A SCOUT group is appealing for more volunteer leaders, as a £50,000 campaign to extend its headquarters gathers pace.

Over the last year, 1st Sedgefield Scouts has attracted £34,000-worth of grants and donations for its Raise the Roof appeal.

The funds will pay for a first floor extension to the scout hut on West End and the creation of a new self-contained meeting room, as well as a new kitchen and toilet block.

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This will allow the group to take on more Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorer Scouts, and provide a space for other community organisations to hire.

However, in order to offer the best scouting experience possible, the group needs to boost its team of volunteer leaders.

1st Sedgefield Scouts leader, Geoff Tonks said: “At the moment we have about 80 children from the age of six to 18 and we have a long waiting list.

“There is no shortage of children but we do need more leaders. An extra pair of hands makes such a difference.”

Mr Tonks, who has been a Scout leader for 15 years, said volunteers would be given full training, a uniform and the opportunity to make a difference to children’s lives.

“It is very rewarding,” he said. “For me, the best part is when you take them on Scout camp.

“Many of the younger ones have never been away without their parents before and there can be a lot of tears when we set off.

“But we go away and have a great time and you can see the difference in them. They are like little men and women by the time they come back.”

1st Sedgefield Scouts moved into the West End premises, a former Methodist chapel, in 1967 and, since then, very little improvement work has been carried out.

The Raise the Roof appeal aims to revitalise the building to ensure future generations of Sedgefield children can benefit from it.

So far, donors include Sainsbury’s, Durham County Councillor John Robinson, East Durham Rural Corridor Area Action Partnership and the Sir John Priestman Charity Trust.

For more information about becoming a Scout leader in Sedgefield or elsewhere in County Durham, or to make a donation to the appeal, contact district commissioner, Ian Johnson, on 0845-0944-084 or Sedgefield@durhamscouts.org.uk