A DECISION to sell off a Girlguiding activity centre in the New Forest has been met with outrage. 

Foxlease, a 65-acre site in Lyndhurst which has been providing a place for adventures for rainbows, brownies, guides, rangers and others since being gifted to Girlguiding in 1922, is among five locations set to be sold.

Trustees have made the recommendation to close Foxlease, as well as Blackland Farm in East Sussex, Glenbrook in Derbyshire, Waddow Hall in Lancashire and Ynysgain in Gwynedd, at the end of this year and put them on the market in a bid to secure the financial future of the organisation. 

Now a petition has been launched demanding a rethink and has already attracted 17,000 signatures. 

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Leaders, volunteers, parents and those involved with guiding over the years have reacted with fury at what they describe as a 'short-sighted policy decision'.

Wendy Ingle believes Foxlease 'belongs to all members, past, present and future', while Helen Anderton said: "I love Foxlease and so do my girls and parents. It was gifted to Girlguiding for the girls. To sell is wrong."

Daily Echo: Girls enjoying the facilities at Girlguiding's Foxlease in Lyndhurst

Christine Mundy described the decision as 'reprehensible behaviour' while Beverley Price recalled happy memories of camps at Foxlease and said it 'must be saved at all costs'.

Gemma Easton said: "It is questionable why they would even consider it when the site is used so frequently by so many and why they would need any sum of money from the sale of such a property.

"The board of trustees should be ashamed of themselves."

Daily Echo: Girls enjoying the facilities at Girlguiding's Foxlease in Lyndhurst

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A spokesperson for Girlguiding said: "For over 100 years, Girlguiding has changed as the lives of girls change. Girlguiding’s board of trustees regularly reviews strategy, risk and resources, in order to focus on the organisation’s core mission for all girls and to ensure it is financially sustainable for the future.   

"Following a comprehensive review, the board of trustees have made the recommendation to sell the five activity centres Girlguiding owns. Girlguiding is now beginning a period of consultation with staff who may be affected by any implementation of this recommendation.   

"We remain committed to giving all girls opportunities to experience adventure within their units, near their home, and in other locations and facilities."

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