Volunteers worked through the dreadful winter weather to build a new Activity Barn for scouts across the region. 

On Saturday, June 15, the Mayor of Winchester and The Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire were invited to Pinsent Camp to open the new indoor facility. 

Scouts and other groups use the Pinsent site for a range of indoor and outdoor activities including archery and air-rifle shooting, and from next year a bouldering will be installed.

READ MORE: Couple donate £60,000 to Winchester Scouts activity centre revamp

HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Mr Nigel Atkinson, unveils the plaqueHM Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Mr Nigel Atkinson, unveils the plaque (Image: Newsquest) The new space, which was a derelict barn, has been for archery and air rifle shooting for almost 14 years. But the activities were always at risk of being cancelled due to bad weather. 

After a £150k revamp, the barn is now a fully covered metal structure that can be used all year round regardless of the weather conditions. 

The funds come from a generous donation of £65,000 from Colin and Vivenne Brooks, plus a £38,000 grant from the Government's Prosperity Fund administered by Winchester City Council.

From start to finish, the new building took 15 months. Some of the construction work was done by adult Scout members.

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Richard Tate helped construct the new Activity BarnRichard Tate helped construct the new Activity Barn (Image: Newsquest)

District scouter Richard Tate, 69, was one of the volunteers who helped bring the activity centre up to scratch. 

He said: "It is so great to have it up and running. It is an absolutely fantastic facility, the weather conditions had always been a problem - you would have to cancel the archery if it was too wet. But now having this is just fantastic."

Mr Tate, who has been involved for 30 years, was a scout when he was a boy, following on from his father who was in the Itchen Abbas group. He now gets to watch his grandchildren enjoy the new Activity Barn which he helped build. 

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Oscar Lodge was impressed by the new barnOscar Lodge was impressed by the new barn (Image: Newsquest)

Scout deputy youth commissioner, Oscar Lodge, 19, was impressed by the new building. He said: "I think it is a really great thing, you can do archery and shooting, it gives an alternative if it is wet outside. I would've loved this when I was a scout, I remember archery getting cancelled because of the rain." 

Addressing the Pinsent activity team, scouts and the VIP guests, district chair Richard Mendelsohn said: "The activities in the barn were always at the mercy of the elements. Great in the height of summer, but often curtailed during bad weather, and not really possible outside of the summer months.

Richard Mendelsohn, district chair of Winchester District Scout Council Richard Mendelsohn, district chair of Winchester District Scout Council (Image: Newsquest)

"We completed this project from inception to completion in just over 15 months.

"I would like to thank the whole Pinsent Team, along with honorary member Ann Floyd, who have put in many hours and days working on this project.

"Particular mention must go to Chris Floyd, our Activities Manager who, as well as spending days working on site, has also managed the whole construction project, and what an impressive job he has done."

Speaking to the Chronicle, he added: "It is amazing really, first of all to do the whole project in just 15 months is great. We are just amazed, I am proud of the team - it is going to be great for all the young people."


The new Scout Activity Barn has opened at Pinsent Campsite

♬ original sound - Hampshire Chronicle

HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Mr Nigel Atkinson, officially opened the centre. He said: "It is very brave to build a building. I think the team deserve a big round of applause for being so courageous and achieving it

"Hampshire Scouting is an amazing organisation, I am still to this day staggered that there are 27,000 people involved in Hampshire Scouting.

"It's all the leaders and volunteers who make scouting what it is, so thank you very much indeed. To all the scouts themselves, I hope you enjoy this centre."

The 6th Winchester Scouts are one of the first to use the archery spaceThe 6th Winchester Scouts are one of the first to use the archery space (Image: Newsquest)

Scout leader of the 6th Winchester Scouts, Susan Bowdery, said: "It is great, we can use it in all fantastic weather. When it was cancelled in the past, if it was raining, we'd always have another activity up our sleeves. But now, for us leaders, the new facility helps us a lot."

Following the success of the activity centre, the Scouts are now working towards raising approximately £1m for a new campsite facility building which will provide permanent showers, toilets, and a large indoor space.