It's out with the old. In the past year, two city centre County Headquarters hereabouts have gone on the market, and it's been announced that our national Training Centre won't re-open after Covid, and will instead be prepared for sale.
It would be easy to be sentimental about these grand and historic buildings which have been owned by Guiding for over seventy years. But although grand and historic and beautiful they were, for a charity they were also a bit of a problem - they were expensive to run, and expensive to maintain, and there were forthcoming large repair bills. They also had issues around accessibility - most of the rooms were not wheelchair accessible, and listed status made that impossible to rectify, even if there had been large amounts of funding available to do it.
Once these buildings sell, it will leave a large pot of money, but also a purpose to fulfil. The Guide Counties will still need a building to house their administrative functions, and access to meeting rooms for their committees. The loss of the training centre means the loss of the training centre itself and also the campsites and holiday houses - so there will need to be investment in alternative training resources and outdoor facilities.
In other words, the loss of these twentieth-century facilities provides an opportunity to plan and deliver twenty-first century facilities. We have a blank sheet of paper to consider what sort of premises a city County might want in fifty years' time. We can consider what training for Unit Leaders might look like in fifty years time, and plan facilities to meet that need. We can think about what Guiding residential events might be like in fifty years time, and consider what facilities that would entail.
Every end is a beginning - how can we utilise the opportunity of a fresh beginning to serve the members of tomorrow?