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With long, deep trenches and copious amounts of mud, 5th Woodbridge Sea Scouts (5WSS) hut resembled a set from a war film this week as ground was broken ahead of its new extension.


Planning permission was granted for the works at the hut in Tide Mill Way in 2019, and the initial excavation was completed in order to preserve the approval. Group Scout leader Barrie Hayter said: “A seven-meter long trench was dug and then filled with 12 tons of concrete to create the main foundation support across the garden.”  

Plans for the £400,000 project include a kitchen extension at the back of the existing building, an enlarged space created from shipping containers, and a glass reception and walkway. 

The new space will not only allow two sections to run at the same time, but will also provide changing rooms and disabled access.  

With the ground now broken, the team behind the project can now spend their time applying for grants to raise the required funds, having already secured £50,000. In addition, there are various fund-raising events planned throughout the year, including a sponsored row of the River Deben, a barbecue at the Woodbridge Regatta, a quiz night and a special raffle with a cruise as top prize.

Barrie explained why the extension is so vital for the group. “Over the past 12 months, we have more than doubled in size,” he said. “We’ve opened new sections from ages four to fourteen and have taken on 75 extra members. Despite this, the waiting list has continued to grow and we now have more than 160 young people waiting for spaces.    

“We have run out of time slots to start any new sections, so we desperately need the extra space to be able to run multiple groups at the same time.”   

It is hoped that, once complete, other Scout and youth groups will use the facilities for overnight accommodation, and for access to 5WSS’ water equipment. But Barrie stressed that the current hut could also be better utilised by the community. He explained:  “We already open two days a week as part of the Warm Rooms scheme, and we welcome a dance school on Saturdays. But we want to increase utilisation during the day when the hut is generally empty.

“It seems such a shame that this community asset sits unused during the day. We would love to talk to groups in the area that could make use of the space."

Donations are being welcomed for the extension plans. If you would like to contribute, or offer your services in another way, please email Barrie on

5th Woodbridge Sea Scouts extension