Future Uncertain For Wildlife Trust’s Woolpack Centre

Woolpack Volunteer Centre. Photo by IoS Wildlife Trust

Woolpack Volunteer Centre. Photo by IoS Wildlife Trust

The future of the Wildlife Trust’s Woolpack Volunteer Centre is uncertain.

The accommodation, which was created in the year 2000 within the early 20th century naval gun battery, was deemed unsuitable for occupation last month following a leak.

Trust Manager Sarah Mason tells Radio Scilly that it won’t be habitable this year and island builders have been contacted for quotes to see whether fixing it is feasible or affordable.

The Wildlife Trust has relied heavily on the use of unpaid helpers since its formation.

The Trust’s own figures claim that their contribution has equalled 7,350 hours of free labour each year.

And the Woolpack Centre hasn’t just been used by students. Volunteers from RNAS Culdrose were there recently and in spring 2013, the Natural History Museum used the battery as a base for their study of the islands.

It’s also been used by an astronomy club.

The Woolpack Centre was championed by former Trust Director Anthony Gibson who took on the mostly subterranean space from the former resident Dick Henry.

It can host up to 13 people and includes shower, cooking and bunk bed spaces.

Thousands of pounds of grant money has been spent on it and earlier this year the Trust announced that they’d revamped the centre for 7 volunteers to live in.

But one of the problems is a lift shaft, which provides a conduit for rain.

Sarah Mason says a group from Harpers Adams College, set to arrive at the end of this month, have been advised and have found alternative placements.

The Trustees are likely to decide the fate of the facility during their meeting at the end of September.

That private session will be held after the members’ AGM, which is scheduled for 3pm next Thursday in the Church Pavilion.