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Membership Growth & Retention


Girlguiding is continuing with its aim of ensuring that all girls (and adults) who wish to join Guiding can do so, but is also aware of the importance of retaining existing volunteers. It is recognised that "growth" happens at a local level and that volunteers need to feel supported in order to achieve this.

The term Growing Guiding is being replaced with Membership Growth which Girlguiding feels reflects the organisation and its aims more fully. A lot of the work already carried out under the remit of Growing Guiding is still relevant, however, and below are some articles and documents relating to this which you may find useful. Please ignore any contact details contained within the downloads and refer any questions to Clair Beaver at the Region Office - e-mail, or telephone 01722 343182.

There are still lots of girls who want to join and we need to look at what we can do to make this possible for them. Has joining become an obstacle course for parents? Do we just give up when we can't open more Units? and when we are able to offer places, are the girls getting the kind of modern Guiding experience they expect and that we should be delivering today?

Everyone has a part to play in this and the following four key challenges have been identified:

  • To remove any obstacles which prevent girls joining Guiding, so that everyone is found a place with the minimum delay. This includes removing the myths, legends, and outdated practice which can create unnecessary barriers, and embracing more flexible ways of enjoying Guiding.
  • To plan ahead so we can take Guiding into new communities and be ready for the increased interest from events and publicity.
  • To find new and innovative ways of delivering Guiding - what if we can't get more Units and more Leaders? Let's find other ways to offer Guiding with our current resources.
  • To ensure that every girl experiences good quality, girl-led, up-to-date Guiding, with fun, friendship, challenge and adventure.

The Region is encouraging and supporting Counties and Islands in finding new and innovative solutions to meet these challenges. Every year we hold a Conference to showcase new ideas and hear from Leaders, and girls, who have found new ways to enjoy Guiding beyond a traditional weekly meeting. We have also run very successful workshop days across the Region, challenging Leaders to take action at a local level.

Below you will find information about the Region Growing Guiding Strategy including presentations, FAQs on alternative formats, and Trainers' notes. If you have any questions, or need further help or information, please contact Clair Beaver at the Region Office - e-mail, or telephone 01722 343182.

Click here to download the Region's Growing Guiding Strategy as a Powerpoint.

Click here to download the Region's Growing Guiding Strategy as a PDF.

Click here for FAQs on how to offer Guiding in a different format.

Click here for the Trainers' Notes.

Click here to download practical steps to grow good Guiding.

Click here to go to the Girlguiding Website where you will find more information about Growing Guiding and Flexible Guiding.

In the meantime, do you have a (non-Guiding) friend who has a useful or unusual skill which they might like to share with your Unit? Or do you know someone who might have a little time they can offer to Guiding on an occasional basis? Why not invite them along to one of your meetings to see what Guiding is all about. They might enjoy it so much they'll want to join you more regularly.

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My Next Step

Guides and BrowniesMany thanks to the Brownies, Guides, Senior Section and Leaders who joined us for our pilot transition day, My Next Step, at The Mountbatten School, Romsey in Hampshire at the beginning of December.  As well as giving us the opportunity to make sure that the format of the day worked and to properly test the pack of activities and information which had been put together, the girls who attended were able to spend time with members of the next section and to find out more about what they could expect if they decided to move up.  The 45 Brownies in particular enjoyed the event and a number expressed an interest in moving onto Guides as a direct result of the day which was a fantastic result. 

While the girls were busy taking part in fun activities, the 25 Leaders received training on retention.  One Leader and her girls had travelled all the way from Cornwall and were hoping to run a My Next Step event locally.  Wiltshire South, Hampshire East, Hampshire West and Dorset were also represented, as well as Bristol & South Gloucestershire who were intending to submit an application for funding in order that they could deliver My Next Step within their Divisions.

Guides One Leader commented:

“Both the Brownies and Guides I took to this day had a great time and they loved the activities….  We definitely plan on running days like this in our County and the Guides that attended this day have already ask[sic] me if they can organise a taster evening for Brownies!”

On average, 70% of Brownies don’t become Guides and 85% of Guides leave Girlguiding before joining Senior Section.  We hope that as a result of this initiative we can help to turn these figures around.  The My Next Step pack is now available to Counties/Islands, Divisions and Districts so you can run your own transition day locally – contact Julie Brown at the Region Office for a copy of the pack and more information.


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Leadership Qualification Day

All our Members who are in the process of gaining the Leadership Qualification will shortly be invited to attend a Leadership Qualification Day on Saturday 5th May 2018 at Huish Episcopi Academy, in Langport, Somerset. You will have the opportunity to complete various sections of the Qualification, to have other parts of your Qualification signed off, or to meet with a Mentor and have a chat about your progress.

