Doing our duty to clear woods in Sheffield

The 180th Sheffield Holy Trinity Millhouses Scouts clean up at Ecclesall Woods
The 180th Sheffield Holy Trinity Millhouses Scouts clean up at Ecclesall Woods
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A YOUNG band of community-spirited eco-warriors helped put a modern spin on an old scouting tradition.

Beavers, Cubs and Scouts from across Sheffield joined forces to take part in a mass clean-up of Ecclesall Woods as part of Community Week.

The event was organised as part of a national project to resurrect the Scouts’ Bob-a-Job week, which was called to a halt over health and safety fears and child protection legislation in 1992.

The Scout Association wants to bring the values of volunteering back again and the city’s leaders were tasked with coming up with a project which would boost its agenda.

However, rather than knock on doors in neighbourhoods to offer help around the home- as the Bob-a-Job boys did- the modern day equivalent saw them band together to organise a community event.

With the help of Friends of Ecclesall Woods, about 60 youngsters aged six to 14 donned rubber gloves and grabbed gardening tools in a bid to clear paths, sweep rake leaves and get rid of rubbish.

John Freeman, a Sheffield Hallam University lecturer and leader of 180th Millhouses Scouts, said: “It was a modern version of Bob-a-Job, the idea was to have a project which would involve a lot of people doing something for the benefit of the community.

“The clean-up had a visible difference and the idea was that the Scouts, Cubs and Beavers could see how their work will benefit the community.

“We cleared the paths and helped make them more accessible for cyclists and people with mobility problems. One of our leaders is a wheelchair user so they could see how it helped.”

Sheffield Scout leader and event co-organiser Jeremy Holmes said: “Lots of cars stopped and we got hoots from others in support. Even a police car slowed down and flashed its lights and when the siren went off, a lot of the young people thought we were in trouble but the policeman stopped and thanked everyone.

“It was a great community project and raised the profile of the group.”