A ‘devastated’ Scout group was facing a bleak Christmas after being dropped from a garden centre’s grotto - but then a Christmas miracle happened.
Wyevale Garden Centre, which runs Blooms Garden Centre on the Straight Mile, near Rugby, decided to out-source this year’s grotto helpers, but said the Scouts were welcome to use the centre for other fundraisers, such as bag packing.
Last year a record 2,100 children visited the grotto, with the Scouts gaining £2.40 from each £7 entrance fee.
The grotto funds, along with bucket collections, amounted to £7,000 of funding for the Scouts, an amount that would be hard to find elsewhere, said Tony Marsella, the 5th Rugby (Newbold) Scout Group Leader.
He added: “This was a heartless decision.
“All we can surmise is that the sub-contracted company saw the fantastic results over the last few years and decided that it was one that was worth taking over.
“The Scouts are devastated they won’t be doing it again this year.”
But thanks to kind-hearted staff at Cawston Christmas Trees, on Coventry Road, Cawston, the Scouts will be helping children visit Santa at their new igloo and will be picking out Christmas trees for families.
Mr Marsella said the Scouts were ‘overwhelmed’ with the support. Entry costs £6 and places can be booked online or paid for on arrival. Go to www.cawstonchristmastrees.co.uk
A Wyevale Gardens Centre’s spokesperson said: “We take our role as a member of the local Rugby community very seriously.
“We always host Christmas family events within the garden centre and the involvement of the local Scout group is something that we and our customers appreciate and enjoy.
“This year is no different, but instead of running the grotto we have asked the Scout group to get involved in different activities.
“We know how important fundraising is to them and we’re keen to make sure we support them as best we can.”