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!

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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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 Melanie as a Full-Time Member of the Region Staff

MelanieWe are delighted that Melanie Parkes has agreed to join the Region Office as a full-time member of staff having been with us part-time for the past year. Melanie has been appointed to the role of Executive Officer and is working alongside Jenni Freeth and Julie Brown on compliance and governance matters and special projects. Melanie can be contacted on 01722 343181 and her e-mail address is

If you see Melanie at a future meeting or Region Conference, do introduce yourself and say hello!





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Compass Awards 2018

Compass Award Recipients(Pictured from left to right:  Carolyn Welford, Caroline Terry, Sharon Yeates, Debbie Thorpe, Helen Bunston)

The Region held its annual presentation event at the White Hart Hotel in Salisbury on Saturday 8th September, to celebrate the achievements of this year’s Compass Award recipients.  Of the 38 members to receive the Award, 33 were able to join us for the afternoon and be presented with their certificates and badges by the Chief Commissioner in the presence of the Region’s President, their County Commissioners, and members of the Awards Sub-committee.  The other five Awards will be presented within County. 

Each citation was read out by Hilary Hardy, Chair of the Awards Sub-committee, who said of the recipients, ‘every one is inspirational’; they all share a commitment to the values of Girlguiding and give their time willingly to provide the girls in their units with a happy and safe environment in which to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities available to them from Girlguiding.  However each member whose achievements were being celebrated had been nominated for a slightly different reason and was being presented with an Award which was very personal to them: 
Carolyn Welford is a Brownie, Guide and Senior Section Leader.  She is also Division Commissioner for Weston Super Mare and District President for Weston Mendip in Somerset North.  She mentors and assesses Leaders who are completing their Going Away With qualification, and there has been a significant rise in the number of Leaders completing this and also the Adult Leadership Qualification since Carolyn became Division Commissioner.  A similar rise in the number of girls working towards and achieving the Chief Guide’s Award and their Senior Section Permits together demonstrate the motivation and support which Carolyn provides for Leaders and girls alike. 

Debbie Thorpe is a Division Commissioner in Bournemouth South.  She also runs two Brownie units and a Rainbow unit, saving them from closing due to a lack of experienced Leaders.  To promote Girlguiding and recruit new volunteers, Debbie attends Freshers Fairs and community events and gets involved with projects which strengthen links with the local community.  We heard about the Dudsbury Guide Camp for which Debbie has gained funding from the National Lottery and other sources to enable a round house to be built, and how she has negotiated with the National Heritage Committee in order to be able to promote the site which is protected by preservation orders. 

Caroline Terry runs 1st East Rangers on the island of Jersey where she encourages all her girls to take an active role in organising activities and to share responsibility. Described as ‘approachable, caring and committed’, Caroline offers support, advice and a listening ear for all her Rangers, whether on a Guiding or non-Guiding issue, encouraging them to follow their dreams, pursue their goals and to celebrate when these are achieved.  She keeps in touch with her girls when they are away at university or college, and they are welcomed back to the unit during their holidays.  Caroline is highly respected by her Rangers, and many have taken up the challenge of international opportunities or have become adult Leaders as a direct result of her encouragement and support. 

Helen Bunston is a Leader in Cornwall, who in addition to running a busy, local Brownie unit in Torpoint, also travels to an outlying village to run Rainbow and Brownie units for girls who would otherwise not have the chance to join Girlguiding.  We heard that Helen’s real passion lies in providing opportunities and experiences for girls outside of the meeting place.  Her Brownies have at least two opportunities a year to go on pack holiday and she organises regular sleepovers for her Rainbows.  As a Residential Adviser, Helen has mentored Leaders enabling them to achieve their Going Away With qualifications and has helped them plan and organise trips for their units giving more girls the opportunity to share these experiences.  Helen completed the international modules of her own Going Away With qualification and fundraised over £3,000 in order that she could take her Brownies to Disneyland Paris, an adventure which they talked about for months after.

Sharon Yeates is Leader of 3rd Wroughton Brownies and District Commissioner of Wroughton and Chiseldon in Wiltshire North.  She is also a Rainbow Leader in Training.  We heard how Sharon makes sure new volunteers receive a warm welcome and are fully supported and encouraged.  She attends unit meetings to help new Leaders settle into their role and helps them with budgeting, planning and administration until they have found their confidence.

We learned of Leaders who have taken extra care to help girls with the transition from one Section to another, about special Thanks and Recognition events which have been arranged to make volunteers feel appreciated, time given to helping units with accounts and financial matters; and in every citation there was mention of the happy, safe environment which is provided for the girls and the many opportunities they have for fun and adventure. 

