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Freemasonry and Scouting go together like coffee and cake – both organisations are committed to the principles of service. The ROBOT (Rector of Bury’s Own Troop) Scout Group which is based at Bury Parish Church was founded almost one hundred years ago in 1924 and it has been one of the largest and most prominent scout groups in the area. This is in no small part due to its location adjacent to the Parish Church in the centre of Bury. The youth membership is drawn from a wide range of areas from across the borough when compared with other groups in the Borough, and it is blessed that the young people also represent a diverse range of economic, social and ethnic backgrounds.
Scouting is the UK’s biggest mixed youth organisation. Its volunteers change lives by offering 6 to 25 years old (5½ to 14½ year olds at 44th Bury plus an “Explorer” group for older teenagers and young adults) a mix of fun and challenging activities, unique experiences, every day adventure and the chance to help others so that they make a positive impact in our communities. There are groups for both boys and girls throughout the age ranges, and the Scout Hut is in use every day from Monday to Saturday and one Sunday every month – plus the odd sleepover. It is used every week by one hundred young people.
Work needs to be done to bring the toilets and cloak room to modern standards including accessible toilets, widening of doors to accommodate a wheelchair, and when this has been looked at, the leaders realised that there were several thousand pounds worth of development needed to bring that area to the right standards. This includes moving walls, resurfacing the flooring in the toilet area, and re-designing the toilets from what, at one time, was a “boys” organisation, to one where there are as many girls who involved in scouting as there are boys.
The Scout Group approached the East Lancashire Masonic Charity to ask for help in funding the work and the ELMC were happy to contribute £2,500 to the total cost of about £7,500 of developing the toilets. The donation by the ELMC has kick started the funding for the remainder of the work, and the majority of the funding for the work to the toilets has now been secured. The work will be carried out in August when the Scout Hut is not in use. Bury Parish Church is the regular place of worship of several Freemasons and they have volunteered to help with the labouring work.
The formal handover of the cheque took place on the morning of Whit Sunday 9 June 2019 during the main service at the Parish Church with Steve Clark, the Provincial Charity Steward, handing over the cheque to some of the youngsters who will benefit from the work. Readers who are Christians will understand the symbolism of the date with new life being bestowed on the early Christians by the Holy Spirit and the link to the prospect of a new lease of life for the Scout Hut thanks to the generosity of the ELMC.