WINCHESTER Scouts have been petitioning local families to help support them in their quest to find a new home.

Children and parent helpers of the 6th Winchester Scout group gathered at River Park Leisure Centre on Friday (May 23) to put flyers through the doors of houses in Hyde and surrounding streets supported by their borrowed mascot, Chip the beaver.

The group hopes to put in a bid for land off Nuns Walk in Abbotts Barton to build a camping area, climbing tower and play area and a Scout hut, which will also be used as a pre-school and adult day centre.

As reported in July last year Scout representatives approached Winchester City Council’s Barton Farm forum pleading for green space.

As a result of the Scout movement growing at five times the national average, with figures from their recent census showing a 10 per cent rise compared with 1.9 per cent nationally, Scout leaders have said it’s imperative to find more space.

District Commissioner Stephen Parker said: “This all started a year ago after we had started to recruit parents as beaver leaders. We had a lot of interest from parents and their children to join the scouts and so formed the 6th Winchester Scout group. At the moment they all meet in St Luke’s Church hall but what’s going to happen is we’re going to need more space to accommodate more children as the schools grow.

“We’ve gone from 24 now to expecting some 48 in September. We’ll grow over time and they need a home.”

The group’s website said: “Every young person in Abbotts Barton and Hyde who wants to be a Beaver, Cub or Scout should be able to do so. For many years this has not been possible.

“Just like most other Scout Groups we need our own home to protect our new Group for the next 80 – 100 years. This requires a large building on a site appropriate for 21st Century Scouting.”