Funding totalling some £97,000 means the 6th Ramsgate Royal Harbour Sea Scouts can start major repair works at the Ice House in Military Road.
Work will take place on the external staircase and access bridge from Jacob’s Ladder, meaning the upper part of the building will at last be accessible, and the roof is being replaced.
The group plans to create a centre for the Sea Scouts and the wider community after successfully taking over the site at Ramsgate harbour under a Community Asset Transfer in 2017.
The building 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.
The Sea Scouts moved into the Ice House in 2020 and have made the ground floor a useable space but holes in the roof meant the upper part of the building was damaged when water got in.
The funding means a new roof and the major works for the bridge and stairs (pictured) can start this October and are expected to be complete in December.
Group Scout Leader Shirley Appleby said: “We have been working with different funds, some small, some bigger amounts, and now this will allow us to put in the new fire escape and bridge going around Jacob’s Ladder and the new roof.
“The new roof is very exciting because it means we will have a water-tight building with no gaping holes. We have been able to make temporary repairs to stop water ingress, but having a new roof will ensure no further damage occurs to the building. It also means we will soon be able to start using the upper part of the building, although there is still a lot that needs doing before that can happen.
“Work on the roof will begin in early October, and AU Roofing have been contracted to undertake this work.
“Once the staircase and bridge are replaced, we can access the upper floor safely, allowing building materials to be delivered and volunteers to get stuck in and start transforming the space. Our existing staircase isn’t usable, not even for Scouts. S & A Steel Services Ltd will be working hard throughout October and November, making the staircase and bridge, which will be in before December and the festive season begins.
“We will bring in the New Year celebrating our wins and look forward to decorating the stairs and bridge with fairy lights!
“We are working with several funders to discuss accessibility; to install a lift and toilets. We want to ensure everyone in our community can use the building, so the design work for this stage is already underway.
“Funding is not secured yet but we have squirrelled away donations from Tesco Manston Bookcase charity, The East Kent branch of the Submariners Association, Charity Army v Navy Veterans Cricket Match, Tall Buildings Fire Safety Network, Arthur’s penny jars, ex-scouts of 6th Ramsgate and donations from parents and grandparents of our current Scouts. Thank you to everyone who has donated; it makes it possible for us to match fund each stage of the project so we can realise our dream.”
Funding for the major works has come from Sports England, Cllr Karen Constantine, The Roger De Haan Trust, Scouts events and everyone that donated to the Go Fund Me page.
There have also been flooring material donations from Wickes and W G Burbridge and valuable help from structural engineer Peter Thomason and architect Ian Barber.
Following this phase there will need to be more works on electrics and plumbing and the aim is to then go back to work on the downstairs area to create the community centre.
Shirley said: “This is a huge step but there is still a way to go. When we are ready to use the upstairs we will have a much bigger hall space for bigger activities and we can increase the number of people we offer support to. I am hoping we will be able to use it by early next Spring.
“We will also be putting in a bid for funding for downstairs for the community centre but have had to break the fundraising down into manageable stages.”
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 Sea Scouts continue to fundraise towards the renovations, and donations can be made via the PayPal button on their website or directly to the Group.