Girlguiding South West England
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Where Guiding Goes On
Girlguiding South West England Rainbows Brownies Guides Senior Section


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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Introducing the Region’s New National Council Representatives!

National Council RepsIn the Region's June Newsletter we announced the appointment of our three new National Council Representatives - pictured here from left to right, Lisa Williams from Bristol & South Gloucestershire, Pippa Steel from Gloucestershire and Meg Kelly from Devon. We can now introduce them to you properly!

Pippa and Meg are our ‘under 25’ Representatives.  Pippa is a Rainbow Leader and helps with both a Brownie Unit and a Guide Unit, and is also a member of Girlguiding’s Advocate Panel and a Peer Educator.  She has been a member of Girlguiding for 12 years having joined as a Brownie aged 7. Pippa says she loves the work that Girlguiding does; her time on the Advocate Panel has given her an insight into what can be achieved and the impact this can have on the lives of so many people – both members and non-members.  She is excited about having the opportunity to use the experience she has gained on a local and national scale to make the voices of the Region’s ‘amazing members’ heard and to be able to take part in Girlguiding’s decision making process.  She says she has a ‘passion to make change, and empower others to make the changes they want to see’.  Pippa hopes that her appointment to the National Council will provide her with a greater knowledge of Girlguiding’s governance and how this impacts local members.  She would like to be able to support the Region’s members and help them have their say in shaping the future of Girlguiding.

Meg is a Ranger and a Young Leader in a Brownie Unit and a Guide Unit.  She has been in Girlguiding for 10 years having joined as a Brownie and then moving on to Guides.  Like Pippa, Meg applied to join the National Council as she is interested to find out how Girlguiding is run on a national level and how this differs to region and local Guiding.  She says she is approaching the appointment with ‘an open mind’ and hopes to provide a different perspective and be able to share her insight as someone who feels she has benefited greatly through the work of Girlguiding.  On a personal level, Meg hopes her appointment will give her the opportunity to increase her skills and meet new people. 

The Region’s third new representative is Lisa who joined Girlguiding as a Brownie and was also a Guide.  A volunteer for the last 15 years, she has been a District and Division Commissioner and Trustee for her County and is currently a Rainbow, Brownie and Guide Leader, a Mentor and an Assistant County Commissioner.  Lisa is looking forward to having the opportunity to represent the Region’s volunteers, to express their views – and to be able to ‘shout out about all the great work our volunteers do across the Region’!   She says she is capable of thinking outside the box and being able to see the bigger picture – and like Meg, she believes she will be able to provide Girlguiding with a different view.  She is ‘passionate about the benefits of Girlguiding to both the young members and our volunteers’ and is looking forward to being able to share her thoughts and to discuss these further.  Again, Lisa is hoping to expand her knowledge and gain a deeper insight into how Girlguiding works, and she also wants to use her appointment as an opportunity to promote Girlguiding South West England.

Pippa, Meg and Lisa all share very similar ambitions for their time on the National Council; all have the same wish to make the most of the opportunity they have been given to speak on behalf of our volunteers and to promote the work of the Region.  We are sure that with their shared passion and enthusiasm they will achieve what they are hoping for and we look forward to working with them all. 

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'Be Positive, Be You'!

Rangers at Action for Change weekendA group of Rangers from Farnborough in Hampshire North have launched a body image campaign, 'Be Positive, Be You', as a result of being selected to take part in the Region's first 'Action for Change' weekend which was held at PGL Liddington in Wiltshire last October.

With the support of their Network Co-ordinators and the help of Girlguiding who launched the 'Action for Change' project last year, the Rangers are challenging negative attitudes towards size, shape, gender and ability, and are hoping to change perceptions of what is considered 'the norm'.

Click here to download the press release and find out more.





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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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Sleepover for Wiltshire Wide Trefoil Guild!

Enford churchWiltshire Wide Trefoil Guild decided they would like the opportunity to sleep in a church! A member who is a Vicar was able to make this happen at All Saints Church in Enford in Wiltshire's Avon Valley.

