In late 2016 the Group applied to Thanet District Council (TDC) to take over the Ice House building in Ramsgate Harbour, under a Community Asset Transfer. We were informed in mid 2017 that we had been successful and have since been working with TDC to complete this.
It is our aim that through sympathetic and careful redevelopment of the Ice House, it will become a vibrant centre for supporting not only our Scout Groups activities but also other youth and community organisations. Whilst we understand the significant undertaking that this project involves, it is our intention to respect the historic nature of the Ice House and the surrounding buildings.
Whilst exploring the layout for Ice House we have wanted not only to create appropriate space for the use of the Scout Group but also space for use by the community. The space available in the Ice House allows each floor to be serviced by its own kitchen and toilet facilities, a Water School, a Community Cafe, 2/3 meeting rooms, a main hall, various store rooms, a Conference room, an IT room and a main office.
We have been working with a team of architects on the designs for the building and have apportioned much of the ground floor to a purpose built and self-contained water facility. Our plan is to set up a not for profit organisation in the form of the Royal Harbour Water School to be run by an employed Centre Manager. It will not only run the water activities for the Scout Group but also to engage the wider community in affordable water activities and training. We aim to provide low cost training packages to the local community and our young people, whilst still providing sustainability for our craft, equipment and leader training. The location of the Ice House also means that training and activities can take place nearly all year round and on a variety of different water types, this would be a unique addition to water activities in the South East.
We will become a RYA and BCU Training Centre, allowing us to award national qualifications.
Our Executive team has extensive experience of running of cafe's and leisure facilities professionally and the concept of a cafe came naturally given the footfall past the Ice House. The added benefit being that it would be able to support the water school by offering an all-inclusive package for water activities and training as well as refreshment for “cold and wet” Scouts coming off the water.
Many of our adult volunteers work with children who have Special Educational Needs (SEN) and the Group has been very successful at engaging young people with SEN in Scouting and is proud of the number of young people who achieve beyond their own expectations.
We propose to run the cafe with a designated Manager and provide employment for people with SEN. The cafe will be a community hub and run the building, manage the maintenance, handle bookings for the meeting rooms, provide catering as part of the hire package and provide desk hopping facilities for people who work in London but don’t always need to commute.
6th Ramsgate Sea Scout Group
The Group consists of three sections, Beavers (aged 6–8), Cubs (aged 8 to 10 and a half) and Scouts, (aged 10 and a half to 14) supported by Young Leaders (aged 14 to 18) and a team of adult volunteers.
As a Sea Scout Group we do the same activities that are available to any other Scout Group, such as camping, hiking, climbing, archery, etc, with one main difference. This difference being that we focus a lot of our time on water activities, pulling, kayaking canoeing, powerboating, etc.
Our unique location within the harbour gives us the opportunity to offer water activities to young people with physical disabilities as they can access the boats via the pontoon ramps and cross wall slipway. However, we are unable to make use of this facility as our current meeting place does not have disabled access. With the new facilities, which will have disabled access to all levels of the Ice House, our Scout group will be able to embrace young people with physical disabilities.
The purpose of Scouting is to actively engage and support young people in their personal development, empowering them to make a positive contribution to society and give them life skills. Scouting is an inclusive organisation which does not discriminate on any grounds such as ethnicity, religious beliefs, social status, disability or sexual orientation. Our Group currently supports members (both youth and adult) with learning difficulties, those from disadvantaged backgrounds, looked after children and welcomes young people from all walks of life.
For more information about us and what we do please visit our website 6thramsgateseascouts.org.uk.
Benefits to the Group and Local Community
The benefit to the Scout Group will be a dedicated and attractive purpose-built property, with improved facilities announcing our presence in the harbour. Raising our profile will serve to attract more members allowing more young people to benefit from Scouting.
We would be able to offer use of the meeting hall and facilities to Thanet District Scouts for meetings and events. Through the improved water training facilities, we will be able to offer water taster and training session to other Scout groups in the District and County who may not otherwise be able to access these activities.
The all-in-one facility we propose would also be attractive to Sea Scout Groups from further afield to use for water activity weekends. This brings more people, with the potential to spend money, into the town and local area.
The Group has already supported its own young people to complete their GCSE and A-Level sports studies through their chosen water disciplines. With the creation of the Royal Harbour Water School we aim to engage with our local schools and colleges to support more young people to complete their studies through access to water activities.
The wider community will have access to much needed community spaces for the creation of and use by existing organisations. The community cafe will be able to support events for community organisations such as “coffee mornings” for the lonely, which will help bring our community together.