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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Christmas Card Competition Winners

Thank you to all the units who sent us photographs of the sculptures they had created from recycled plastic. Four photographs have been selected as our competition winners and these will appear on our Christmas e-card. Congratulations go to the following units who will be receiving a Region goody bag:

1st Baughurst Guides, Hampshire North
Crowthorne Rangers, Berkshire
8th Slough Rainbows and Brownies, Berkshire
1st Lydiard Tregoz Brownies, Wiltshire North



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Thanks and Recognition - Girlguiding Awards

Compass Award Badge Here is a worrying statistic: When adult volunteers were asked their reasons for leaving Girlguiding, 26.4% said this was down to receiving insufficient thanks and recognition.  Here is another equally worrying statistic:  Volunteers are most at risk of leaving Girlguiding within the first three years of service.

There are so many Girlguiding Awards which can be used to recognise the commitment of your fellow volunteers and helpers and to say ‘thank you’ for what they do to provide fantastic Guiding within the Region, yet this year the Region has presented less Silver Oak Leaf, less Compass and less Young Adult Leaders Awards than last year. 

The Region’s Awards Sub-committee meets twice a year to consider nominations for Region and national Girlguiding Awards and we need you to send in those nominations.  Think about the volunteers and helpers within your Unit, your District or Division, your County or Island.  Is there someone you know who has made an outstanding contribution and commitment to the promotion or advancement of Guiding within the Region and therefore deserves to receive a Silver Oak Leaf Award?  There is definitely someone you could nominate for a Compass Award which recognises the dedication of our members at a local level who give freely of their time on a regular basis to provide good quality Guiding.  Or how about nominating a Leader aged 18 to 30 who has done something special or remarkable – they could receive a Young Adult Leaders Award. 

You will find full details of all the Awards which are available from the Region and Girlguiding by clicking here and going to our Useful Downloads page.  We have produced a card to promote the Region’s Awards and this is being sent out with all our shop orders.  If you are a Commissioner and would like a supply of cards to hand out to your Leaders to encourage nominations, please contact .  Or you can download a copy of the card for free by clicking here.
The next Region Awards Sub-committee meeting is in January 2020 and the deadline for applications for consideration at that meeting is Friday 20th December 2019. 

If you have any questions about Awards and the process, please e-mail .

Click here to read about four of this year's Compass Award recipients.

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Chief's Charity Challenge 2021 - A Message from Carole Pennington

CaroleAre YOU up for the Chief's Charity Challenge 2021?

The Region is celebrating its 50th birthday in two years' time and we are planning a big event at Wincanton Racecourse on Saturday 22nd May 2021 for all Sections. As part of our big birthday celebrations and to mark the Region's commitment to social action, I am launching the Chief's Charity Challenge 2021 to raise money for 10 of your favourite charities. There are two parts to the Challenge and I would like to invite all Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Rangers, Young Leaders and Adult Volunteers to get involved.

Firstly I need the help of all our members to identify which charities we will be supporting. We have set up a very easy survey which I would like Leaders to complete, having asked the girls in their unit to name their favourite charities - click here to download a list of the charities to choose from, click here to complete the survey. The closing date for this part of the Challenge is Saturday 30th November 2019. The chosen charities will be announced in the Region's Newsletter in January 2020 and I will provide you with some information about them. I will also confirm how the money you raise should be sent to us.

Then the second part of the Challenge will begin when you start your fundraising! You can do this in any way you like, the choice is yours. (You will find lots of fundraising ideas on the Girlguiding Website - click here.) The closing date for this part of the Challenge is Thinking Day 2021. I hope to present the money raised to representatives of the 10 charities during our big birthday event at Wincanton Racecourse in 2021 and each unit taking part will receive a certificate to mark its involvement and recording the amount it has raised.

If every member raised £1, that would give us over £70,000 to divide between the 20 chosen charities. How fantastic would that be!

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Caitlin and Ella take on the Fast Food Giants!

‘Some young people are not content to wait around until grown-ups sort out the future of our planet.  Ella and Caitlin are two such young people.’  This was the opening line of the citation which Carole Pennington read at the Region’s Commissioners’ Conference in Winchester at the beginning of October when she presented Caitlin with Chief Commissioner's Awards for both herself and her sister. 

In October of last year Caitlin and Ella started thinking about the amount of plastic waste produced by the large burger restaurant businesses. They were both Brownies in Hampshire West at the time, Ella has now moved onto Guides.  They had been learning about plastic pollution at school and had already tried recycling as much plastic as they could at home, but wanted to do more. 

The sisters began with a ‘Save the Planet’ poster in a window and then began an on-line campaign: ‘We want fast food chains to think of the environment and stop providing children with plastic toys….  We want anything they give us to be sustainable so we can protect the planet for future generations.’  They encouraged their supporters to sign a petition and to write to the CEO’s of Burger King and McDonalds.

In June of this year the girls’ petition started to attract attention from the media and led to an appearance by Caitlin and Ella on the BBC1 programme, ‘War on Plastic with Hugh and Anita’ in which they helped take a trailer load of plastic ‘Happy Meal’ toys to the McDonalds UK HQ.  They were escorted off the property by a security guard.  Following the airing of the programme, Burger King contacted Caitlin and Ella to say that the matter had been passed on to the company’s management team and they hoped they could ‘make some changes in the future’.