The visit began with a quiz about Enford which involved a walk around the village, and included a trip to a local fete where a number of tombola and raffle prizes were won! The ladies then enjoyed a BBQ in the evening sunshine and after cocoa and a bedtime story they settled down for the night.

Trefoil Guild members eating breakfastAfter a continental breakfast the next morning, the ladies got down to work and undertook some social action. They swept the chuch through and tackled the cobwebs, before adjourning to the local pub for Sunday lunch.

Helen Thompson sent us the story and wanted to thank Gale for making the sleepover possible. It sounds like it was fun!

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Adult Leadership Qualification for Former Guide

Tina Harrison, Leader of 2nd Radipole Guides in Dorset, wrote to tell us that Sophie Ridyard has been presented with her Adult Leadership qualification by District Commissioner, Linda Skelton.

Tina told us how Sophie joined the unit in January 2011 and has worked her way up through Patrol Second to Patrol Leader, then to Young Leader and now Adult Leader. She said:

'Sophie was really shy and quiet when she started but now has no problem getting the girls to listen and do things and we are very proud of her.

'Unfortunately we are going to lose her after camp, as she is off to Cardiff University.'

We really hope Sophie is able to continue her Guiding while studying; there will clearly be a warm welcome waiting for her if ever she is able to visit her Guide Unit during the holidays!


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Second Queen's Guide Award for Leaders of Wiltshire South Guide Unit

Queen's Guide presentationCongratulations to Chloe de Carteret who is the second Leader from 1st Studley St John's Guides to receive the Queen's Guide Award in as many years! Chloe is seen here on the right of the photograph being presented with the Award by Fran Westlake, County Commissioner for Wiltshire South.

Many thanks to Emma Sysum, Wiltshire South's PRA, for sharing this news with us.


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1st Bemerton Rainbows Raise Money for Stars Appeal

Drawing of childrenWell done 1st Bemerton Rainbows who have raised £100 for Salisbury District Hospital's charity, the Stars Appeal, specifically to benefit children being treated at the hospital.

As part of the new Programme from Girlguiding, the Rainbows chose to find out about different charities and to help their community. They designed posters to illustrate the work of the charities they were particularly interested in and these turned out to be mostly connected with other children, other people and animals. Each Rainbow was then given two tokens which were used to vote for the type of charity they would like to support, and helping other children came out on top.

The money was raised by filling empty Smartie tubes with coins and the Rainbow Leaders suggested this be sent to the Stars Appeal as Salisbury District Hospital is local and the girls might know people who had been helped by the charity in the past. Dave Cates replied on behalf of the Stars Appeal saying:

'Your support will help children to get better faster, return home sooner and have a more positive hospital experience by funding additional care, facilities and equipment over and above those provided by the NHS'.


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Salisbury Plain Division Day

Plain Survival badgeSalisbury Plain Division in Wiltshire South arranged a 'Plain Survival' Day in June which was enjoyed by 193 Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers.

As well as learning basic first aid and to cook outdoors, filter water, make shelters, and lay and follow a track, the girls were also able to try fishing, to scramble, clamber and climb over an obstacle course, and paint stones with their own positive messages. The very busy day finished with a campfire.

Many thanks to Helen Thompson for sending in the story and photographs.


Brownies cooking outdoorsBrownies building a camp





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A Shout Out About Inclusivity!

Guides crate climbingMany thanks to Debbie Smith, a Guide Leader from Berkshire, who has sent in a wonderful story about inclusivity in Girlguiding. She said, 'I am not normally one to shout about our successes, Units across the country are doing amazing work, but I am very proud of Lucy, the Unit and all the girls have achieved.'

Lucy joined Debbie's Guide unit in May 2017. She has global development delay with significant learning disabilities and when she first joined the Unit she was non-verbal and exceptionally shy. She has an EHCP for additional needs, and attends a special school. However the other girls quickly bonded with her and Debbie says 'it was a special day in March 2019 when, with the support of her friends in the Unit, Lucy was able to take her Promise'.

Debbie told us, 'Lucy is a popular member of the Unit and her friends were keen for her to join them on camp this year. We were keen to make this happen and after talking things through [with] Mum and Dad, we approached Bracknell Forest Council to seek their support. We were delighted when funding was agreed through the Specialist Support Team Short Breaks Inclusion Fund to support Lucy attending the camp. The funding provided paid carers from "Kids" to attend and support Lucy'.

Guides rifle shootingThis was the first time Lucy had stayed away from home. The Guides were based at Buddens in Dorset and Lucy joined in with all the activities which included crate stacking (Lucy got to the top of seven crates!), archery, climbing, boating, rifle shooting, skittles, crafts, and a day trip to Monkey World. Lucy's carer from "Kids" told us, 'The difference in Lucy when she is with the Guides is massive. She is much more confident and able. She speaks so much more'. Lucy's Mum, Tracie, explained, 'It's very hard for Lucy as people often think she can't do much when they first meet her, some other people think she shouldn't even try.... She can do as much as anyone with support and help from people who get to know her and build her trust in them'. Lucy's friend Abi summed it up: 'Lucy is Lucy, she's one of us'.

Tracie said that the camp didn't just benefit Lucy, 'I am aware that Lucy's disability has a huge effect on us as a family, her extra personal care needs and behaviours often dictate our day and we can't do all the things we would like to.' Knowing that Lucy was being looked after and having a fun time they were able to take a short holiday themselves allowing Lucy's nine year old sister to enjoy some 'quality time' on her own with her Mum and Dad which might not have been so easy without the help of Lucy's Guide friends.

'Thank you for everything, you've opened [up] a whole new world for Lucy (and us).'



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Cornwall Brownies Enjoy a Legendary Sleepover!

Conga DanceOver 700 Brownies and their Leaders gathered in seven different locations across Cornwall for Myths and Magic in May - a 26hr sleepover during which five of Cornwall's great legends were celebrated. Penny Congdon, Cornwall's Brownie Adviser explained:

'We heard stories of Mermaids, Fairies, Ghosts, Giants and Dragons. Every Brownie in every location completed 25 identical activities at the same time.... There was a variety of craft activities, plenty of cooking and lots of games! In the evening there was a silent disco at each venue, and eventually a little bit of sleeping! It was great to see the Divisions "all together" working fantastically as a team to give the Brownies the most wonderful experience Guiding can offer and creating fabulous memories in their childhood.'

Many thanks to Penny for sending in the story and the great photograph of Restormel Division dancing the Conga at their silent disco!


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Dorset Brownie Receives Gold Award

BrownieCongratulations to Dorset Brownie Zelie, who was presented with her Gold Award on the 11th May while on a zip wire at PGL Osmington Bay in Dorset!

Zelie has been a Brownie for three years and has achieved a 99% attendance rate, including residential. She earned her Brownie Adventure in July 2017, and her Brownie Adventure On in July 2018 and during the transition year has completed three interest badges from the new programme on different themes - Grow your own, Baking, and Charities. Zelie has also run an activity for her Unit and has gained two skill builders.

Many thanks to Tracy Crickmore, Zelie's very proud Leader, for sending in the story and great photograph.

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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.

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 Bemerton Rainbows Help Charity
- 4th Withycombe Raleigh Girl Guides
- Cornwall Brownies' Sleepover
- Dorset Brownie Receives Gold Award
- Farnborough Rangers' Campaign
- Inclusivity Helps Lucy and her Family
- National Council Reps for Region
- Queen's Guide Award for Chloe
- Region Guiding
- Salisbury Plain Division Day
- Sophie Ridyard Becomes Adult Leader
- Stories for Website - How to Submit
- Wiltshire Wide Trefoil Guild's Sleepover

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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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