The purchase in 2008
The Walton Firs Foundation was established in 2006 to purchase and preserve Walton Firs for use by current and future generations of young people.
Walton FirsWalton Firs is a magnificent 28 acre area of open space near Cobham in Surrey. There is easy access from the A3 and M25.
It has open grassland, wooded areas, flat areas and slopes – all of which provide a superb environment for camping, skills training, games, nature and environmental studies and other activities so vital to young people both individually and together.The facilities include two Accommodation Huts (sleeping a total of 60) and a Training Hut (with a large hall) – all three with kitchens and toilets; an Adventure Course; a Climbing/Abseiling Wall; a Skittle Alley/Shooting Gallery; two Toilet blocks; a Warden’s Bungalow; A Site Office and an accommodation Building for the Service Team.
All of these facilities meet current Health and Safety legislation and are in a good state of repair. The site operates an equal opportunities and disability access policy.
Operation and ManagementWalton Firs was owned and operated by The Scout Association for over 50 yers. During that time, it has proven to be much in demand and commercially viable.
During 2006, there were over 24,000 "camper days” at the site. Forward bookings for 2007 are strong and this figure is likely to increase.Its users include Surrey County Council, Schools, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, other youth bodies, organisations for the disabled and disadvantaged - as well as very many Scouts and Guides.
The Accounts show that the site has generated a profit in each of the last 15 years.
A wide range of excellent relationships have been developed between the site, users, governing bodies and relevant authorities - which are both proactive and supportive.
Ownership and Future
An important and urgent issue regarding the ownership and future of Walton Firs arose as a result of Scout Association policy and finances at national level.The Scout Association decided that its prime objective at national level is to concentrate its resources and efforts on four national “Centres of Excellence”. In order to pursue this objective, and in view of its limited financial resources, The Association decided to sell the other camp-sites in its portfolio. Walton Firs was one such site.
The Walton Firs Foundation was extremely keen that Walton Firs remains as a facility for young people in the Surrey area and continues to provide the opportunities and services that have proven to be so successful.
The Walton Firs FoundationThe Foundation was established as a Company limited by Guarantee (Number 5695208) and was registered as a Charity (Charity Number 1113830). Its objects are to secure and develop Walton Firs as a facility for young people in perpetuity and thereby guarantee the future of the site for this purpose.
The Foundation successfully raised £800,000 over two years in order to acquire the site.
We were delighted that Lady Baden-Powell kindly agreed to be the Founder Patron for the fundraising effort and many other Patrons generously lent their support to the Initiative.