Negotiations are underway in Shetland to help find a group of local sea scouts a new home following their eviction from the waterside property after more than 50 years there.
Lerwick Sea Scouts were originally given access to the two-storey Grade B listed lodberry, as the buildings are known in Shetland, on Copeland’s Pier by the council on a rent-free basis in the 1960s; using it to practice valuable maritime skills.
Following improvement works on the structure in recent years and intense negotiations between the organisations, the site was put up for sale with a price tag exceeding £45,000.
Just days before the sale of the property, the council are now actively seeking a suitable new home for the group.
Shetland Islands Council capital programmes manager Robert Sinclair said: “We continue to work with the Sea Scouts to identify alternative accommodation and to support them in identifying and applying for funding.”
Councillor John Fraser from Lerwick North, who was a Sea Scout in his time, said the group’s well-being is at the top of the council’s agenda.
He said: “I was involved with the Lerwick sea scouts throughout my teenage years. It’s something I spent a considerable amount of my young life and I valued significantly from it.
“I can understand that there is a significant attraction to the building because of the history of the Lerwick Sea Scouts being there. The reality is the building has deteriorated significantly; it would need a considerable amount of money spent in order to mend the building and upgrade it to a significant standards.
“It’s important that these youth voluntary organisations play a valuable part in the community to help shape youths and teach them valuable life skills they can use through their young lives.
“They have not been in the building for the last two years but honestly to allow them future access to the building, from a health and safety point of view, personally the welfare of the young people has to be a priority.”
Sea Scout leader Laurence Goudie says his priority is to ensure another generation of young people don’t lose out.
He said: “It’s all well and good looking at the long term and I appreciate the effort that is being put in but it’s been four summers we have not had some kids in the water; I don’t want it to be another four summers. It would be great if we can manage to hold up the sale of the lodberry until a suitable alternative is found and potentially get access to the building this summer and get some kids on the water.
“All I want to do it get done what I need to get done and get the kids on the water.”