Chief Commissioner, Carole Pennington, admitted in her speech to being ‘blown away’ when reading the citations prior to the presentation ceremony.  She told the members receiving their Awards that someone they volunteer with had recognised that they had done something special and said they were all ‘truly inspirational women committed to Girlguiding’.

Is there someone you know who is worthy of a Compass Award in recognition of their contribution and commitment to Guiding at a local level?  You can nominate any adult member; they do not have to be a Leader or hold a County/Island, Region or National appointment and the Award is not linked to length of service.  A Unit Helper could be recognised for their contribution towards maintaining a successful unit or the Award could be presented for a project which has been undertaken demonstrating a unique quality which that particular member brings to Girlguiding. 

We look forward to receiving your nominations, and in the meantime offer our congratulations to all  38 of our 2018 Compass Award recipients. 

Click here to find out more about the Region’s Awards and how to make a nomination..

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A Night at the Library

A Night at the Library BadgeOur latest resource has been developed on behalf of the Region by Cathy, Helen, Megan and Nicky from Girlguiding Jersey. 

A Night at the Library is an A-Z of ideas and activities which will enable members of all ages and from all sections to share and celebrate their love of books and reading, and to discover the joys of their local libraries – including mobile and school libraries.

The resource is printed double-sided on loose-leaf, wipeable paper.  There is a page for each letter of the alphabet and every page has a different theme providing a list of activities which the girls may choose from, all based on books.  The activity sheets are accompanied by a four page, full-colour leaflet which explains the resource and the full set is supplied in a smart plastic folder with press stud fastening.  The full pack of activity sheets, explanatory leaflet and plastic folder is priced at £7.00 and you can purchase an additional set of the activity sheets for £5.00.

There are five cloth badges to collect by completing the various activities, and these join together to form a shelf of books.  In addition, there are two badges which are designed as bookends and may be earned for visiting a library and for attending a sleepover in a library (if you can’t find a library willing to let you sleepover, then you can use the resource as the theme for a sleepover at another venue).  The badges are priced at 75p each, or you may purchase the full set of seven badges for £4.50.

Click here to go to the online shop to place your order. (NB: Postage and packing will be added to all the prices quoted.)

The following three PDFs accompany the resource and will be available as free downloads from either the Resource Downloads page of the Website, or by clicking on links which will be provided below. We are waiting for the downloads to be approved and will make these available to you as soon as we can.

Script for Something Fishy at the Library (M is for mysteries)
Instructions for making a water purifier (O is for our world)
The Thinking Day Story (X is for Xtras)

A Night at the Library contains suggestions of websites which provide further information to support the activities.  Unfortunately some of these links are no longer working for which we apologise; we are hoping to provide alternative website addresses very soon in order that you can update your resource pack. The inactive website addresses are as follows: - (Page F)’sbooks-site/series/how-to-draw - (Page I) – (page Q) – (page W) – (Page Z)

A Night at the Library full set of badges


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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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Fleet Trefoil Celebrate Vote 100

Fleet TrefoilMany thanks to Sue Copley, Chair of Fleet Trefoil, who sent in this lovely photograph of the Guild's ladies demonstrating their 'precision dancing' skills at the grave of John Tiller, founder of the famous Tiller Girls dance troupe.

To celebrate the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, the ladies of Fleet Trefoil visited Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey for their June meeting. Brookwood is the largest cemetery in the UK and the Trefoil Guild learned about the lives of some of the famous women who are buried there including Rebecca West (news correspondent, author and witness for the defence at the Lady Chatterley trial on indecency); Lady Duff-Gordon (fashion designer and Titanic survivor); Bapsy, Marchioness of Winchester; Zaha Hadid (international architect); and Violett Szabo GC and Andree Borrell KCBC, SOE Agents executed by the Germans during the French Occupation and remembered on the Brookwood Memorial.

A journey on the train with a view of some of the original tracks which were used when the London Necropolis first opened, a visit to the Saint Edward Brotherhood at their monastery, and a pub supper completed a memorable day out!

Click here to find out more about Vote 100 and the Region's involvement with UK Parliament.


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Three Generations Celebrate the Arrival of the New Programme

Three generations of Guiding familyThank you to Fran Westlake, County Commissioner for Wiltshire South, who sent in this great photograph of herself, her daughter, Louise Barrett who is District Commissioner for Trowbridge South, and granddaughter Eliza who gathered at Trowbridge on 21st July to celebrate the launch of the New Programme.





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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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- A Night at the Library
- Compass Awards Presentation Event
- Downloads
- Family Celebrate New Programme
- Fleet Trefoil Celebrate Vote 100
- International Badges
- Melanie Parkes, Executive Officer
- Region Guiding
- Stories for Website - How to Submit

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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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