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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Welcoming Phoebe Luther!

Phoebe LutherOur newest arrival at the Region Office is Pheobe Luther who is working with Julie Brown on events administration, and with Jenni Freeth on committee administration. Phoebe's office hours are 8.45am - 5.00pm Monday to Thursday, and 8.45am to 3.00pm on Fridays when she heads off to coach fencing at Sarum Swords in Salisbury. Phoebe also coaches at Salisbury Fenching Club where she is a member.

If you need to contact Phoebe, her direct line is 01722 343181 and her e-mail address is Although Phoebe is no longer in Guiding, she was a Rainbow and Brownie in London, and a Guide and Ranger in Salisbury.

You will have an opportunity to meet Phoebe at our forthcoming Region Events and Conferences which she will be attending with other members of the Region Office team. Do say hello!


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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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Netheravon Rainbows and Brownies

Netheravon Brownies and RainbowsHelen Thompson has provided us with this lovely photograph of Netheravon Rainbows and Brownies with their Young Leaders. The girls visited their local church and laid crosses on all the war graves to mark Remembrance Day.



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2nd Drayton Guides Walk for the Rowans Hospice

2nd Drayton GuidesAt the end of October, 2nd Drayton Guides joined a moonlit walk around Portsmouth Historic Dockyard to raise money for the Rowans Hospice which supports patients in Portsmouth and South East Hampshire who have life-limiting illnesses.

Guide Leader, Vicky, told us, 'The girls were all sponsored and dressed in many, many glowsticks'! The walk took them around the main part of the Dockyard and visited HMS Warrior, HMS Victory and The Mary Rose as well as parts of the Dockyard which are not usually open to the public. The girls each lit a candle in the church and they all received a medal for completing the walk and raising money for this very worthwhile cause.

Well done all of you!


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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 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!

If you have a story or photograph to share of your girls enjoying UK Parliament Week, please send it in to us! Find out how to submit your story and pictures by clicking here.


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1st Gillingham Rainbows Enjoy a Powwow!

RainbowsMany thanks to the Leader of 1st Gillingham Rainbows in North Dorset who wrote in to tell us how her girls won second prize in the children's procession in the town's carnival at the beginning of October. The Rainbows voted to go as Native American Indians and we are told, "had a great day and despite it raining quite hard the Rainbows remained cheerful and enthusiastic." Some of the Guides got dressed up too and walked with the Rainbows in the parade which the younger girls loved.

"They made our totem poles using acrylic paint on milk cartons (a very messy Rainbow evening) and shook the rain sticks they had decorated. Our banner was made using their hand prints and all of the Rainbows made a collage of a native American child [sic], so glad that we covered them in sticky backed plastic as it rained so hard. We made sure that the girls who couldn't be in the parade had their collages and hand prints on our banner so that they were part of it too".


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Sharon Orchard Receives her Silver Oak Leaf

Sharon Orchard and Carole PenningtonMany congratulations to Sharon Orchard, County Commissioner for Devon, who was presented with her Silver Oak Leaf by Chief Commissioner, Carole Pennington, at the Region's recent Commissioner's Conference.



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1st Tidworth Rainbows Visit Tidworth War Memorial

RainbowsMany thanks to Helen Thompson for sending in this photograph of 1st Tidworth Rainbows visiting the new Tidworth War Memorial. Although Tidworth is a military town, it didn't have a war memorial as the money raised for one after the First World War was given to families who had lost someone in the conflict.

Helen tells us:

"The War Memorial was opened with much pomp during the summer holidays so at our first meeting of the new term we went to take a look and learn a little bit about the war and how the memorial was designed and put together. The memorial features images of Tidworth from [the] last century and the Rainbows enjoyed guessing whereabouts they were."


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Congratulations to Maureen!

Maureen WeekesCongratulations to Maureen Weekes from Plympton Division in Devon who has been presented with her 50 Year Long Service Award by her County Commissioner, Sharon Orchard. Maureen has held many titles over the years including Region Guide Adviser.

Many thanks to Sarah Smith for sending in the story and photograph.



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Girlguiding Isle of Wight Celebrate Isle of Wight Day

GuidesMany thanks to Suzanne Whitewood for sending in these fabulous photographs which were captured at the 2017 Isle of Wight Day parade which wound its way through the streets of Ryde on a fabulously warm and sunny day. Thousands of spectators lined the route to see girls from the youngest Rainbow through to Senior Section as they joined dignitaries, carnival floats and marching bands to mark the day.

A fun afternoon of entertainment followed the parade which included gathering everyone together to form the outline of the Isle of Wight which was recorded by an overhead drone.



Rainbows Brownies


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Ruth Sara, MBE

RuthWe were thrilled to learn that the Region’s President, Ruth Sara, had been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to young people in the South West of England. 

Ruth has been involved in Guiding in the Region for over 50 years.  In 1965 she became an Assistant Leader, or Tawny Owl, with 5th Sholing (St Francis) Brownie Unit in Southampton.  She then moved on to become a  Leader with Guides and Rangers as well as holding a number of National, District, County and Region roles including County Commissioner for Somerset North and Chief Commissioner for the Region from 2001 – 2006. As well as being the Region’s President, Ruth is currently also County Vice President for Somerset North, a Division Mentor for Bath Division, and Assistant Leader with 1st Bath (St Lukes) Guide Unit.  Ruth has also held a number of positions with BGIFC including Chief Commissioner from 2007 – 2012. 

In addition to her involvement with Girlguiding, Ruth’s professional life has also been focused on young people and as a science teacher she ensured that girls’ achievement was a high priority.  She was also heavily involved in the merger of two schools where she is now a Governor.

Ruth says it is still good to be involved in education, but Girlguiding has obviously played a huge part in her life.  She told us,

“Looking back there must have been more than 1,000 girls who have passed through the Guide Unit in Bath and some have gone on to be Leaders.  That is so great.  Leaders or not, it is always good to hear what young people achieve and wonderful when they attribute some of their confidence and achievement to being a Member of Girlguiding.”

She added that although it has been “a privilege” to work with Girlguiding nationally and internationally, “The girls are the most important thing and the best bit of Guiding – if they did not come then we would not be here!!”

Ruth says that receiving the news of her Honour was a “total surprise” and she had to read the letter several times and still cannot believe it.  She says she feels “very humbled and flattered that people thought I deserve to be recognised in this way for doing something I enjoy and believe in".

Click here to go to the Useful Downloads page and find out how you could nominate a Girlguiding Member for a National Honour.


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Spotlight on the Region's Safeguarding Team

Spotlight on Region's Safeguarding TeamThe Region's Safeguarding Team provides support to Leaders and works with Counties/Islands on child protection and vulnerable adult investigations. They will also be supporting A Safe Space trainings at all levels.

Susan Higgs, Shirley Eve and Deborah Meadows have volunteered with all Sections and have gained Safeguarding knowledge and experience in their professional lives. Click here to find out how they got into Guiding and what they hope to achieve from this role, both personally and for the Region as a whole.


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Region Roadshow Success Continues

Quay Climbing Centre LogoOver 200 girls attended the Region's first Roadshow for 2017 at the end of January. All our Roadshows are free of charge and for this one we had arranged exclusive access to the Quay Climbing Centre in Exeter giving Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Senior Section the opportunity to try climbing and bouldering. Trained Instructors were on hand and provided expert tuition which enabled all those who attended to either experience an exciting new activity, or to improve on existing skills.

We have received lots of positive feedback from parents who particularly enjoyed the free tea and cake which was provided, but have also commented on our excellent organsation and thanked us for funding the afternoon which enabled girls who might not otherwise have had the opportunity to visit the Climbing Centre to do so. One parent also commented "It was great to chat to Leaders [and] to understand more about Girlguiding". The girls have told us that they enjoyed spending the day with friends "doing a new and fun activity", but many have also said that one of the best things about the day was the opportunity to make new friends. One told us, "I made a new friend with a Brownie from another Unit and we are going to be pen pals" and a parent has told us, "My Daughter had a superb time at the Exeter Climbing Centre and got to meet other Brownie Members from around Devon, one of which [sic] is attending the Legoland trip in March". Favourable comments were also made about the fact that all Sections were able to participate: "The age range was diverse which is good to see at events" and many parents also commented on the fact that it had given their daughters the opportunity to try a new skill and build their confidence.

The parent of a Rainbow and Brownie summed up the afternoon for us by saying, "They made friends in new places, challenged themselves on things they had not done before and generally had the most fun possible"! That's what Girlguiding in South West England is all about!

Our second Roadshow took us to the Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park and for the third we travelled to the Isle of Wight and spent a day at Monkey Haven. It was lovely to see the girls' reactions when they were able to get up close to the animals and at both these Roadshows they also had the opportunity to earn Rustle, Bustle & Squeak badges by making bird boxes, building bug homes and entering a colouring competition. For some it was their first taste of what Rustle, Bustle & Squeak can offer, click here if you would like to find out more about our most popular resource.

Click here to go to our YouTube site and see the film of our trips to Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park and Monkey Haven. Please note that due to copyright issues with some of the music which has been used in the making of the film, it will not play on mobile devices.

Our final Roadshow of the year found us at the Beau Sejour Leisure Centre on Guernsey where we invited girls from all Sections to join us for an afternoon of various sports including fencing, trampolining, table tennis and volleyball, and the chance to enjoy a funzone with bouncy castle, parachute and graffiti art. Click here to go our YouTube site to see a DVD of the day.

Our 2018 Roadshows and Activity Days have just been announced - click here to go to the Events & Training page for more information.

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Try, Inspire, Qualify

ArchersThis fabulous Region event was a huge success with over 60 Leaders attending a weekend of activities, training opportunities and assessments. Many went home with new qualifications including the Archery GB Instructor Award, CIEH Level 2 Food Safety, and boating awards. One of those who gained the Core Coach Fencing qualification was Rosie Gitsham from Devon. Her County will receive equipment worth £500 from British Fencing for Rosie to use to train others, and Rosie sent the following letter to her County:

"I have just returned from a fun-filled weekend at Try, Inspire, Qualify at Foxlease. I am writing to thank you Devon County for providing £60.00 towards this weekend. I passed the British Fencing Qualification and am now able to offer fencing sessions to Guide and Senior Section Units. Once the fencing equipment and coaching booklet has arrived I will be able to start offering sessions.

"During the weekend I challenged myself on the high ropes and climbing wall and tried whittling for the first time. I also listened to storytelling and went to a campfire. It was a lovely and relaxed weekend where some people tried new activities, others qualified and some did both. It was good to see Guiders I recognised from past events and meet Guiders from across the South West Region. This was one of my favourite 'training' weekends. I hope that Try, Inspire, Qualify becomes an annual event to allow more Guiders from Devon to try activities and gain a qualification."

We also offered abseiling, the crate challenge and the zip line, plus geocaching/orienteering, mini-pioneering, backwoods cooking, shelter building, traditional skills such as knots and pyrography, and wide games. Workshops on writing risk assessments, the Going Away With Scheme modules, the GGUK Water Safety Module, and Duke of Edinburgh scheme were also available.

Click here for the full list of qualifications earned at Try, Inspire, Qualify. Our congratulations to you all!

Our next Try, Inspire, Qualify is happening at Foxlease from Friday 21st - Sunday 23rd September 2018.

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Boomps-a-Daisy BadgesThe Region has picked a bunch of fun activities for its challenge resource which will have you singing and dancing!

Boomps-a-Daisy has something for everyone and covers all ages and a variety of interests. The activities are divided into five categories including adventure, activity, social action, tradition, creativity, food and fun and can be completed by individuals or in groups. Remember that Guiding is flexible so all our suggestions can be adapted and substituted to suit your needs and those of your Unit.

Boomps-a-Daisy has been printed on a new 'plastic paper' which is wipeable, and not easily torn and we hope will prove more durable than ordinary paper or card. Each A4 sized challenge resource pack contains four, full sets of the activity sheets which can be shared amongst your Unit enabling you to promote girl-led Guiding by allowing the girls to choose their activities. We have also included separate Leader Notes containing recipes and additional information and it is all bound together within a plastic folder.

To gain a badge one activity should be completed from each of the five categories. Individual badges are in the form of a pair of daisy petals which surround a centre badge depicting the Region logo. The four petal badges and daisy centre badge can be purchased separately for 60p each, or as a petal badge plus the centre badge for £1.00, or as a full set of five badges for a bargain price of £2.50! The Boomps-a-Daisy Resource costs £6.00. Postage and packing will be added to all the above prices.

Click here to go to the online shop and place your order today!

The challenge resource contains the words and music to Hands, Knees and Boomps-a-Daisy, an old music hall song and dance. We would love to receive video clips of your Unit performing the song and will put the best on our Facebook page - e-mail .

Where will your Boomps-a-Daisy grow? On your camp blanket, or on a hat, or on a bag? Send us a photograph to include on the Website - e-mail .


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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 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!


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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 Gillingham Rainbows
- 1st Tidworth Brownies
- 1st Tidworth Rainbows Visit Memorial
- 2nd Drayton Guides Walk for Hospice
- Boomps-a-Daisy Challenge Resource
- Compass Award Presentation
- Downloads
- GGSWE - Where Guiding Goes On
- Girlguiding Isle of Wight
- Maureen Weekes Receives Award
- Netheravon Rainbows and Brownies
- Phoebe Luther Joins Region Office
- Region Roadshows
- Ruth Sara is Awarded an MBE
- Sharon Orchard Receives Award
- Spotlight on Region Safeguarding Team
- Stories for Website - How to Submit
- Try, Inspire, Qualify
- 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