Waterlooville Guides celebrate opening their new home

Crowds at Victorious   Picture: Habibur Rahman

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DELIGHTED Girl Guides have moved into their new headquarters after years of fundraising.

Waterlooville Guide Association moved into its £150,000 purpose-built new home in Walton Close, Waterlooville on Saturday.

ALL SMILES Havant mayoress Jackie Buckley opens the new Waterlooville Guiding Centre with help from Waterlooville Guides, Brownies and Rainbows. Picture: Mick Young (1331632-03)

ALL SMILES Havant mayoress Jackie Buckley opens the new Waterlooville Guiding Centre with help from Waterlooville Guides, Brownies and Rainbows. Picture: Mick Young (1331632-03)

It has taken nine years for the group to raise £49,000 to pay for the building, with the internal fittings being the last thing holding them back.

Nicky Bull, the headquarters project chairwoman, has been involved with the association for 30 years and gave a moving speech at the opening.

She told The News the group originally sold some land to start fundraising for the building, which is built on the old headquarters’ land.

‘But by the time we did all of that, the old hall was absolutely dilapidated, water pouring through the ceilings and damp walls,’ she said.

‘On dark nights we didn’t know if the lighting was going to light, or the heating, it was really that bad.

‘We fundraised to get enough for the outer shell and this building had been empty for about two-and-a-half years.

‘In that time it’s been a massive effort by everybody, guiders, parents and the girls to do more fundraising.’

As reported, Veolia Environmental Trust stepped in last year to provide £38,000 needed to finish it off.

Now the 120 girls in the Rainbows, Brownies and Guides have somewhere to meet – without their parents having to drive to different venues across Waterlooville.

Megan Avery, 11, a Year 7 pupil at Purbrook Park School started as a Rainbow, aged five.

She said: ‘I had the old one when I was a Rainbow. It has improved and I prefer this one to the old one. It’s more colourful and it’s well-presented.

‘It’s quite nice because you know it’s yours, you know it’s not being shared by schools as well.’

Megan was with her friend and fellow guide Lucy Oliver, 12, a Year 8 pupil at Horndean Technology College. She said: ‘It’s nice to know we’ve got a hall to go to instead of moving around everywhere.

‘It got annoying because all of our camp stuff is in here.

‘We had to load it up in the van to go on camp, it’s nice to have everything in one place.’

Mayor of Havant, Councillor Paul Buckley, opened the headquarters.

Fundraising continues to develop the outside area of the building.

The headquarters has two halls, much-needed storage and a kitchen.