A GROUP of Scouts in Troon have appealed for help from the public as they launch a fund-raising bid to buy their hall from the council.

The 28th Ayrshire (Troon) Scouts say they "desperately" need the public's help to keep the vital community facility open.

The former youth centre in St Meddans Street has been run by the group since 2014 - and is used not just by the Scouts themselves but by a wide range of community groups.

But they say they can no longer afford to meet the maintenance and running costs of the building - and that buying it from South Ayrshire Council is the only option.

Craig Smith, chair of the Troon Scouts trustees, revealed: "Ten years ago, we agreed to take over the old Youth Centre - which was in danger of closing - from South Ayrshire Council (SAC) on a full repair and maintenance basis.

"Our volunteers have turned it into a vibrant community hub which is home to a variety of groups including Tai Chi, Irish dancing, yoga, salsa, judo, art classes, fitness classes, The Creation Station, Schools Out, SAC Mental Health Drop-in Group, Skills Development Scotland, Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Rangers and Explorers.

Ayr Advertiser: Troon Scout Hall

"In addition to regular groups, we have hosted international visitors, birthday parties, car boot sales/bazaars, race nights, rugby/football training and first aid courses.

"To date we have invested over £50,000 of our own raised funds into the fabric and upkeep of the building.

"However the buildings, particularly the rear one, require a lot of maintenance and repair work to keep them operational, with running costs rapidly increasing."

The group says that based on original figures supplied to them, they have saved the council more than £750,000 in running costs since taking over the operation of the building.

But they've warned that rising operating costs mean that leasing the building is no longer a viable option.

Craig warned: "We can no longer attract the level of funding required as lease holders to run and maintain both buildings and grounds. The income from our tenants and group fundraising are simply not enough.

"Essentially we need to own the premises.

"SAC have put a community value on it of £45,000, which we need to secure ownership.

"We have managed to raise a small proportion so far but now really need the help of the wider community."

If you're able to, and wish to, make a donation you can scan the QR code below or visit justgiving.com/campaign/28thAyrshireScoutCentreCampaign.

Ayr Advertiser: QR code

Craig added: "Once we own the premises, we can throw every effort into making this a flagship facility that Troon can be proud of, managed by our Scout Group but very much a community asset.

"Making the facility as available as we can is vital to the success of the project.

"Should you wish to know more details on our plans, would prefer to donate via a different route or perhaps have information on grants and funding opportunities please email us at groupchair@28thayrshire.org.uk."