As the Group Scout Leader of Sale Central Scout Group, it deeply saddens me to see the misinformation that is being spread throughout our local community with regard to the Scout Group serving notice on Outburst Breakfast and After-School Club.
To be very clear about this, Sale Central Scout Group is a charitable organisation run entirely by volunteers, Outburst is a for-profit organisation. Sale Central Scout Group own the building and the land surrounding the building, Outburst are just one of dozens of community groups that hire our premises at highly competitive rates for the betterment of our community.
Scouting is primarily about affording young people the time, space, and opportunity to learn many outdoor skills, we are incredibly fortunate that our premises have a large, grassed area where our young members can pitch tents, play games, build campfires and dozens of other Scouting activities, hence why we treasure our outdoor space as much as we do our indoor space, our volunteers keep the space usable for Scouting purposes.
Outburst have been a part of the local community for many years, and we have always acknowledged the role that they play and the good that they do, the majority of our volunteer leaders are also working parents, some of whom actually benefit from Outburst’s services.
We would often take our members out onto the grassed area and occasionally would have to deal with twisted ankles etc due holes appearing in our lawn, we were reasonably sure that these holes were not being dug by our members and when we asked Outburst about them, they simply replied by saying that these holes were the result of a “Mud Kitchen”, something which apparently enables Outburst to maintain their “Outstanding” OfSted rating. We asked them to refrain from allowing the children in their charge to dig up our lawn … it continued.
We then, at our expense sectioned off a corner of our property, where we would not allow our members to enter, and we gave Outburst permission to dig up only that sectioned area, we also removed an old fibre glass boat that had lain on our lawn for many years, the reason for removing it was that it was cracked and had many jagged edges and was a health risk to anyone who went near it, Outburst objected saying that the boat was the highlight of their outdoor play and had been for years, they even claimed to have been gifted the boat (later refuted by the previous owner), The Scout Group again paid for the cutting up and removal of the boat.
Outburst have many plastic playhouses dotted around the outdoor space, many of these are quite old and the plastic is dangerously splitting, these same playhouses have heavy wooden decking boards screwed to the roof making them dangerous and top heavy, Outburst state that the reason for the decking is to allow children to climb on these plastic structures with their perished plastic.
Outburst also had a wooden climbing frame tied to two of the trees, they stated that Explorer Scouts had built this for them, it had various poles sticking out at the eye level of a small child but these had been wrapped in a sponge material, we asked them to remove this as we would not allow any of our young members to go anywhere near something which we deemed to be unsafe and hazardous … reluctantly, Outburst complied.
When Outburst started hiring our indoor space, they asked if there was anywhere where they could store some of their equipment, the Scouting volunteers at the time told them that they could use part of the biggest storeroom in the building, over the years, Outburst have taken over this whole storeroom, they do not pay to store their equipment and Scouting volunteers do not have access to it.
Despite assigning part of our land to Outburst “Mud Kitchen”, they would also (quite naturally) allow their young people to play on the grassed area, our only condition of allowing this to happen was that they refrained from allowing the area to be used in inclement weather to save from ruining the grass. Again, Outburst refused to comply with our wishes.
We then decided to draw up a hire agreement, Outburst claim to have one from 2005 when one of the Outburst principles was also on the Exec committee of the Scout Group, as we pointed out, anything agreed 15 or more years ago could not be adhered to today, so we painstakingly drew up an agreement which stated such common courtesies as when the Scout Group asks Outburst to refrain from using the grassed area, Outburst must comply, with regard to the storage of Outbursts property, the Scout Group has very kindly restructured the payment structure for Outburst to actually reduce their hourly rate for the hire of the hall/kitchen and incorporated into that a charge for the storage facilities resulting in our income from Outburst practically unchanged.
OUTBURST REFUSED TO SIGN THE AGREEMENT
To make our premises better for Scouting use, for use by our existing and future hirers, volunteers repainted all of the walls and the Scout Group went to great expense to have the floor of the main hall repaired, sanded down and varnished … how horrified we have been since this happened to turn up for a Scouting meeting to find our lovely new floor and freshly painted walls, smeared with the mud from our former grassed area … we have now repainted the walls in the rear hallway FOUR Times in the past 8 months.
As for the disgusting state of the floor, Outburst have suggested that the Scout Group should purchase a robotic cleaner to clean up their mess after them.
Meanwhile, we have had to cancel numerous Scouting events (at our own premises) due to the fact that our outdoor area is no longer usable, we also asked Outburst to refrain from using the area to give the grass a chance to recover … they refused.
Due to all of the above (and much more), the Scout Groups Executive Committee voted unanimously to terminate Outbursts “agreement” and we gave them until Easter to vacate, Outburst countered by stating that their “agreement” (we assume this is the one from 2005) stated that we had to give them 6 months’ notice, although we do not recognise the agreement cited, we agreed to postpone the termination of the agreement until the end of the current academic year.
Since that time, the Scout Group have received several emails from Outburst Parents blaming the Group Scout Leader for this situation, there has also been a petition launched asking the Scout Group to reconsider???
Just to summarise the above, Outburst have been responsible for dangerous equipment left out in the open on our premises thus endangering our Members as well as the Children in their ‘care’, Outburst have abused our premises, despite being a ‘for-profit’ organisation, they have left their mess for Scouting volunteers to clean up after them, Outburst refuse to refrain from using our grassed area when we ask (primarily during inclement weather), Outburst have had free use of our storage facilities throughout lockdown and have subsequently refused to pay for that storage despite the Scout Group restructuring their payments in such a way that they would pay approximately the same but acknowledge that the storage facility was a separate hireable entity … they refused to do so.
The Scout Group has tried time after time to accommodate Outburst, at great expense, and Outburst refuse to sign a hire agreement offered to them by the Scout Group on whose property they operate.
And we are being painted as the bad guys…