The group’s beaver, cub and scout sections usually meet in Aycliffe Village Hall every week and enjoy a variety of trips and activities. When the lockdown began, leaders were keen to keep the excitement of scouting alive and so applied for a grant through Durham County Council’s AAP Covid-19 fund. They were thrilled when they received £2,000 to help them to provide activity packs to their members, who are aged from five to 16.
Aimed at helping the youngsters to remain engaged and inspired while following Government guidance, the packs are age-appropriate and tailored to each child. They provide a wealth of fun ideas and activities, as well as information to support children’s emotional wellbeing.
Margaret Lenahan, leader of Acle Scouts said: “This funding has provided much-needed activities for our scouts and their families, which they have been able to enjoy safely at home.
“The children have been kept busy making cookies, pizzas, chalk art and balloon art, as well as pebble painting, hula hooping, skipping and creating edible hanging baskets. The full group also walked 3,000 miles in one week for their daily exercise.
“We really have achieved all we wanted and more with this project and are looking forward to getting back to our weekly sessions once it is safe to do so and building on the skills the children have learned through the activity packs.”
Earlier this year, the council provided each of its 14 AAPs with an additional £100,000 to assist projects providing support during the pandemic at a grass roots level. The £1.4 million pounds was further boosted with an extra £100,000 for countywide projects, while local members have been given more flexibility with their neighbourhood budgets.
Acle Scouts Group is one of the many community organisations across the county to have benefited.
Brian Stephens, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for communities and local partnerships, said: “Keeping children entertained can be tricky at the best of times, but the lockdown and social distancing has made it even more challenging. It has been wonderful to hear about the fun and safe activities Acle Scout Group has been up to during this time.
“This is a fantastic example of a project that has made a big difference to the lives of County Durham families, and we are proud to have supported it.”
To find out more about the work of County Durham’s AAPs and the funding available, visit www.durham.gov.uk/durhamaap