities including mountain climbing and water sports, as well as a three-day island expedition.

Mr Clark said: “It’s not a holiday, it’s a life changing opportunity for young people to do something they do not normally do.

“I think it really helps to understand different countries, different perspectives.”

Supported by scout leaders, the expedition is being planned and organised by the young people themselves, helping to develop their leadership and management skills.

Scout Libby Clark, 14, is involved with liaising with scout groups in Malta.

The St Gregory the Great Catholic School pupil said: “I’m really excited about the whole experience of going away and doing all these activities. It’s so nice to have this freedom to choose exactly what we are doing and be completely in control of it.”

Mr Clark concluded: “It broadens our horizons and breaks down prejudices.”

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