Mayor Squirrels away at new Scout group

MAYOR of Tameside, Cllr Janet Cooper, was taken back to her childhood as she welcomed the borough’s first group of Squirrels.

7th Stalybridge Scouts have become the first to incorporate the latest initiative brought in by the organisation.

Aimed at children between four and six-years-old, Squirrels go below Beavers, which then leads to Cubs and Scouts.

And Cllr Cooper, herself a former Brownie in Dukinfield, was on hand as the latest intake came into the scout hut off Huddersfield Road.

She even got involved with the main business of the day, making s’mores by toasting marshmallows over a candle.

Bringing in Squirrels is the latest innovation by 7th Stalybridge, which has never been afraid to bring in new things.

Mayor Janet Cooper joins the Stalybridge Squirrels

And group scout leader Nick Ledger believes it can help young children see how to lead in later life.

It was obviously eagerly awaited as 16 children attended at the hut, which is now home to 138 members.

He said: “In this area, we’re classed as IMD2, which means it’s regarded as quite deprived. So this means a lot to the young people from here.

Mayor Janet Cooper with Harry Sullivan

“We’re offering them opportunities they wouldn’t normally get in life.

“A Squirrels session will start with a song where we introduce everybody, then there’s a reading time, with a lot of meaning behind the book that’s chosen.“Then there are activities and ordinarily there’s badge work. Squirrels was previously known as Hedgehogs and the name changed only days before our first session.

“We really are right at the forefront of Squirrels and a Scout group is only as good as its leaders. We have a family together that’s tremendous.

“We were the first to come back after the Covid-19 lockdown, we’re the first to introduce this. We do like to lead the way rather than follow.

“That’s just because of the leaders’ personalities.”

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