THE LERWICK sea scouts group is looking for help from the public to buy a waterside building it had used for over 50 years before it was put up for sale by owners Shetland Islands Council.
The Grade B listed building, which is part of the Lodberries on Commercial Street, was recently put on the market by the council priced at over £45,000.
Sea scout leader Laurence Goudie said the group had found themselves locked out of the building on Copeland’s Pier as the local authority sought to take it back.
The group have been in negotiations with the council since then, but no agreement was reached.
The sea scouts say without the building they will “no longer have a safe place to access the sea or store the boats and equipment”.
Goudie said the sea scouts were given use of the lodberry and a hut at Hayfield on an indefinite “zero pound” lease as a charitable donation back in the 1960s.
But he said a “few years ago the council informed us that they would be taking back both buildings”.
“We managed to agree that we could keep Hayfield hut until they found a more suitable place, and there was no more mention of the lodberry,” Goudie continued.
“We went there one day and the locks had been changed and we weren’t asked about it. We were told we were no longer allowed in the building.”
Shetland Islands Council capital programmes manager Robert Sinclair said in response that the local authority is open to more talks with the sea scouts.
“The decision to sell the building has been made following extensive dialogue with the sea scouts,” he said.
“Shetland Islands Council is willing to continue these discussions.”
The scouts’ equipment had been kept there until the last few weeks before it was moved into a council store as the building was prepared for sale.
Goudie said the sea scouts had been offered an alternative building, but it was not suitable.
They have now launched an online fundraising campaign to see if the public wishes provide donations to the sea scouts for buying the building.
The sale has a closing date of 25 October.
The property has its own slipway out onto the sea, while it also has an accommodation area on the ground floor and open plan upper floor with balcony.
The scouts aims to provide young people with the opportunity to learn important life skills while making lasting friendships and building confidence.
The sea scouts gives youngsters the chance to take part in water based activities in addition to the usual scouts skills.
Goudie said there are around 40 to 50 children of all ages currently involved in the Lerwick sea scouts.