Girlguiding South West England
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Where Guiding Goes On
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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!

NB: The advent of GDPR means we need a lot more information from you when you submit photographs for use with your stories. Click here for details.


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Region Invades Sandhurst for the Day!

GuidesOne-hundred and eighty-five Guides and Rangers from the Region spent the day at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on Saturday 16th March. The takeover day evolved from a partnership between the British Army and Girlguiding UK and Officers from the Academy worked with the girls on different activities to enable them to earn their Skills Builder Five badge. It also gave the Guides and Rangers an insight into life in the military. The girls were accompanied by 40 of their Leaders who told us, 'They certainly enjoyed moving around the wonderful venue, seeing the different rooms, meeting different soldiers and had a all round wonderful day'. One of the Guides added, 'I thoroughly enjoyed my day and would love to go back again - it was great fun from start to finish'.

Guides in front of army tankMany thanks to Emily Gadd of 4th Swanage Guides for sending in the great photographs.


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The Commonwealth Service, Westminster Abbey, 11th March 2019

Rainbows, Brownies and GuidesThe Region was thrilled to be invited to represent Girlguiding at The Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on Monday 11th March in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen and senior members of The Royal Family.  The Service, which is held annually, celebrates and gives thanks for the Commonwealth network.  It is attended by dignitaries from the 53 member nations across the world, including our own Prime Minister, and representatives from the different Faith Communities and Churches. 

The group of Rainbows from Dorset, Brownies from Hampshire North and Guides from Wiltshire South were accompanied by their Leaders together with Carole Pennington, Liz Brown and Diane Bouault and they enjoyed a day filled with excitement from beginning to end.  The rail journey to London was itself a real treat for one Rainbow who had never been on a train before, although she was disappointed that it wasn’t like the train in Harry Potter!  But there was magic at work and with no delays on the line, the Rainbows arrived at Waterloo Station early enough to be able to walk to Buckingham Palace to see where the Queen lives before meeting up with the rest of the Region group for lunch at Central Hall.

From the moment they arrived at Westminster Abbey the girls were entertained by dancers, musicians and singers.  The Rainbows and Brownies had seats next to the main aisle and were able to see all the guests as they arrived – including Ama Agbeze, who led England to Commonwealth Games victory as Captain of the Netball Team and stopped to talk to the Rainbows as she was passing.  As well as familiar faces from the world of sport and television, the armed services had been invited and many youth and charity groups and schools.  The Chief Guide was spotted and was happy to join the Region group for a photograph!

BrowniesThe Rainbows had a fantastic view of the processions which included Honoured Guests and leaders of the various church and faith groups.  All the flags of the member countries were carried into the Abbey and four of the Region’s Brownies (pictured left with Deputy Chief Commissioner, Liz Brown), together with a group of Cubs, formed the colour party for the Commonwealth Flag.  Then the moment the Rainbows had been waiting for, as The Procession of the Queen passed by with all the senior members of The Royal Family.  

The Service was a wonderful mix of readings (including one by the Prime Minister), prayers, and a variety of music including an appearance by Alfie Boe, a piece played on the didgeridoo by William Barton who had flown from Queensland, Australia in order to take part in the service, and some very loud drumming which had one of the Rainbows covering her ears!

As the afternoon drew to a close there was one final, special, moment for Rainbow Nelly Jones who had been asked to present a posy to the Duchess of Cambridge – and much to our delight was captured doing so by HELLO! magazine!

For all the girls and their Leaders it was a truly memorable day and another amazing opportunity made possible by Girlguiding. 

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GOLD Oman 2018

GOLD Oman 2018 BadgeThe Region were pleased to be able to offer a grant to one of our Members, Natalie Gaudion, following her selection as a Leader for a GOLD project in 2018 aimed at furthering links between Girlguiding in the UK and the Oman Scouts and Guides Association.

The project team of six ran informal training sessions for girls, Leaders and Commissioners on a range of topics from understanding the benefits of Guiding and exploring different recruitment ideas, to teaching skills such as self-confidence and leadership. Natalie described the trip as 'an amazing project in a fabulous country' and the project report is well worth reading, providing a real flavour of what being involved in a GOLD project is all about. Natalie told us:

'The trip was far from relaxing as we trained over 700 people in three weeks. The evaluation meeting with the member organisation was very positive so all our efforts were worthwhile'.

Click here to read the project report.

Click here to go to the Useful Information page and find out more about GOLD and how to apply.

Click here to go to the Useful Information page to find out more about the international opportunities offered by Girlguiding South West England.


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UK Parliament Week Answered Questions for 4th Withycombe Raleigh Girl Guides!

Many thanks to Julia Gash, Assistant Leader with 4th Withycombe Raleigh Girl Guides from Exmouth in Devon, who has written to tell us about the Unit's participation in last year's UK Parliament Week. A local Independent County Councillor, Claire Wright, was invited to join the girls for their own Question Time where they found out what it is like to be a politician, and were able to talk to Claire about things that matter to them in Exmouth. They then got to write their own mini-manifestos ready for when they become Prime Minister one day!

Claire Wright said: 'I loved talking to the Girl Guides. They were concerned about the things that really matter, such as environmental pollution and waste and wanted to get active. I was impressed with their knowledge and their genuine interest in campaigning and local democracy".

David Clark, Head of Education and Engagement at UK Parliament said he was "delighted that the 4th Withycombe Raleigh Girl Guides are taking this opportunity to get involved in their democracy".

Click here to register for this year's UK Parliament Week which is taking place from 2nd to 8th November.


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Trolley Dash Challenge for 1st Neston & Box Guides!

