A Lancashire Girlguiding activity centre is to be sold much to the dismay of local members.

Waddow Hall, just outside of Clitheroe, is to be one of five centres to be sold off by the organisation.

Girlguiding, which is headquartered on Buckingham Palace Road in London, said five activity centres would be sold ‘because of the investment needed and the reduced number of members using them in the past decade’.

As well as Waddow Hall, they are Blackland Farm in Sussex, Foxlease in Hampshire, Glenbrook in Derbyshire and Ynysgain, on the edge of Snowdonia National Park.

The centres will continue until 31 December, with all 2023 bookings and events going ahead as planned.

Waddow Hall is located in idyllic Lancashire countryside and is said to be ‘a safe and secure’ haven for generations of young people who have used the venue for many years.

Local members were said to be upset on hearing the news this week.

READ MORE: Gallery of photos from Girlguiding events at Waddow Hall

Lynn, who wanted to be known by her first name, said many families had grown up with the Guides and had fond memories of Waddow Hall.

The 74-year-old said: “It is truly heartbreaking and awful.

“The centre has been used by generations for decades and people have been involved with their local guides for many years. 

“The worst thing is we don’t know what is going to happen.

“The centre is used for all sorts of activities from canoeing to orienteering. It has such a positive and wonderful effect on the young people who go there and have been there.

“I know a lot of people are quite shocked and upset at this. They put a lot of time and effort into the Guides and the centre has been a part of many people’s lives.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

The River Ribble runs alongside the activity centre which has been used by generations of families

In a statement to members Girlguiding said: “Adventure is really important to us, and we know most of our members are choosing to have adventures within their units or nearer home - the activity centres have been used by less than 10% of our membership over the past decade. 

“There has also been historic underinvestment in the activity centres, and they would need over £20m in the coming years. We cannot afford this level of investment. 

“We know many of you will have special memories of the events, camps and adventures you’ve had at the activity centres. 

“The recommendation is not a reflection of the incredible work of staff and volunteers at the centres – you’ve helped girls have the most amazing adventures and created wonderful memories.”

A petition has been launched asking for Girlguiding to reconsider selling the centres.

It says: “The five Girlguiding activity centres - Blackland Farm, Foxlease, Glenbrook, Waddow Hall and Ynysgain - have been offering outdoor and adventurous opportunities to Girlguiding members for many years - and whenever you visit one, you will always find new Guiding friends.

“The decision to sell the centres will affect not only a large number of members of staff, many of whom are Girlguiding volunteers in their own time, but also a huge number of Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Rangers, Leaders, Volunteers and Trefoil Guild members.”