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St John's Wood scout group's future under threat

PUBLISHED: 12:26 13 August 2010 | UPDATED: 17:05 07 September 2010

A LEADERSHIP crisis is threatening to end the dreams of a cub group from St John s Wood who had their sights set on becoming the next generation of scouts. The 10 young members of the 8th St Marylebone Scout Club, who are also known as the Diehards , mig

A LEADERSHIP crisis is threatening to end the dreams of a cub group from St John's Wood who had their sights set on becoming the next generation of scouts.

The 10 young members of the 8th St Marylebone Scout Club, who are also known as the 'Diehards', might be prevented from graduating to scouts for the first time in the group's 80-year history because they are lacking a leader.

The scouts have been without a chief for the past five and a half years but must find one before September or the hard-earned cub badges the 10-year-old boys have amassed could be their last.

The club still has a cub leader in the form of Cliff Jordan, who was born in St John's Wood and has been a member of the Diehards since he was 12 years old.

He told the Wood&Vale: "We've got cub leaders but we've got no-one for the scouts.

"It's been like this for a long time but it's come to a crux now and we can't progress the kids to the next stage.

"We've got 10 kids who are due to go up and if they don't, they'll just dissipate from the area."

The scouts club began life in 1924 in Caplan Street, Lisson Grove, and has since moved to the £8million purpose-built Mansergh building in Hill Street, St John's Wood - one of the best-equipped scouting halls in the country.

Mr Jordan said if a leader was not found it would be a huge disappointment for his boys.

"It's a place for them to go that they know. It would be like losing part of your family to an extent," he said.

The 52-year-old explained the problem his club is experiencing with recruiting new scout leaders is likely to be happening in other parts of the country.

His suspicions are borne out through official figures which estimate that nationwide there are 33,000 boys and girls on waiting lists to become scouts.

Mr Jordan said the problem is that despite the leadership role only requiring two hours commitment a week, many people now think they're too busy to take on this responsibility.

"The bottom line is that people envisage that they've never got enough time to do anything and volunteering is down to a very small number of people now," he said.

In a bid to secure the future of the 8th St Marylebone Scouts, the club has now launched an internet advertising campaign and has even made a recruitment film.

The short presentation shows the cubs in action at the Mansergh club and asks anyone who has experience of the scouts and is interested in becoming a leader to get in touch.

To view the video go to http://vimeo.com/13906793 or to contact the 8th St Marylebone Scouts directly, call 0844 414 5459.

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