Guides supermarket shopping1st Neston & Box Guides proved it is possible to 'live well for less' and at the same time made a generous donation to their local food bank with the help of the Sainsburys store in Chippenham.

Leader Elaine Cook explained how the girls had held one of their Unit meetings at Sainsburys where they were split into teams and given £20.00 cash to spend on their shopping. They were then asked to use the money to buy food for a family of five which would feed them for two days. All the food purchased was donated to the food bank who were very grateful and thanked the Guides for their efforts.

Elaine told us, 'Sainsburys' staff were hugely supportive of their enthusiastic shoppers and the Guides embraced the challenge with thought and care' - they were overhead discussing balanced meals and ease of cooking as well as the Nectar points value of their purchases!

Thank you Elaine for sending in the story and picture.


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Family Celebrates Five Generations of Guiding

Rebecca Young, Leader of 1st Devizes Rainbows, has written to tell us how her daughter, Isabella, made her Promise to become a Rainbow at the end of 2018. This makes Isabella the fifth generation of her family to be involved in Guiding and 'she is so pleased'!

Rebecca's Great Grandmother was a Land Ranger in the early 1920's; her Grandmother was a Guide in the 1940's and is now in the Trefoil Guild; her Mother is a Guide Leader and joined as a Brownie in the 1970's. Rebecca, who joined Guiding as a Brownie in the 1990's tells us, 'Guiding is a massive part of all our lives'!


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Region Staff Celebrate as Julie Brown Receives Silver Oak Leaf Award

Presentation of Silver Oak Leaf AwardSt Ann's Manor staff were delighted to join volunteers and external guests at the Region Roadshow which was held in Bournemouth on 1st March to see Julie Brown receive her Silver Oak Leaf Award from Carole Pennington in recognition for all that she does for Girlguiding in Dorset and the Region. The Award came as a complete surprise to Julie, and a huge relief to Region Staff who had spent a nerve-wracking few weeks arranging, without her knowledge, for some very special guests to be present!

Julie (pictured far left with Carole Pennington) joined the staff at St Ann's Manor in May 2013, but has been a Leader for over 32 years and began her Guiding journey as a Brownie. Currently a Brownie and Guide Leader in Sherborne, she has held many roles within Dorset County including District and Division Commissioner and Residential Adviser. As Operations Manager, Julie organises and manages Region trainings and events which she does calmly and efficiently. Although she is often working at Region events, she makes sure her girls don't miss out on the opportunity to attend and is always ready to take part in fundraising events within her District which help to meet the cost of transport.

Her Guides describe Julie as 'epic, phenomenal, helpful, kind, organised (very!)' and simply 'terrific' - sentiments shared by her colleagues at St Ann's Manor where she is a much-valued member of staff and her Guiding knowledge and practical ideas are always appreciated. Julie is passionate about Girlguiding, working tirelessly to ensure that as many girls and Leaders as possible are offered the opportunity to enjoy positive Guiding experiences. Her willingness to support and promote the Region in all that she does makes her an excellent Ambassador for Girlguiding South West England and a worthy recipient of the Silver Oak Leaf Award.

Click here to find out how you can nominate someone to receive a Girlguiding Award.


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Eliza Raises Over £1,300 for Hospice and Earns her Brownie Charity Badge

BrownieCongratulations to Region Brownie Eliza who was able to present a cheque for £1,304 to Prospect Hospice following a huge fund raising exercise she undertook as part of her Charity Badge. In just a month Elliza organised a sponsored reading challenge, cake sales, raffles and a concert in which she also starred - playing the violin and piano, singing, dancing and performing a gymnastics routine.

Eliza's Grandma is Fran Westlake, County Commissioner for Wiltshire South and she was 'understandably proud' of Eliza who had raised the donation in memory of her Great-Nanny who had been cared for at Prospect Hospice. Fran told us, 'Without the support of Girl Guiding [sic] and their new charity badge within the new programme, the fundraising that Eliza did would not have been possible'.

Community Fundraiser at Prospect Hospice, Hollie Ricketts added: 'We would also like to extend our thanks to Girl Guiding [sic] for supporting Eliza with her charity badge and we are very grateful for their new programme that encourages young people within the community to work with and fundraise for local causes'.

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Meet Maisie and her Piglets!

Pig and pigletRainbow and piglets

Stephanie Le Cheminant sent us these lovely photographs of her Goddaughter, Maisie, who recently joined Rainbows, and is clearly determined to achieve as much as she can before moving up to Brownies. Stephanie told us that Maisie, "Having only started half way through last term at the age of six is quite upset she won't be able to complete everything"!

Maisie's parents rear rare breed pigs on a smallholding in Cornwall and the day after receiving her badge book, Maisie decided she wanted to look after a farrowing sow in order to complete her animal lover badge. Stephanie said, "Maisie decided farrowing a pig was challenging and excited[sic] and she joined her dad through the night to clean and look after the 11 tiny piglets. Stephanie added, "When they were born she helped clear their airways".

Stephanie says the thought this "a good example of the diversity of our girls" and we are really pleased she shared the story with us.

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Girlguiding South West England - Where Guiding Goes On!

Region LogoThe 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. 

We 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.

The 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.

The 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 Neston & Box Guides
- 4th Withycombe Raleigh Girl Guides
- Brownie Earns Charity Badge
- Commonwealth Service, Westminster
- Five Generations of Guiding in Family
- GOLD Oman 2018
- Julie Brown Receives Silver Oak Leaf
- Rainbow Cares for Farrowing Sow
- Region Guiding
- Stories for Website - How to Submit
- Takeover Day at Sandhurst

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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

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