Lower Grange Farm - The Development
The Scout Active Support Team are busy around the site with lots of maintenance projects and planting the tubs, borders etc. You can join them on a Tuesday morning from 9am until 12.30pm if you would like to get involved.
In February 2019, 10 years since Kent Scouts moved to Lower Grange farm it was announced that we now own a significant amount of land surrounding the farm ensuring that the facility has the scope to grow in the future and isn't at risk of being encroached on by housing. Most importantly it means that we now have space for bigger events and new activities allowing Lower Grange Farm to support even better Scouting in Kent.
Work is about to commence on refurbishing the stable block to provide some additional meeting room spaces
The LGF Active Support have completed the first stage of refurbishing the rag stone wall as you leave the site. This has entailed digging and pouring foundations, sorting and cleaning off stones and then constructing the wall. Well done to the team. Watch this space for some more construction work.
The party business has grown with Climbing, Archery and Cave bus parties being in demand.
Earlier this year we took delivery of tentage to provide an Easy Camp Solution for hard pressed leaders.
You will spot as part of our regular planned maintenance you will notice that the paintwork around the stables and County Office has been given a lick of paint to smarten the area up.
We have a new Centre Manager and two new full-time instructors as well as a Climbing Manager.
The site has gained a Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (LOTC) award and this will enable us to provide services to schools.
As well as the previously advertised Badge Courses we are launching soon both Cub and Beaver Disability Awareness Badges. All these run at LGF and make a great programme evening for colonies, packs and Troops.
Active Support volunteers completed the construction of the archery range over the course of 2016.
The site saw a major new development open. We now have full catering kitchen with two catering size ovens, fridge, microwaves, freezer and dishwasher. Along with crockery and cutlery for over 100 people it is ideal for camps, training and events.
The site is continually revolving now! We have just made a massive step towards the access to site. The bumpy uncomfortable entrance to the site is no more, we have had a lovely new tarmac drive laid, making all of the parking areas fully accessible.
Work has started to construct our car park and new roadways. The 8 week works started last week. The works will include levelling out the main field with the rubble that will be dug up. This may cause some minor disruptions onsite but will be well worth it.
The Car park is coming along in leaps and bounds, lots happening and it wont be long before we will have grass growing through it! have a look below!
All pictures below are a correct representation of the current condition of usable areas. Much of the recent on site development has been towards the Climbing Barn project. The fundraising team are hard at work securing the needed funds to let us continue and deliver our vision's for the site.
With thanks to our great Active Support Team, the fronts of the stable blocks and areas across the site have undergone a great renovation ready for the summer camping season!
Active Support and Explorer work party events have led to a few small site projects being carried out. This includes new access gates, planting schemes and general site tidying.
Site pictures in April
The brick pile which we inherited with the site was cleared and sold opening up the front of the site. Round the back of the barn ground work and seeding which took place during 2011 took affect with a lawn and decking installed by the Active Support team.
Towards the end of 2011 work began on converting the of the stable blocks into accommodation rooms and a further two into the centre store. These were completed in March.
All spring, work continued fitting out the County Office and upstairs meeting space. The office moved to Lower Grange Farm in July.
The work was carried out by a mix of volunteers (including the stair and heating installation), young people, Active Support and contractors.
Gas tank installation:
Our busiest year yet saw thousands of young people camp including Scouts, Guides, DofE, Colleges, Schools, Youth services, rugby clubs to include a few. As well as this the site hosted a really diverse range of events including 'Honk!' where students from Chichester University turned the barn into a theatre for a weekend!
Lots of new areas were planted and the old hay cart at the back of the barn was sold to a restorer.
Christmas saw a tree as tall as the barn and a fantastic Christmas event supported by over 300 visitors.
The first completed construction project was on site accommodation for those managing the site.
With a lot of infrastructure to install and stables still to clear, regular work parties helped to get the site to a usable state. Power cables had to be laid in trenches, water pipes run, temporary toilet blocks installed and fences erected. Networkers installed a kissing gate and Explorers built compost bins and painted the containers.
Site pictures in April
In the Summer a Tuesday Active Support Group started, coming down on Tuesday mornings. The first project was painting the 13 stable doors which had been weathered by the elements over the years.
Camps, activities and events started taking place
In September 'Homes Under the Hammer' filmed a follow up programme having followed the project from purchase. The programme aired in 2011.
Site pictures in October
During October Bear Grylls flew in undertook challenges brought by young people across the site, unveiling a stone marking the start of the project to develop a climbing centre onsite.
In December we had our first tree decorated by young people from across the County.
August 2009 - Kent Scouts purchase Lower Grange Farm in Maidstone
Lower Grange Farm, a derelict farm in the centre of Kent with good close road links and huge potential for development.
Later that month a 50 Explorer and Network Scouts (aged 14-25) gathered to form the first work party. A busy weekend clearing decades of agricultural equipment and hay meant the barn was soon ready to use. At the same time the volunteers were asked to start thinking about what they would like to see the site used for and what they would put where. This process would continue for 6 months while the Kent Scout membership was surveyed giving everyone whether 6 or 60 year old a chance to input their thoughts into the project.
Suggestions came in from across the County. They included facilities for events and camping as well as ‘gunge pools’ and ‘mega slides’! Some of the best ideas came from our young people who included things like flag poles in their designs (something we had not even considered!).
In October 2009 the first event was held called Scorcher as a celebration for the work carried out clearing the barn.
It became clear that there was a lot of work to be done and in December 2009 the site took on Simon Corrigan as Centre Manager to help setup the site and welcome guests for camping and events.
Following a work party weekend clearing the loft space Active Support insulated the space over the winter ready for it to be fit out in the new year