The day will cost £10.00 per head to include lunch and refreshments. The closing date for bookings is Friday 6th April 2018 and we would urge you to respond as soon as possible to be sure of a place. If you do not receive your invitation, please e-mail .

Mentors: Please encourage your Leaders in Training to attend and to book early.

The following is a write-up and feedback from our first Leadership Qualification Day...

“A fantastic event, very well organised, helpful and useful.  I enjoyed the day and getting to meet fellow Guiders very much.  I have some new ideas to take back to my Unit.  Thank you!”

Our first Leadership Qualification Day was held at Burgate School in Hampshire on Saturday 29th April 2017 and proved to be a great success with almost every County/Island across the Region being represented.  Approximately 130 Leaders in Training attended a range of workshops which they had chosen in order to complete missing modules from their Leadership Qualification.  They also had the opportunity to meet with Mentors and to have previously completed clauses signed off, and to get answers to any questions they had relating to the qualification process and the role of Mentors. 

“…can now complete my Leadership Qualification fairly easily as [I] think [I] just need to gather my evidence and then try find out who my Mentor is and how it works in my District.  Thanks again [for] a great informative day – having Mentors there plus sections was a great combination.”

“Although I had nearly finished my Leadership Qualification, it confirmed what I was doing was correct.  During lunch, although I could not have any modules signed off, I was able to have my folder looked through and [be] given advice on whether I had to add any more information.”

“Really helpful to be able to talk to a Mentor and get big chunks of the training signed off and to check that the evidence I had was enough.”

Mentor and Leader in TrainingWhilst it was fantastic to hear of one Leader in Training who had 30 clauses signed off in the one day, and another who after five years was finally able to go away needing only the final sign off from her County, it was worrying to discover that we have willing volunteers out there who are still striving to complete their Leadership Qualification without the support of existing volunteers within their Counties.  The Mentors who attended found the day “very insightful” and a useful indicator of how mentoring is working in some areas and not others.

There was a friendly and positive atmosphere to the whole day and several of those who attended have commented that they felt very “comfortable” to be there.  The day began with coffee and delicious cakes and the opportunity to find out more about the resources, badges and goodies on offer from the Region Shop, as well as the Bournemouth Guide Shop.  Sarah Wheeler and Liz Brown introduced the event, explaining how it had come about and what it was hoped would be achieved, and it was then down to business with a break for lunch which provided an opportunity to make new friends and share ideas and experiences. 

“Really great day, very helpful, trainers were really informed and provided quality and useful advice and information to further my knowledge and experience [in] running a Brownie Unit.”

 “The whole day was really well organised, everyone was friendly and sessions were excellent….  The sessions flew by and I knew that everything that was being taught to us was useful.  I have been… updating my accounts, sending a letter with branding, contacting the other Unit Helpers about exciting badges and topics to discuss at our next meeting and messaging new contacts I met….  I am a new Unit Leader in Training that unexpectedly took over a Rainbows group and I feel soo [sic] much more confident after today.”

Click here to download the Booking Terms and Conditions for Trainings, Activities and Events for Individual Participants.

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Bring a Friend

I Brought a Friend BadgeIf your Unit is looking to recruit more girls, we would like to offer you our help as part of a new scheme we are piloting. Bring a Friend will give the non-Guiding friends of your current Members the opportunity to see what Guiding has to offer and they will hopefully have such a great time they will be joining you as new Members!

Whether you run a Rainbow, Brownie, Guide or Senior Section Unit, you and your girls simply decide on a particular meeting to which you would like to invite your guests and we will supply you with Bring a Friend invitations for your girls to distribute. Those girls who bring a friend along to your Unit meeting will then receive an I Brought a Friend badge, and those that join you for the evening will receive an I am a Friend of badge.

I am a Friend BadgeIf you are interested in taking part, please send an e-mail to giving the name of your Unit and a contact telephone number. We will call you to talk about what you are planning for your Bring a Friend evening, and will then let you know whether your Unit is to be included in the scheme. If so, we will follow up later to find out whether your membership has increased. Looking forward to hearing from you!





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Membership Growth & Retention Conference

Our 2016 Membership Growth & Retention Conference was held at Longleat Center Parcs on Saturday 19th November. Please contact your County/Island Commissioner if you would like a copy of the notes and presentations from the day.

