You know that old saying about London Buses – that you’re waiting for ages for one to arrive – then two arrive at the same time! Birchmere has, in its own way, suffered just the same.
We had been granted planning approval for a much larger new activity room to replace the old schoolroom that we called the DRT some six years ago. Then a school in Hounslow had two to offer us as they were about to replace them. Either we had them when they became available or they went to landfill. So very quickly we had to say “Goodbye old faithful” DRT building and “Hello and Welcome” to its new replacements.
In a few months, we had the new building planning approved and the new buildings were dismantled from the school, shipped down the A3 and reassembled at the campsite. To conform to our planning requirements, they were quickly clad with timber supplied from the nearby Norbury Sawmills. The new cladding very successfully transformed the existing prefabricated grey concrete structure and made it a really eye catching country building and something we could become totally proud of!
From here things became more difficult with our various busy visiting contractors having to fit a large project into their already full diary, but slowly, we were able to update the internal structure and begin fitting out the new semi-industrial kitchens together with all the building’s communal spaces. New under floor insulation plus floors and floor tiles have been fitted. Bottled gas is now connected to our new range cookers and the outside gas bottle stores completed. The plumbing and waste water management is now also ready for use. Both the halls have been reroofed with upgraded insulation and all internal decoration is now complete. One of our major campsite improvements is that Birchmere is now able to offer two similar halls for separate bookings thus removing the previous competition that always existed for campsite indoor kitchen and activity space.
It’s a great improvement and the Campsite Management Committee is very grateful to Woking District Scout Council, Tuffin Ferraby Taylor LLP, Woking Borough Council and the very many people who have supported the changes in so many different ways.
Birchmere also has a new Warden team, Steve and Katy Valiant. Steve has a great depth of scouting skills and also ADC Cubs in a nearby District. However our campsite management team is made up of many others who have had their enthusiasm noted by being awarded various-Scouting awards. Gary Cheesman has been awarded the Merit for Outstanding Service and Terry Oakley, past warden, awarded a Bar to his Award of Merit. Finally we are really proud that two members of the committee were given the accolade of the best that scouting can give, The Silver Wolf. Past committee members, Tony Bowman and the DESC for Woking, Brian Pinto, have been given this prestigious award. Well done, but thank you and well done to ALL the members of our brilliant Birchmere Management Team!