Where it all started…
Woodseats Venture Scout Unit was established in 1967 (and in 2017 celebrated its 50th Anniversary) as the only Venture Scout Unit in the Sheffield Sheaf District, which was rare as most Venture Units were attached to Scout Groups.
However, as the founding members saw the opportunity to run a decent-sized Unit for the whole District and thought it would be better than having several Units with only a handful of members.
The great thing about this decision was that every Scout member in the Sheaf District knew that one day they would end up at Woodseats, doing the sorts of crazy things they saw Unit members doing!
Ventures, Explorers and The Network
In 2001 when the Scout Association decided to alter the dynamics of the sections by bringing the age groups down, they replaced the Venture Scouts section with Explorers and the Network.
The only way we could continue to run as before was to set up a new Scout group that had no Beavers, Cubs & Scouts but an Explorer Unit, meaning all the Scouts across Sheaf District would move on to Woodseats when they got to 14.
It’s not the official way of doing things but it works – it’s the ‘Woodseats Way’!
Our bus, Spiney Norman. One of the founding members of the Unit was a fan of Monty Python, and there began the underlying theme of the Unit, our hedgehog logo whose spikes cleverly reveal the lettering ‘WVU’ was named after a character from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Spiney Norman.
We also named our infamous bus after him! Our bus is a 1954 Bedford ex-RAF vehicle which has taken Unit members all over the world on countless trips and adventures and is still running around today! We acquired the bus in the ’70s and painted it blue and yellow (which became our colours) with the spiney logo on the sides.
We named it Spiney Norman and it’s known by every member who has passed through the Unit in the last 35 years.
The Sheffield Scout Post was a fundraising service that started at Woodseats Venture Unit following a change in the law in 1981 which stated that charities could set up their own postal service. Unit leaders Pete Stevenson, Roger Legge and John Hall decided that this could be a great way of fundraising for the Unit.
The service was a massive success and the funds raised went towards buying our HQ on Helmton Road where we still are today. After 20 years of members and supporters giving up their evenings and weekends to sort through masses of post and deliver it through all of South Sheffield and Dronfield (and often as far as Stocksbridge and Mansfield!), the workload became too much for us to handle and the service ended there.
The Unit made enough to keep running them the whole time and are still living off the healthy bank balance this provided us with today in 2021.
Woodseats Venture Unit is renowned for starting the Scout Post.