Local People have supported the 1st Newcastle Scouts after a flood caused extensive damage to fence.
A GoFundMe page set up by Scout leaders Sam McNeilly and Deon McNeilly has raised just over £1500 to help with the cost of repairs writes Laura Barr.
The scouts which use a site at Tipperary Woods, just off the Bryansford Road say the cost of repairs could be in the thousands.
Storm Francis battered the town of Newcastle last Tuesday (25 August) with heavy rainfall causing many homes to be flooded and substantial damage along the Shimna River which burst its banks.
The Newcastle Scouts, led by a team of dedicated volunteers, were looking forward to welcoming the children back this month to coincide with schools reopening.
But sadly, this is no longer an option.
The site is not only used by 1st Newcastle Scouts but also welcomes scout groups from all over Ireland.
Speaking to Down News about the damage, scout leader Deon McNeilly said: “The damage caused by this flood was like nothing we’ve seen before.
“The site in Tipperary Woods took the full force of the flood with water damaging our security fence.
“In the 2008 flood in Newcastle, we lost 15 feet of river bank and one gate post was washed away, but other than that there was minimal damage.
“The water level this time around was approximately one foot higher than the last flood and four foot deep judging by the water marks.”
Deon said: “The campsite is used every year by cross-community scouts from all over Ireland, but this year with Covid-19 they had no bookings, and as a result no income.
“We made the decision to keep the site maintained over the last number of months with cutting grass, ongoing repairs and painting as well as insurance using up our emergency funds.
“We hadn’t expected to have so much damage from flooding and are now faced with repair bills which could run into thousands and which are unfortunately not covered by the insurance!”
The Scout leaders, Sam and Deon McNeilly and Peter Law would like to thank everyone who has helped with clearing up the damage and to everyone who has donated to the fundraising appeal.
“On Sunday (30 August), a group of volunteers came and helped to tidy up the site and the day after, a digger was on site to clear the broken fence”, Sam explained.
“We are really grateful for all the support and generosity from the local community.
“To know that the community is behind us and supporting us makes such a difference and we would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has donated.”
If you would like to donate to the 1st Newcastle Scouts fundraising to help with repairs caused by storm Francis you can do so online at: