Girlguiding South West England
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Where Guiding Goes On
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Tell Us About It!

This is your Website and we need you to help us keep it interesting, informative and relevant to all Sections. Tell us what you are up to and send in some photographs. If it's the thought of writing the story which is putting you off, let us write it for you. Give a brief outline of what it's about, who was involved and when and where the event took place and send it in with three or four images which we can use with the story. jpegs are best, but we can work with png or even cut and paste an image from a word document. Attach your photographs to an e-mail with the story, or put everything in the post with some photographs and we can scan them. If you can't provide any pictures for us, we can probably find an image to accompany the story so there are absolutely no excuses! Any questions, give Susie a call on 01722 343187 or e-mail We look forward to hearing from you!

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Two Pages Added to Website!

To help you find the information you are looking for more easily, we have created two separate pages on our Website - "Useful Downloads" and "Resource Downloads".

Click here to go to the Useful Downloads page where you will find advice on such things as supporting Members with disabilities, activities for Rainbows and Brownies, information on grants, awards, the region logo, and the adult training qualification, as well as press release templates and walking scheme route cards.

All our downloadable resources are now available on one page. Click here to go to the Resource Downloads page and see what's on offer! This is where you will find the Night's Away Record Sheet.


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New International Badges!

We have added an exciting new range of international badges to the online shop, and we also have a new International Opportunities badge which will only be given to Members attending a Region INTOPS and will not be available to buy - click here to find out more about future INTOPS weekends for adults and girls.

Start counting up how many international nights away you have joined us for since 1st January 2017. The following five badges are all available from the online shop priced at 75p plus postage and packing:

International 3 Nights Away BadgeInternational 5 Nights Away BadgeInternational 10 Nights Away BadgeInternational 20 Nights Away BadgeInternational 30 Nights Away Badge

We also have badges to record your visits to the Girlguiding World Centres. These are priced at £1.00 each plus postage and packing:

Our Cabana BadgeOur Chalet BadgePax Lodge BadgeSangam Badge

To complete the collection we also have badges to record your visits to Disneyland and an international camp. These are also priced at £1.00 plus postage and packing:

Disneyland BadgeInternational Camp Badge

All the new international badges measure approximately 5.5cm x 6.5cm. Click here to go to the online shop and place your order today!

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Devon Guide Takes Part in She Can Be

Guides and Senior Section at the Mansion HouseDescribed as "Girlguiding meets 'The Apprentice'", She Can Be was a joint venture between Girlguiding and the Lord Mayor's Appeal, designed to show 14-18 year old members of Guides and Senior Section that they can be the business leaders of tomorrow. Chloe, one of the Region's Guides, travelled from Devon with her Mum who is a Leader, in order to take part in this "one of a kind event".

Having gathered at the Mansion House in London, the young women spent a day visiting leading companies and taking on team challenges inspired by the world of business. They also had the opportunity to meet inspirational women and to ask questions about working in the City before joining with senior business leaders in pledging actions that will make the City more accessible to young women in the future.

Click here for a report on the day and more photographs from Chloe and Lorna.

Thanks to Carole Pennington for drawing this story to our attention.

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1st Wyke Regis Rainbows Raise Money for the Alzheimer's Society

RainbowsWell done to 1st Wyke Regis Rainbows from Weymouth in Dorset who have raised £250 for the Alzheimer's Society.

The Unit entered the charity Christmas Tree Festival at the Hope United Reformed Church in Weymouth where their tree was decorated with baubles and mini trees made by the Rainbows. They also took part in a challenge over the Christmas holidays to sell some of the Alzheimer's Society's Forget-Me-Not badges.

The Unit's Leader, Jane Macleod, sent in this story and lovely photograph and told us, "The money raised went well beyond what I thought we would raise".


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Region Members Recognised in New Year's Honours

LouiseCongratulations to Sue Coates and Louise Dembny who have been recognised in the Queen's New Year's Honours.

Louise (pictured right - at summer camp on Brownsea Island last year) has been awarded a BEM (British Empire Medal) "For public and charitable services". She is currently a Leader with 1st Nailsworth Guides, 1st Nailsworth Rainbows, and 1st Nailsworth Senior Section Unit and during her 27 years as a volunteer has also been District Commissioner for Nailsworth Valley District in Gloucestershire. The news of her award came as a total surprise:

"I was totally shocked and thrilled when I found out but the most difficult thing was keeping it a secret, especially as it arrived in a big envelope with 'Cabinet Office' written all over it"!

Sue CoatesSue Coates (pictured left), who is Vice President of Girlguiding North Wiltshire, has been awarded an MBE for services to Girlguiding. She first joined in 1948 as a seven year old Brownie and went on to be a Guide and Air Ranger before becoming a Leader, Mentor, District Commissioner, County Commissioner, County Trefoil Guild Chair and President during her 69 years in Guiding.

Sue told us:

"When I opened the letter in November I was stunned and couldn't believe this was happening to me. I passed the letter to my husband to check I was reading it correctly.... Throughout my Guiding I have always wanted to do the best for the girls and support the Leaders as I appreciated the help I received from my Leaders when in the Brownies, Guides and Air Rangers."

She added:

"There are so many Leaders out there, so to be awarded an MBE for doing something I enjoy is an honour."

Click here to go to the Useful Downloads page and find out how you can nominate someone for a National Honour.

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Region Compass Award Presentation

Compass Award RecipientsWe were thrilled to host our annual Compass Award Presentation at The White Hart Hotel in Salisbury on Saturday 23rd September.  Twenty-five amazing ladies and their guests were welcomed by Carole Pennington who told them, “Be very proud that you are here today, somebody has seen that you do something extra…. Thank you for everything you do and be proud of all that you have achieved”.

It was an afternoon of celebration and there were lots of smiles and a few tears as the citations were read and each Award was presented.  It wasn’t possible for us to talk to everyone, but the citation for Joy Prince from Cornwall opened with the line, “Joy’s dedication to Girlguiding is second to none” and we wanted to find out a bit more about this Leader who had “brought Rainbows, Brownies and Guides to her village in Cornwall… then went on to open a Senior Section Unit as well”!

Five intervieweesJoy is currently a Brownie Leader and Assistant Leader with the Senior Section.  She told us that whilst living in Coventry she had been involved with running Units in all four Sections and had made up her mind to give up Guiding when she moved to Cornwall.  But, she says, “there was nothing on offer for children in the village”, so she opened a Rainbow Unit and then a Brownie Unit and followed this with Guides and Senior Section!  Joy is keen for the girls to be actively involved in village life and to be seen at village events.  She  organises litter picking and bulb planting in community areas and makes sure the respective Units receive credit and publicity for what they do.  Joy works hard to recruit new Leaders and she told us she believes people are more likely to volunteer when they hear all the good things the girls are involved with. 

Another Award recipient was Jackie O’Connell and we heard that she is:

“A passionate Brownie Leader working with a Unit in Hampshire North where many of the girls come from Army and Air Force families.  Despite the challenges associated with leading a Unit in this setting, Jackie has managed to maintain a healthy and successful Brownie Unit”.

Much of Jackie’s success is thanks to her calm and positive attitude.  (Jackie is a firm believer that unless there is a rule which says you can’t do something, you can!)  Jackie explained that many of the girls who join her Unit have been Brownies in other parts of the country, or even in other parts of the world and they are often used to meetings being run in a different way.  It is important that they are made to feel welcome and helped to settle in as quickly as possible and Jackie says her Brownies do seem to accept the new arrivals quite readily.  She thinks this is in part because the girls in her Unit attend lots of different schools. 

By comparison, the membership of 1st Tetbury Brownies in Gloucestershire is very local and the Unit’s Leader, Charlotte Reid, knows a lot of the families in the community.  According to her citation:

“She has managed to include many girls who would not have otherwise attended without her encouragement.  She is a very enthusiastic fundraiser, ensuring that the girls can participate in meetings, wear the correct uniform and go on outings regardless of their financial circumstances”.

Charlotte has “built up a fantastic rapport” with her girls’ parents and she says they are happy to come forward and talk to her if they need help.  The girls in the Unit are very involved in all the fundraising which takes place and in July they held a big family disco which raised £377 for the Unit’s new building fund.  We did ask whether the good relationship Charlotte has with the parents means that she receives offers of help from them with running the Unit but she told us this isn’t really necessary as she runs the Unit with her Sister, Auntie and two Assistant Leaders. 

Iris Hodgson became a Unit Helper in 1978 in Shirley, Hampshire West, when her daughter joined Brownies and Iris was asked if she could help.  Her Husband was in the Police and working shifts and Iris couldn’t commit to being a Leader, but helped every week whenever possible and fitted this around bringing up her four children.  She told us, “I absolutely love it” and clearly the feeling is mutual; Iris’ citation reads, “She is a positive influence and an inspiration to adults and girls alike” and continues:

“Rainbows and Brownies love her and she is a calming influence on any girls that are feeling upset on sleepovers or holidays.  Iris will sit with them and teach them knitting or other craft activities to take their minds off their homesickness”. 

Tracia Reynolds is the Leader of 3rd (Jersey) West Rainbows:

“She has recently addressed her long waiting list, by starting another back to back session at her Rainbow Unit, so that girls will not miss out on joining the Unit, and thus ensuring membership growth in Jersey”.

Tracia says she has had a problem finding helpers, but that a parent rota “works most of the time” and her Young Leaders were back from university at the end of the Summer Term.  She told us the secret is to be flexible and understanding.  Tracia’s Rainbows feed into four Brownie Units so finding places for the girls in the next Section isn’t an issue and her citation says:

“She always ensures that her girls are given every opportunity to attend events, including events with the local Brownie Units, to ensure her Rainbows moving up are comfortable and know some of the girls and Leaders before making the transition”. 

Tracia told us that two of the local Brownie Units in particular are very keen to get involved with the Rainbows and they recently held a joint Scottish Night with a ceilidh band “with lots of drums and lots of noise which the girls loved”!  She says the Brownies are happy to return to Rainbows and often spend a whole meeting with the younger girls, passing around their sashes during circle time for the Rainbows to see and joining in with the craft and other activities.

Compass Award BadgeJoy, Jackie, Charlotte, Iris and Tracia, and all the other very deserving Compass Award recipients, repeatedly told us that they don’t do anything special or anything more than anyone else.  So that means there must be hundreds of people within our Region who also deserve to be recognised for what they do for Guiding and you need to tell us about them! Award nominations need to be with us by the end of December for consideration at the next Awards Sub-committee and you can find out more information about all the Awards which are available from the Region and Girlguiding by clicking here

Please don’t leave it to someone else to say thank you!

Pictured left to right in the second photograph are Joy Prince, Jackie O’Connell, Charlotte Reid, Iris Hodgson and Tracia Reynolds. Many thanks to Russell Sach for taking the photographs for us.

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UK Parliament Week is Voted a Winner!

1st Tidworth Brownies1st Tidworth Brownies were one of approximately 500 Units across the Region who took part in UK Parliament Week in 2017 and enjoyed the free Resource pack which they received upon registering.

We are grateful to all the Unit Leaders who participated and helped to make UK Parliament Week such a great success. We were one of six Girlguiding Regions to be involved and had the most Units taking part. Yet again you have helped us put Girlguiding South West England on the map!

Click here to find out about UK Parliament Week 2018 - there will be new challenges and a new badge this year!

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...Across the Region and by All Sections!

Guides3rd Bridgwater (Westfield) Guides in Somerset also took part in UK Parliament Week and invited their local Ward Councillor, Kathy Pearce, to one of their Unit meetings to hear about her role as a District and Town Councillor.

Leila Nicholson wrote to tell us about the visit: "'The girls chose to do the mini election (they can be competitive!) and Councillor Pearce helped them draft their manifestos". They also decorated biscuits as Big Ben "just because it involved food"!

Leila added, "Thank you for an interesting Resource - the girls certainly learnt some new things".

Click here to find out about UK Parliament Week 2018 - there will be new challenges and a new badge this year!

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Wiltshire Wide Trefoil Guild Enjoy Boomps-a-Daisy

Wiltshire Wide Trefoil GuildMany thanks to Helen Thompson for supplying us with this photograph of Wiltshire Wide Trefoil Guild Members busy preparing for an evening of Kipper Racing! The activity features in the Region's Resource, Boomps-a-Daisy, and involves cutting kipper shapes out of a newspaper, lining up the 'fish' across the floor and then fanning them with a magazine to see who reaches the other end of the room and the finishing line first!

