THANKS to a £200 grant from West Devon Borough Council, 1st North Tawton Squirrels were able to enjoy a truly amazing first birthday at the Waie Inn, Zeal Monachorum on Thursday evening, April 27.

After spending some time in the Soft Play area they all piled into another room to tuck in to a tea of chips, beans, peas, pizza, chicken nuggets and burgers plus soft drinks.

Then a large cake in the shape of a sweatshirt iced in the Squirrel red with the North Tawton neckerchief of navy and white was cut, everyone being able to have a slice.   They all went home with a red balloon and a specially made first birthday badge.

Squirrels began last April for children aged four to six when they can go on up to Cubs.  Squirrel Leader Rowena Ford said: “The Squirrel programme is designed to support informal learning and help four and five year-olds catch up. 

“It’s about promoting key skills such as working together, communication and language as well as creativity and community awareness.”

Among those at the birthday party was Phil Roberts, Group Scout Leader and Cub Leader, as well as Toni Steward, Squirrels Leader, plus former Squirrels who had gone up to Cubs.  

Rowena added that there was room on the waiting list now that some have gone up.  She added that it was worth putting a child’s name on the list even if it was only a year old.

But she added: “We desperately need more Leaders and helpers.  They do not have to be available for everything, we can work around that. 

“The more people we have, the more flexibility we have.  If someone can only do once a month, fine, so long as we know.”

Rowena added that during the pandemic, various Groups closed temporarily and have not restarted, among them Lapford, Sandford had lost its Beavers and Cubs, South Zeal had lost Beavers.  “We are so glad we have such a strong Leadership team and were ale to do some things together then,” she said. 

Squirrels meet every Thursday evening at North Tawton Rugby Club.  “People do not realise that being a Leader can be really good fun,” added Rowena.  “You can get to places you probably would not have the chance to ordinarily.

“The sort of thing is taking our Beavers to see the real beavers and you do not usually get that as an individual. 

“You can really see the difference in the children who come to Squirrels, it is lovely to see a child coming out of their shell, learning team work and helping each other. 

“Without the West Devon Borough Council grant we would not have been able to afford to come here,” she added.

The birthday cake had been made by Michelle’s Creations of Spreyton.  It was cut by Squirrel Leader Toni Steward.  

Anyone interested in knowing more about helping or being a Leader should please contact Rowena at:  [email protected] .