Birk Crag is the residential Centre for Girlguiding North Yorkshire West County (NYW), situated on the edge of Harrogate.
The New Building
After over 50 years of continuous use, 10+ years of planning and consultation with members and other user groups, led the County to appoint a Project Manager and form a Steering group to move the project forward, backed by the enthusiasm of our members.
Plans have been drawn in conjunction with our members, Project Manager and a+j architects to create a fully accessible, environmentally friendly, cost efficient centre, built from as much locally sourced materials as possible. Planning Permission was granted in September 2016, fundraising then started in earnest and building work started in Spring 2019.
The project has been divided into phases with work ongoing/completed on the site entrance, store, drainage, a large amount of groundworks and in May 2020 the building is nearly watertight. Work is underway installing the internal studding walls, to be followed by fitting out which will turn the building shell into our new home.
The new Centre will include a large Hall seating a maximum of 120 which will be able to be divided into 2 rooms in due course, Activity Room, Meeting Room, Dining Room, small Lounge, Kitchen, County office to support our members and Girlguiding shop together with 12 bedrooms providing residential accommodation for 40 people.
Outside there will be grass and campfire/learning areas, woodland trail, improved access and parking. The Centre will be available for use by Girlguiding locally and further afield, Scouting, other organisations and local community groups. View the plans
The Previous Building
The previous building dated from 1967 and had been in continuous use since then, being used by Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers aged from 5-18 years, their leaders, supporters, helpers, Trefoil members and friends together with the wider community most weekends and many evenings.
After over 50 years continuous use and despite ongoing maintenance, the building was no longer fit for purpose, did not meet current legislation and had reached a point where repair and renovation was no longer viable.
Running costs were also affected by poor insulation and building materials. As a result, we were forced to close the residential areas, followed by other areas and sadly the building was demolished in September 2018.
1956 Yorkshire Central Girl Guides chosen as recipients of Leeds & Harrogate Rotary Clubs former ‘children’s holiday home’ at Birk Crag, Harrogate, together with the land surrounding it.
1957 One new dormitory erected, and improvements made to remaining huts to provide the first County Brownie Pack Holiday House. Opening ceremony June 29 by the County President HRH The Princess Royal.
1963 Sadly the House was destroyed by fire 13/14 December.
1967 Completely new building erected with help from the Department of Education & Science and all members of the County. Opened June 10th as County Training Centre and Brownie Pack Holiday House by the County President, Miss Anne Shepherd OBE.
1994 Friday 8 April Birk Crag was re-opened by Mrs Jane Garside JP, Chief Commissioner of the Guide Association and the Commonwealth on behalf of North Yorkshire West Guide Association.