Hello Everyone,

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and many of you across the district have been hugely busy planning exciting Christmas programmes for your young people ahead of a well deserved Christmas break. With that in mind, I welcome you to my December update, the final for 2019. 

As ever there’s loads of brilliant activities happening across the district with beavers, cubs, scouts and explorers gaining a huge number of skills for life. I’ve hugely enjoyed being out and about meeting lots of you over the last few weeks.

Our Thoughts and Prayers

Sadly, I'm starting by offering my deepest sympathies to Jonathan Chicken, whose mam passed away suddenly following a short illness on Thursday. Many people across the district will have had the privilege to meet Joan, and she will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her. Our thoughts and best wishes are with Jonathan, and his dad Brian at this very difficult time.

The funeral will take place on Monday 23rd December at St Andrews Methodist Church, NE37 2AS at 12.45 pm. Burial in Washington Cemetery at 2.00 pm, then afterwards back at St Andrews Church. 

Family flowers only; donations in lieu to Diabetes UK and St Andrews Church.

Jonathan and his Dad are hugely grateful for the messages of support and encouragement at this devastating time.

1st Houghton

Many of you will be aware that after almost 30 years at 1st Houghton, Paul and Di Sutherland have decided to step down as GSL and AGSL. We’re hugely grateful for their long service to 1st Houghton and that neither will be lost from scouting, with Paul Continuing as Nights Away Adviser and Training Adviser, and Di being part of the Beaver Leaders Team at Houghton.

A search team for a new GSL was appointed, and following that process, they recommended that Steve Gibson should be offered the role. Steve has been GSL at Herrington for a number of years but originally moved there from Houghton. Steve already has strong links with the group, and is looking forward to taking on the new role.

This will leave us with an opening at Herrington, and a new search team will be appointed in the New Year.

Herrington & Fatfield Cubs

After 21 years of involvement with 1st Herrington Cubs, John Edwards has announced his intention of stepping down as Cub Leader. John has done a fantastic job, and we are pleased that he will continue to support Herrington as group treasurer.

Helen Lyle will also step down from cubs after being involved for 9 years. We thank her for her dedication and service. Lynn Heckles her ACL will be stepping up to take on the Cub Leader role.

Both Herrington and Fatfield cubs would welcome some additional support as they transition 

District Treasurer

Sadly Tara Martin has now stepped down as district treasurer due to personal circumstances. The district treasurer role is much smaller than the group role, and if you know anyone who may be able to support us, please let me know. Full support will be given.


We’re currently updating our district website to give it a fresh look, up to date content and to make it much more mobile friendly. We’re looking for some high quality photos from across the district to show off everything scouting has to offer in Houghton-Le-Spring. If you’ve got any suitable images please send them to

Join Requests

Could you offer a new adventure in 2020? This year we have offered places to 359 new members in groups thanks to the district waiting list. Before you have a well-earned rest over Christmas, now is a great time to request extra members from to ensure you have full sections on your return in January.

Join Our Youth Commissioner Team

Are aged 18-24 and able to represent the views of young people across Houghton-Le-Spring District? If so please get in touch and join our enthusiastic bunch who plan to become the voice of our members across the district.

Training & Events

Keep your training up to date:

First Aid - 25th Jan (book here)

Module 1 - 5th February (book here)

Safeguarding Awareness -12th Feb - (book here)

District Events

We rounded off 2019 with some brilliant Christmas parties for Beavers and Cubs, as well as a  splashing time at Sunderland Aquatic Centre for Scouts. Total attendance was well over 100.

Keep your eye out for more fantastic district events coming in 2020 including Beavers Night at the Museum and District Cub Camp.

Co-op Local Cause - 4th Washington

4th Washington are a Co Op local cause and need your support. The group receives 1% of any spend on Co-Op own brand products if you nominate them as your cause. Click here to choose them as your cause and help scouting locally.

2019 has been a fantastic year in Houghton-Le-Spring District and on behalf of the District and our young people I'd like to say thank you for everything you’ve done for scouting this year. I wish you a very happy Christmas and I hope you enjoy a well deserved break over Xmas. 

Kind regards