A DECISION to close a Scout group over child safety concerns has been branded ‘unbelievable’ by furious parents.
Families of the 40-or-so young members of the 1st Flint Beavers, Cubs and Scouts group have received letters and emails telling them that Tuesday will be the club’s last session.
Leaders at Clwyd Scouts, which oversees scouting clubs across North East Wales, said the decision was taken as leaders at the Flint group were lacking in training, including courses in child protection. Concerns over the ‘safety of children’ using the facility were cited among their reasons.
But leaders at the Flint group said some of the training was ‘unnecessary’ and insisted children attending the sessions were not in any danger.
Parents labelled the closure decision ‘unbelievable’.
Karen Clarkson, whose three sons Alfie, six, Louii, eight, and Evan, 10, all attend the group, said: “It is unbelievable. It’s been going for years.
“We were given a letter at a meeting on Monday and then we got the email, but that’s the first I had heard of it – they were painting the place just a couple of weeks ago.
“It stops the kids hanging out on the streets and it gives them something to do.”
As well as not meeting their training obligations, an email sent to parents by Clwyd Scouts stated the Cornist Scout hut and the programme of activities provided for young members there were not up to scratch.
In a statement to the Leader a spokeman for Clwyd Scouts said: “We never close down groups without good reason, but a number of adults involved with 1st Flint had not met their training obligations.
“The safety of children and the quality of the programme provided by Scouting is vitally important.
“All our volunteer adults are expected to follow our rules as laid out in our governing documents.”
The statement added they would be looking to reopen the group in the future.
But in an email sent to parents, Peter Jackson, one of the group leaders, issued a vigorous defence of their sessions.
“The leaders in Flint have completed some of this training but not all,” he said.
“We have many skills which we can bring into Scouting and therefore much of the training is unnecessary.
“This is the main reason for the group closing, as some of the training is related to child safety, they (the Clwyd Scouts area committee) think that children may be at risk.
“As I say this is not the case and your children have never been in any danger.”
He added: “In the summer we have had a new roof installed and only last week started decorating the inside after allowing it to dry out.
“[In terms of programme quality] the children are the judges and keep coming back each week so we must be doing something right.”
Sian Bradley, whose two sons attend the group, was also angered at the closure news.
She said: “They haven’t got anyone else to run the place, I can’t see what their issue is.
“When we have 20 to 30 children there a night it says they’re doing something right.
“We’re going to fight this. We’re not out to cause trouble we just want them to keep it open for the children.”
She said she had been told to stop paying subs for the group immediately and that another group would be found.
But Miss Bradley said: “They say to go to Holywell or Deeside but I don’t drive so I would have to get a bus.
“My sons are only young and it would mean getting back at about 10pm.
“The youth club has gone in Flint and it seems like everything is going.”
The Scouts spokesman added: “We would welcome the opportunity to work with the community in Flint to reopen the Scout group there in the future.
“Anybody interested should call 08453 001818.”
Parents will meet at the Scout hut on Monday to discuss the closure of the group.