Gillian Fraser updates us on what’s going on at the centres.

What’s been happening – the good, the bad and the ugly

It’s the start of the busy season for the centres in the Region and the staff team along with volunteers have been working hard. During the winter months you might think that nothing happens at the Centres however this is where the staff team are really busy carrying out major maintenance work and preparing for the new season. Work over the last few months has included everyone in the team – admin, facilities and activities. There has been a variety of people helping us to improve the facilities – staff, ASU members, community service teams and others. Thank you to everyone who has done their bit!

There has been a tremendous amount of good work happening but you might have heard that there has been bad news as well…

We are very disappointed to say that our Field Toilets and Shower Block at Bonaly was set on fire by vandals during the Easter holidays. Staff were on site but could not do anything as the fire took hold. It took 3 fire engines to deal with the incident. No groups were on site and thankfully no one was injured but it has caused a lot of disruption. We have temporary toilets now on the site and showers being organised so you will not be let down! Bonaly is still fully operational and we look forward to welcoming groups to the site. You can see photos of the fire damage on Bonaly Scout Centre’s facebook page. That is the ugly bit!

But the good news is…

Admin, Finance and Customer Service

  • We have welcomed 3 new Wardens onto the team at Bonaly! You will meet Yvonne, Justin and Ayla in the evening and weekends when groups are on site. There may be others joining us so we will introduce the team officially in the next newsletter.
  • Improvements have been made to the booking system. It is still work in progress but things are changing! We hope to soon have an availability calendar on the website for the Chalet and the Forth Lodge so you can easily see which dates we have left available.
  • We have been reviewing and improving customer service procedures (which we are continually working on)
  • Developing and improving standard operating procedures has been a large part for all staff for their own area of work.
  • New financial procedures have been written with the help of Jill from the Finance Committee in order for us to meet all audit requirements and criteria set down by OSCR (Office of Scottish Charity Regulator).
The teepee area at Bonaly

The teepee area at Bonaly

Repairing, Painting, Building…

  • The toilets had been repainted and given some TLC but unfortunately you cannot see that now due to them being burnt down.
  • The Chalet kitchen is improved with new layout, new sink and most importantly new floor
  • The Yurt that is used by the Cowgate Under 5’s Nursery has been moved to allow us more room for the Tepee Area. This is their own yurt and they have their forest nursery in it. The young children come to Bonaly as part of their nursery day and experience the out of doors in the beautiful surroundings. The City of Edinburgh Council pay to house the yurt on our site and many of the children who come to Bonaly then go on to join Beavers or Rainbows once they are old enough. Bonaly Scout Centre will be noted in the nursery report they are publishing acknowledging the support we are giving them.
  • With the yurt being moved this has allowed us to improve the Tepee Area – the Tepees were taken down, repaired and are being put back up. If booking the Tepees you can now have access to tents and catering equipment to save you taking these items with you. Huge thanks to the team who helped put the Tepees back up. This is Scouting and team work at its best!
  • Work at Longcraig has been completed to repair the doors and the fencing with other work still going on. This is all in preparation for the sessions starting again in May.
  • The ASU team at Longcraig are working hard to prepare the boats ready for taking young people out of them again. Thanks to everyone who has been involved in this.
  • Compliance checks and services are being/have been carried out to fire extinguishers and alarms, electrical equipment, cookers, heating systems etc to make sure they are working and safe to use in all centres.
  • We are having to do work to the field areas at Bonaly in order to allow water to drain from them. This will be a major job as we have recently had so much wet weather. The grass is recovering though and ready to welcome more campers!
The yurt used by the Cowgate Under 5s

The yurt used by the Cowgate Under 5s

Developing new and improved Activity Areas

  • During December and January, Neil, Activities Manager reviews risk assessments and operating manuals for all activities. He has had to do more this year as we introduce the new dedicated Bushcraft Area and brand new Axe Throwing Range! These will be open in May and more information will be coming soon.
  • Many thanks to the instructors who have volunteered their time to help develop these areas and hone their skills at the same time.
  • The new Archery Shelter and range is up and looking fantastic! Now with the capacity to have 4 archers at one time and all under cover this is a very welcome addition to the archery range. This will be officially opened soon and more details will be available shortly about this with particular thanks going to those who helped fund it. Watch this space!
The newly refreshed Bonaly Archery Range

The newly refreshed Bonaly Archery Range

As you can see from the list there have been many things going on and for many of them you won’t see the physical efforts. However, if you or your group are wanting to get involved do get in touch. The tasks we are planning to do next are lots of fun including burning the wood left in the wood pile to allow us to move it to a different area and restock with better wood; preparing a new smaller campfire area at the old bushcraft area plus lots more!

If you’d like to know more about any of the above please Contact Gillian, Regional Operations Manager at