Development project at Fota Scout Centre in memory of Johnny BrennanJohnny Brennan first camped at Fota in 1960 , that began a Lifetime involvement and love for Fota ,he was a member of the management Committee, developed a Compass trail, an Adventure trail in historic Cobh for patrols , led hundreds of Campfires there and was often to be seen roaming the woods there. He promoted Fota far and wide.
In his Memory the Brennan family have been undertaking a fundraising drive for Fota Development, with particular emphasis on a Campers Kitchen and Wash up facility.
Veronica Brennan, wife of the late Johnny is joining the first trip of Scouts from Ireland to B.P. peak in the Himalaya’s next October. Veronica having paid her Fare already has set up a go Fund Me page to obtain sponsorship for the trip. All money contributed will go to the development of a Kitchen and wash up facility separate to the Cottage .This is a major undertaking by Veronica and of which we feel Johnny would be justly proud.
Fota Scout Centre is situated about 15 Km from Cork and 6 Km from Cobh on the Fota Estate.
It consists of a Cottage, sleeping 14, with Kitchen, Dining Area, The Cottage Campsite suitable for 70 campers, the Avenue Campsite suitable for 30 Campers, Campfire Circle, Toilets and Showers and Disabled facility. The Centre enjoys the use of a large area of Woodland for Activities, is situated 100 Metres from the Railway, with Trains to Cork and Cobh every hour and near Fota Wildlife Park
Scouts first camped in the Fields at Fota in the 1930’s by kind permission of the Owners Major and Mrs Bell.
In 1975 the Estate was purchased by University College Cork and Ken Williams, for many Years the organiser of Events at Fota was able to obtain a Lease of the Cottage and present Centre , he became Camp Chief and ran the Centre then Classified as a National Campsite by SAI up to the time of his Death in 1998. It was developed at that time from a derelict , overgrown jungle into a pleasant Campsite and Cottage.
The following Years were difficult, no new camp Chief was appointed and the Centre was kept going By Ada and Bob Thompson of 4th Cork Cobh Sea Scout Group. The Cottage site was virtually destroyed by a construction Company in error, which resulted in closure for 18 months and substantial financial loss.
The Estate in the meantime passed first to the Fota Trust and then to Irish Heritage Trust, both of whom have been very good to Scouting and we have a long lease.
In 2004 Scouting Ireland came on the scene and it was decided by interested Leaders from Cork and Cobh, it was high time to do something about Fota, a Management Committee was set up , for a time nobody wanted to own Fota, but eventually the Centre was placed as a County Campsite in Cois Laoi county.
The Centre was then badly in need of a makeover and development has been ongoing since.
The Cottage has had the Roof, Windows and Doors replaced, new Kitchen installed, new Bunks, Electrics and Heating. Outside, there are new Toilets and Showers, A Patio area, Activity Store, Campfire Circle, Fencing, Flagpoles , Leaders Room and Waste storage Bay. None of this could have been undertaken without the help of Grants from Cork Co Council, Cork Education & Training Board, Scouting Ireland and Donations received.
At the same time extra Volunteers came on board, the countless hours put in by the 9 members of the management Committee, 16 Camp Wardens, 7 Members of the Maintenance team who work one Day a week all Year round and the 4 members of the Activity Committee, have ensured that high quality is maintained at the Centre
The result of all this is a large increase in use by Scout and Guides, .In 2007 we had 17 Groups visit, in 2016 we had 60 with very strong Bookings for the current season, from Day visits to Summer Camps .
We still can accommodate more Groups; however we need to add to our facilities.
By far, the most urgent request we get from our Visitors is for a second Kitchen and wash up Area .This has now become our Priority and so the we hope the present fundraising campaign will provide the badly needed funds to complete this over the next year.
Besides this, completing our Toilet and Shower block by roofing it over, installing a small office and access corridor, a Container to keep our Maintenance materials and use as a workshop, will free up further development of our Activity Store, which can also be used as a wet weather shelter. Access Paths and Ramps and in the longer term replacement of our sleeping Accommodation complete our present development plans.
Enhancement of our Activities and Programme is ongoing.
Fota Scout Centre has come a long way since 1975, but it must always look to the future to provide for the ever growing numbers of Scouts and Guides and the increasing demand for better facilities and more Activities.