A fundraising effort has been launched by the 6th Ramsgate Royal Harbour Sea Scouts to help with the first stage of renovations to the Ice House in Military Road.
The group has submitted a planning application to the council with proposals to create a centre for the Sea Scouts and the wider community.
The group successfully took over the site at Ramsgate harbour under a Community Asset Transfer in 2017 but the site needs restoration.
It was once used to store block ice brought to the UK from Norway to be used in the fish markets. It has since had a variety of mixed commercial uses.
The Sea Scouts, whose association with the Ice House goes back many years, want to create space for the group’s headquarters but also kitchens, a water school, community cafe, meeting rooms and more.
Scout leader Matthew Sayer said: “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.”
Matthew has also shared the group’s plans for the community café which will provide employment for people with special educational needs (SEN).
He said: “Our executive team has extensive experience of running of cafes and leisure facilities professionally and the concept of a cafe came naturally given the footfall past the Ice House.
“The added benefit is 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 from there we will 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.”
Renovation proposals also include disability access which the building does not currently have.
The 6th Ramsgate Sea Scouts is a charity run group that helps and supports children from ages six up to 18. They take part in different fun activities, including kayaking, canoeing, pulling and powerboating.
The Group has 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.
For more information about 6th Ramsgate Sea Scouts visit 6thramsgateseascouts.org.uk
The fundraiser has a £2000 target.