Girlguiding UK have recently announced plans to sell their five activity centres. With Waddow Hall, the picturesque 17th Century Manor House located within the Ribble Valley set to be one of those sold off by the organisation.
Since 1927 Waddow Hall has been managed by Girlguiding and has served as a rural retreat set in 180 acres of parkland overlooking the River Ribble. Over the years the site has offered residential visits along with an array of activities to groups of Brownies, Rainbows and Guides including kayaking, canoeing and ziplining.
The recommendation for closure by Girlguiding is being justified by arguments that there has been a reduction in use of the mentioned sites, along with a lack of funding for investment. However, given the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic along with the rise in the cost of living in recent years will have had on visitation numbers, the validity of this claim is being questioned by those opposed to the sale of the sites.
Girlguiding have announced that the centres will remain open as they are until 31st December, with all 2023 bookings and events going ahead as planned, however from January onwards as it stands guide groups are set to be left without any access to the sort of facilities on offer at Waddow Hall.
Commenting on the news Nigel Evans said:
“I am incredibly disappointed to hear the news that the Girlguiding board of trustees have made the recommendation to sell five of their activity centres including Waddow Hall within the Ribble Valley. Whilst I accept that there have been numerous financial pressures following the aftermath of Covid-19 and the rise in the cost-of-living, the opportunities and experiences that Waddow Hall offers the groups that visit are invaluable and a real asset to the local area.
“Waddow Hall is a well-loved and unique site which has for generations provided the opportunity for guide groups to come from all over the country to a safe rural environment bursting with outdoor activities and opportunities. I am deeply concerned over the sale proposals and fear that with no sites set to replace those being sold, losing such a valuable centre will consequently take away the unique opportunities that Waddow Hall has to offer.
“Having already been in contact with a number of my constituents who have outlined their shock and upset at the news, I have written to the board of trustees at Girlguiding UK to convey my great disappointment and strong belief that this recommendation for sale should be reconsidered. I sincerely hope that my concerns and those of so many others within the Ribble Valley and across the country are taken into account and we see a reversal of this decision.”