Sorry, you have to be addicted to drugs! British Boy Scouts told they're too well behaved to get council funds to repair their hut

For more than 100 years, the Scout movement has been supporting the community, helping young people realise their potential. So when one group in a deprived area applied for funding to help renovate a dilapidated hut which is almost as old as Lord Baden-Powell’s initiative, they thought they were in with a strong chance.

To their dismay, they were told they were not eligible for the cash – because their work does not involve drug rehabilitation for addicts or services to help young offenders.

Now the 1st Knowsley Sea Scouts face having to find the £250,000 renovation funds on their own. Around 70 Beavers, Cubs and Scouts use the group’s hut in Knowsley, Merseyside.

Last night, group leader Paul Lewis condemned the decision by Knowsley Council, saying drug addicts and criminals were being put before decent, law-abiding children.

Mr Lewis, 37, works with a Beavers group for children aged between five and a half and eight. He said: ‘It’s infuriating that the good kids who keep their noses clean are ignored and don’t get any financial support. ‘So much cash is made available for young offenders after they have committed crimes. ‘They will throw any amount of money at them.’

Mr Lewis, of Kirkby, Merseyside, added: ‘I’ve applied to the council but they have simply no money left – the chest is closed. 'Other charity groups have really tightened their belts and are not giving out money.’

The run-down 1920s Scout hut stands in one of the most deprived areas of the country. It is rotting and has no heating, according to Mr Lewis. Volunteers had hoped that local and national funding bodies could be relied upon to help.

But father of three Mr Lewis, a taxi driver, has been told his project simply doesn‘t meet public funding criteria. He said: ‘I just don’t understand why there isn’t any money for kids to keep them out of trouble in the first place.’

No-one was available for comment at Knowsley Council last night.


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