MG&R ConferenceWe returned to Longleat on Saturday 25th November for our 2017 Conference when Counties/Islands were invited to review the action plans they had created following the 2016 Conference and to think about the way forward.

As always, the Conference provided Delegates with an opportunity to meet with Members from around the Region and to share thoughts and experiences and seek help and advice with any issues which were of particular concern in their Counties/Islands. They were updated on the Leadership Qualification Day and My Next Step, and were able to choose three sessions to attend during the day from the following five topics:

Improve Access to Guiding - Looking at the new resources which are available to help with recruiting volunteers.

Our Plan - A toolkit to use when reviewing membership growth and retention locally

Resources for Girl Recruitment - Information about the new Unit in a Box and Assembly Toolkit.

Recruitment Bootcamp - How to plan next year's campaign.

Improving Transitions - Reducing the numbers of girls leaving before or at transition to the next Section.

If you would like more information about any of the topics covered at the Conference, please e-mail .

Our 2018 Membership Growth & Retention Conference will be held at Longleat Center Parcs on Saturday 17th November.


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Region's Growing Guiding Conference 2015

SpeakersThe Region's 2015 Growing Guiding Conference was another great success. One of the highlights of the day was hearing how Leaders who had attended the Region's Rainbow, Brownie and Guide Workshops had put into practise what they had learned. (Pictured from left to right) Wiltshire South's Louise Webber (Salisbury St Ann's Rainbows) and Kim Noad (1st and 2nd Bishops Canning Brownies) and Guernsey's Lisa Ayre and Claire Ferbrache (8th Capelles Guides) all gave really interesting presentations and hopefully in turn provided inspiration for others. Our two Development Workers, Viki Gardiner and Megan Crossley, provided lots of very useful information and suggestions on how to recruit new volunteers, and as always there were opportunities for delegates to participate in workshop sessions and gather in their County and Island groups to discuss how ideas could be taken back and put into use locally, as well as a chance to catch up with Guiding friends and share ideas informally. Those Units that have achieved notable success in Growing Guiding over the past year were recognised and presented with their Growing Guiding Certificates. A full list can be found below and our congratulations go to all the certificate recipients.

Click on the links to download the various handouts and presentations from the day.

Introductory Presentation
Salisbury St Ann's Monthly Rainbows' Presentation
Bishops Cannings Brownies' Presentation
Development Workers' Presentation
Development Workers' Handouts
Recipients of the 2015 Growing Guiding Certificate


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Rainbow, Brownie and Guide Workshops

The Region's Workshops for Rainbow, Brownie and Guide Leaders gave an opportunity for those attending to share ideas with each other and to start planning ways in which they could help to grow Guiding locally. The feedback forms which we received after the three Workshops included some very useful comments and observations: One Rainbow Leader urges others to "Keep chipping away at it, don't be afraid to try new ideas - they may work, they may not, but at least you've tried". Another says, "Don't be too discouraged by lack of interest/response from some other Leaders - do your best with those who DO want to engage". One Leader reports, "We have restarted our parent rota and have targeted who we ask and those who come seem to enjoy it so maybe we might find another regular helper." She goes on to explain that by making parents aware of the Unit's challenges regarding numbers, they are now seeing children being registered a lot earlier which helps with planning for the future." Other Leaders were investigating venues and costs associated with starting a Holiday Rainbow Unit.

Below are various documents and presentations which were used at the Workshops. Click on the links to view or download as required.

Rainbow Workshop

Rainbow Workshop Timetable
Rainbow Workshop Letter of Invitation
Growing Guiding Powerpoint Presentation for Warwick
Guidelines and Application: Growing Guiding Funding 2015
Growing Guiding Workshops - Paper for Warwick
Join Us PowerPoint Presentation
Growing Rainbow Guiding PowerPoint Presentation
Flexible Rainbow Guiding PowerPoint Presentation
Rainbow Workshop Scenarios
Rainbow Workshop Feedback
Rainbow Workshop Feedback Slip

Brownie Workshop

Brownie Workshop Letter of Invitation
Brownie Workshop Timetable
Brownie Workshop Introduction PowerPoint Presentation
Flexible Brownie Guiding PowerPoint Presentation
Brownie Adventure Training Plan
Growing Brownie Guiding PowerPoint Presentation
Brownie Workshop Feedback 1
Brownie Workshop Feedback 2
Brownie Workshop Feedback 3

Guide Workshop

Guide Workshop Letter of Invitation
Guide Workshop Timetable
Guide Workshop Feedback

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Membership Growth & Retention

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Girlguiding South West England is an operating name of The Guide Association South West England. Registered Charity No. 305951