This terrible Covid-19 pandemic forced the closure of so many scouting centres and Birchmere was no exception. Now, this could have been a time when our Campsite Team decided to relax and enjoy the peace and tranquillity from their back gardens. But no, for them this was the ideal opportunity to start all of their planned improvements. In a socially-distanced manner of course!
So, with no campsite bookings for the foreseeable future, all the previously budgeted site improvements were dusted down, tools were dusted off, dodgy back muscles stretched and work began.
Birchmere has always been a great location for small camps, but recently we have seen more and more bookings for larger and larger camps. This meant making some major improvements to our waterworks. So, we now have a vastly improved septic tank drainage system to help avoid any “unpleasant” little moments. We’ve also added a third standpipe on the north side of the campsite, so you shouldn’t have Cubs or Scouts grumbling about long walks with heavy Jerry cans! Plus, there is a smart new outdoor washing-up station complete with hot water (the luxury!) to make dish and pan washing easier on field camps. Since this is slap next to the campsite gate it’s also a perfect anti-Covid hand washing point as well.
Our new activity rooms – The Retreat and Birch Lodge – have been spruced up with fresh coats of paint, thorough cleaning and shiny new tiles in the kitchen areas. The inside of both halls now looks really smart and we’ve improved the outside as well by widening the special needs ramp to The Retreat to create a larger wheelchair turning area.
The beloved camp fire circle has been hugely updated with a second row of seating sufficient for the biggest of camps. As a further extra, a campfire leaders “Throne” has been created to add to the atmosphere (and no doubt, noise) at campfires. This is now an amazing campfire area!
We still have work to do when finances permit. On our list are improved adult shower and toilet facilities, to eliminate the early morning / late evening queues of showercap wearing leaders, and we are hoping that a delayed grant assessment for a campsite defibrillator will be approved soon.
Birchmere is now an even smarter “Proper Little Campsite”.