The Minister met with Jonathan Gracey, Scouts NI CEO and was given a tour of the activity centre before planting a tree to celebrate NI’s centenary, within the activity centre’s grounds, which are leased to the organisation by his Department.
The Minister said: “My Department continues to support the good work of Scouts NI and I am pleased to be here to mark this centenary year for Northern Ireland with the planting of a tree. The oak tree has been provided by the Forest Service.
“Northern Ireland has changed immeasurably in the last century. The surge of IT, technology, innovation and research has progressed and changed our economy at a lightning speed. From agriculture, forests, fishing, environment, veterinary services to education, my Department has a presence that stretches across the whole of Northern Ireland and supporting all of the 1.8 million people who live here."
Scouts NI help over 10,000 young people in Northern Ireland enjoy new adventures; to experience the outdoors; interact with others, gain confidence and have the opportunity to reach their full potential. The Crawfordsburn Scout Centre specialises in outdoor pursuits for young people, youth groups, clubs and schools.
Jonathan Gracey, Scout NI CEO said: “We were delighted to welcome Minister Poots to Crawfordsburn Scout Centre and appreciate his support for Scouts NI and the wider voluntary youth service. Given that we have exciting plans for the further development of the facilities that are available for use by youth and community groups in Northern Ireland and beyond, it provided us with a timely opportunity to brief the Minister on how the site has been built up and utilised over the past 70 years, how the COVID-19 pandemic has directly impacted the centre and how we hope to recover in the coming months and years.”