We forgot to ask whose kipper won!

Click here to go to the online shop for more information on Boomps-a-Daisy.


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Girlguiding South West England - Where Guiding Goes On!

Brownie in boatThe Girlguiding South West England Region is made up of 16 diverse Counties and Islands, each with Divisions and/or Districts and individual Units which are often quite unique from their neighbours.  All enjoy a variety of advantages and face different challenges, but the Region’s Leaders and Commissioners work hard to ensure that Guiding continues to be fun and accessible to as many girls as possible, of all ages, regardless of where they live.

A large proportion of the Region is coastal which offers fantastic opportunities for all kinds of outdoor activities on the beach and water all year round, although an influx of summer tourists does obviously impact on the life of the locals.  The weather on the coasts and particularly on the islands is often a deciding factor on where and when Unit meetings take place; for example, in the Isles of Scilly, the most westerly part of our Region, travelling to a meeting by boat is often the norm.  The Brownies on St Martins make the journey across to St Marys during the summer months, but are unable to do this in the winter, and even on some summer evenings when the weather suddenly draws in.  Island Guiding does make it more difficult and very expensive for girls to take part in events and activities which are held on the mainland and this can make them feel rather isolated. 

Senior Section building shelterWe also have the beautiful New Forest, Exmoor, and Dartmoor National Parks within our Region which enable local Units to make the most of the wonderful outdoors.   But on Dartmoor there are very few local Units and girls may have to travel quite a distance each week to meet up with the friends they only see at their Rainbow, Brownie, Guide or Senior Section meeting.  Here again the weather can change very quickly and planned activities may need to be re-arranged, and the outbreak of Foot and Mouth some years back meant that many girls were unable to attend meetings whilst local roads were closed and travel restricted.

Rainbows cooking over tealightsThe wonderful outdoor opportunities which are available to our Members in coastal and rural areas are not so easily accessible to those who live in our large towns and cities.  Here Units are restricted to using local parks for wide games, but camping and campfires are not possible and personal safety is a consideration when out and about.   Units in these areas do though have much easier access to museums, swimming pools, bowling alleys, climbing centres and other attractions and girls don’t usually need to travel so far to attend meetings which are also less weather reliant!  The distraction caused by all the other activities which are available in a busy town or city can however, sometimes mean that girls get drawn away from Guiding. 

For those attached to the armed forces which are stationed within the Region, Guiding can provide a sense of continuity for girls and Leaders whose families move around the country, and indeed around the world.  Many have benefitted from the warm welcome which Girlguiding extends to them wherever they go and have found that it is much easier to make friends in a new area when they have Guiding in common.  The Units which are based on Salisbury Plain receive practical and financial support from their local garrisons in recognition of the help which Guiding provides to service families.

Girls completing jigsawThe different challenges and rewards which are experienced through Guiding across our Region are demonstrated beautifully in our DVD, Where Guiding Goes On, which was filmed whilst Solange Rebours was Chief Commissioner.  The film has been shown to guests at the Region’s Roadshows to demonstrate the diversity of the Region and remains an interesting and informative illustration of what our girls and their Leaders can achieve wherever Guiding goes on in South West England!  Click here.

We would like to publish your stories about Guiding within the Region.  If you are a Unit Leader, a District, Division or County/Island Commissioner with a story to tell about the challenges and achievements of Guiding in your particular area, do please e-mail .




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- 1st Tidworth Brownies
- 1st Wyke Regis Rainbows Raise Money
- 3rd Bridgwater (Westfield) Guides
- Compass Award Presentation
- Devon Guide Takes Part in She Can Be
- Downloads
- International Badges
- New Year's Honours
- Region Guiding
- Stories for Website - How to Submit
- Wiltshire Wide Trefoil Guild

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Girlguiding South West England, St Ann's Manor, 6-8 St Ann Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP1 2DN. Tel: 01722 329306
Girlguiding South West England is an operating name of The Guide Association South West England. Registered Charity No. 305951