An important announcement about our activity centres

Trustees have made a recommendation about our activity centres

18 May 2023

Girlguiding’s board of trustees regularly reviews strategy, risk and resources and has made an important decision about the activity centres Girlguiding owns. This is because of the investment needed, and the reduced number of members using them in the past decade.

They’ve made the recommendation to sell the 5 activity centres - Blackland Farm, Foxlease, Glenbrook, Waddow Hall and Ynysgain. The plan is that they keep operating until 31 December 2023, with all 2023 bookings and events going ahead as planned. 

Girlguiding’s trustees regularly review assets and operations and look at how to use our charity resources most effectively, so we can continue our core mission for all girls. This was a difficult discussion for them, but it is always important to be focused on our core mission, vision and purpose. For over 100 years, Girlguiding has been focused on what drives, challenges and excites girls. Adventure is a big part of that, and remains a priority for us. We will keep giving girls opportunities to experience adventure within their units, near their home, and in other locations and facilities. 

Why has this decision been made? 

Trustees considered the following when making the recommendation: 

  • Adventure is everywhere in Girlguiding, and we remain committed to giving all girls opportunities to experience adventures big and small. We will continue to develop events and activities like our new adventure badges, which celebrate when girls adventure and inspire others to have their own adventures. But these events and activities may need to continue at sites not owned by Girlguiding in future. 
  • The activity centres have been used by less than 10% of our membership over the past decade. We know most of our members are choosing to have adventures within their units, near their home, and in other locations and facilities.  
  • There has been historic underinvestment in the activity centres, and they have been running at an overall loss for some years, despite successful efforts to generate more business from different markets. The centres would need significant funding of over £20m in the coming years to be fit for future use. We cannot afford this level of investment. 

The trustees have made this recommendation to help financially secure the organisation, so that Girlguiding can continue to be a place where girls know they can do anything for years to come. The recommendation is that the 5 activity centres would be sold, with net proceeds going back into a designated investment fund to support Girlguiding activities, adventure for girls across the UK, and for a range of purposes to invest in the future of Girlguiding. We are open to options related to the sale of these properties. 

The activity centres have offered adventure, events, training and accommodation for over 100 years to Girlguiding members, schools, local businesses and families. You may be familiar with the history of the activity centres and have special memories of events, camps and adventures you’ve had at these sites. The recommendation is not a reflection on the activities and experiences both staff and volunteers have enabled over many years, and the trustees want to thank everyone who has been involved with the activity centres. 

What's next? 

This is a recommendation. Girlguiding will now enter a statutory process (required by law) with affected staff and with our employee representative group. We will make a further announcement in August about the outcome of this process and the sale of the activity centres.  

We are planning for all 2023 events (including Magic and Mayhem, Wellies and Wristbands, Fearless Fun and Sparkle and Ice) at our activity centres to go ahead, and that their doors remain open for anyone who wants to visit until 31 December 2023. 

Support for all Girlguiding members 

We know this announcement will be unexpected, and you may have questions. Please take time to read, absorb, and discuss with other members in the coming days and weeks.  

If you have further questions   

We want to make sure everyone is supported during this period.  

  • Girlguiding has set up a 24/7 special support team to answer your questions. Get in touch on [email protected] or 020 3839 8466. 
  • All calls and emails will be confidential, and the service will be open 24hrs, 7 days a week.  
  • Find out more, including how this team will handle personal data.  
  • Please also direct any social media enquiries you receive to the special support team. 
  • Read a child-friendly version of this announcement. It has been written to help explain this decision to girls who are Rainbow and Brownie age.