COUNCILLORS who encouraged a scout group to apply for funding towards their new centre only to take the dream away again have been branded “unprofessional”.

Amersham Community Board members who urged the 2nd Amersham on the Hill Scout Group to bid for £35,000 towards a new building on Rectory Hill, only to send the troop packing when the project was found not to fit its “criteria” have been lambasted by one of their own.

Conservative Cllr Mimi Harker chastised her colleagues as “unprofessional”, adding: “It’s wrong to give hope and then take it away.”

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‘Hit the buffers’

The scouts have been raising money to build a £2.1 million triple-hall centre to accommodate an ever-growing list of newcomers, thought to be around 240 would-be scouts.

But even after invitation and having their request adjusted down to £20,000, the group was told the Board had “hit the buffers”.

Bucks Free Press:

“We wanted to support them but…we can’t find any way,” said Conservative Cllr Graham Harris during an Amersham Community Board meeting, on Wednesday, November 4.

It is understood the Jubilee Hall project has received to date more than £600,000 from The Entertainer toy retailer, plus a small grant from the former Chiltern District Council.

And although the project is near completion, the troop is still shy of more than £300,000.


“I’m going to be frank,” said Cllr Harker. “It was a bit disingenuous to ask them to apply for funding in the first place when we couldn’t do it because it was already underway.

“I think it’s a little bit unprofessional and makes the Board look a bit unprofessional, too.

Bucks Free Press:

“I think it’s really sad we can’t help them because this is an investment in our community

“I feel very uncomfortable with this one…I think it’s wrong to give hope and then take it away.”

Bucks Free Press:

Cllr Mark Flys added: “They’ve raised an amazing amount of money…I’m a bit embarrassed we’ve invited them to apply for funding and then we’re throwing it back in their faces again.”

Cllr Harris agreed the centre would be a “tremendous benefit to young people in Amersham”.

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Ray of light

“Community Boards have various different funding pots,” said Gareth Williams, cabinet member for communities and public health. “And, as was discussed at the meeting, we are exploring how the overwhelming support of members of the Board can be carried forwards to awarding a grant.

Bucks Free Press:

“As you would expect, there is a procedure to follow here and that is that the chairman of the Amersham Community Board will be contacting members to confirm the suggested grant amount which was discussed at the Board’s sub-committee and to obtain members approval.

“I can’t pre-empt the chairman but am confident we can find a solution to everyone’s satisfaction and that this excellent facility can be supported by its local community.”

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