A major project to build a new community home for Girlguiding in North Yorkshire has reached another landmark thanks to a four-figure grant from a regional property and renewable energy developer.
Girlguiding North Yorkshire West has been working on building a new Training, Activity and Residential Centre at Birk Crag on Cornwall Road in Harrogate for the last three years after the demolition of a previous building which had become unfit for purpose after 50 years of use.
Around £1.2m of the expected £1.6m total cost has been raised so far, with the organisation hoping to be able to open the first floor of the building later this year for use by both its members and people living in the local community.
And now, a £4,200 grant from the Banks Group’s Community Fund has enabled work to be completed on two new refreshment areas which visitors will be able to use to prepare drinks and snacks.
When it is completed, the fully accessible Centre will include a large hall which can seat up to 120 people, as well as an activity room, meeting room, dining room, small lounge, kitchen and a platform lift.
A dozen bedrooms will also provide residential accommodation for up to 40 people, and it will also host the Girlguiding county office and shop, while the side of the building will open up onto Birk Crag to allow outdoor activities to take place.
Girlguiding North Yorkshire West has around 1,500 members aged between four and 18 years old who live across Harrogate, Ripon, Skipton, Knaresborough and the surrounding communities.
Deborah Wynn, chair of the Friends of Birk Crag and project volunteer, says: “The new Centre is going to be a great place for both guides from across the district and local people to come together again, with the aim that it will become a hub for everyone in our community.
“It will offer our guides so many different opportunities for activities, events and residential stays, and we hope it will help to encourage more young people from across the region to find out more about everything that the organisation offers.
“As part of opening up the first part of the building, we’re going to need somewhere for visitors to make refreshments for themselves, and the funding we’ve received from the Banks Group has allowed us to get these facilities in place in plenty of time.
“We are looking forward to holding an open day later in the year and to showing local people what we’ll have to offer.”
The Banks Group is the company behind the Castle Hill residential development at Pannal Ash in Harrogate and recently opened a new office near Harewood House as part of its plans to increase its presence across the county.
It also operates four onshore wind farms across Yorkshire and is awaiting a decision from Leeds City Council on proposals for the Barnsdale solar energy farm to the south east of the city.
Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at The Banks Group, adds: “This is a landmark project for an organisation that reaches right across the local community and we’re very pleased to be helping them get ever closer to their final target.”
Anyone interested in applying for funding from the Banks Community Fund should first contact the fund manager via firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0191 378 6342 before applying for a grant to check if their group or project is eligible.