Meanwhile the petition has gone viral amassing more than 550,000 signatures and the sisters have been included in CBBC’s Newsround’s 7 young climate activists from around the world. Burger King has now pledged to eliminate all plastic toys from its children’s meals and has also set up collection bins in all its UK restaurants for any unwanted free plastic toys including those given away with sweets and magazines.  These will then be melted down and re-used in Burger King’s UK restaurants for things such as new play areas.  Their UK CEO said ‘This move will save an estimated 320 tonnes of single use plastics annually.... We’d like to applaud Ella and Caitlin for their initiative’. McDonalds says it will aim to reduce the use of plastic saying, ‘UK customers will see more books/board games and soft toys.  This will see nearly 60% reduction in number of hard plastic toys [sic].’ 

And a final word from Ella, ‘I’m hoping this will provoke other big companies to do something.  I’m hopeful for the future.’

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Carole Pennington and Liz Brown Receive Prestigious Award

Carole and LizWe are delighted to announce that both Carole Pennington and Liz Brown have been presented with the Laurel Award which is given by Girlguiding in recognition of outstanding service to Guiding.

Carole’s presentation took place during Gloucestershire County’s 50th Celebration Camp at Deer Park on 31st July.  Carole then presented Liz with her Laurel Award at a special event held for Liz, her family and Guiding friends at St Ann’s Manor on 14th September.

Our congratulations to them both.





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Region Compass Award Presentation

Compass Award RecipientsOur annual Compass Award Presentation took place at The White Hart Hotel in Salisbury on Saturday 14th September.  Eighteen very worthy recipients and their guests were welcomed by Carole Pennington and as always it was an afternoon of celebration and an opportunity to recognise the contribution made by all the Region’s fantastic volunteers. 

We thought you would be interested to find out a bit more about a few of the ladies who received their Compass Award; it might help you to think of someone you know who should be nominated in the future!

Emma Brewer is a Leader with 1st Keynsham Guide Unit in Somerset North, and has also held the roles of District and Division Commissioner.  As District Commissioner Emma was involved in arranging a ‘Taster Day’ at the District Headquarters.  She explained:

‘I designed a flyer that we had printed and asked all the local schools to hand these out to all their eligible girls.  We then put adverts in the local papers, created a display to go in two areas in the local library and put up additional posters advertising the day in local Community Centres’.

The day was designed as a ‘drop-in’ with 30 minute sessions offering a sample of different Rainbow, Brownie and Guide activities.  Information was made available for the parents on the different units in the District and their meeting times, and Leaders were on hand to answer any questions.  There was also a laptop with internet access so girls could be registered before they left the building!  The day was obviously a great success and Emma said:

‘Initially we were unsure what the take-up would be but we found we had some girls waiting for us to “open” and some who originally were only going to call in briefly ended up enjoying it so much they stayed all morning!  Come the end of the day we’d signed up 12 new girls and one Leader so we considered it to be a great success and now have plans to run similar sessions every few years’.

Emma took the training aspect of her role as District Commissioner very seriously and told us, ‘I always liked to think that the Leaders in the District knew I was there to support them and as a volunteer had their best interests at heart’.  Prior to arranging any training sessions, Emma always spoke to the relevant Leaders to find out what time suited them best before confirming a date.  Where necessary smaller sessions or 1:1 sessions were held, or Emma would visit Leaders and pass on information if they had been unable to attend. 

Fleet Division Thank You BadgeAdult recruitment and thanks and recognition are two areas which Tracy Betteridge has focused on in her role as Fleet Division Commissioner in Hampshire North.  She has held various other roles across the Sections and in both a Division and District capacity, and is currently an Assistant Leader with 8th Fleet Guides. 

Tracy was at the forefront of Fleet Division’s participation in Hart Voluntary Action’s event which was held at a local shopping centre and was aimed at helping local voluntary organisations raise their profile and hopefully recruit new volunteers.  Tracy said:

‘It was important that the Division was there in order to represent Girlguiding, and so a number of us from the Division Exec gave an hour each to man our “stall”.  Although we didn’t have anyone sign up to volunteer on the day, I feel that it was important that we were there to raise the profile of Guiding, and who knows, maybe someone went away, thought about it and subsequently volunteered’.

As well as exploring ways to recruit new volunteers, Tracy is also keen to recognise the hours which existing volunteers give to Guiding and came up with the idea for a special Division badge (pictured) which was designed by Tracy’s daughter, Laura, and bears the message, ‘Thank you for giving more than an hour a week’.  The badges have been handed out to Leaders, Young Leaders and Unit Helpers at carol services and Thinking Day events within the Division ‘to acknowledge positive contributions made’.

Liz Cotterell is from Dorset and runs both Brownie and Guide units and is an Assistant Leader at a Rainbow unit.  We have been told that Liz ‘is an excellent Leader’, making sure that all the girls are able to participate in all the activities, and that she is particularly inclusive of girls with additional needs. 

Liz is also County Leadership Qualification Mentor and Going Away With Licence Mentor, Administrator for both Division and District, District ID Verifier, District Treasurer, Residential Adviser and Division Secretary.  She helps plan District events and supports other Leaders with their finances, admin and waiting lists on GO, running training sessions for individuals or small groups to explain the basics of GO and making herself available to help with any problems or queries. 

Sally Pugh has been ‘a committed and enthusiastic’ Leader of 45th Brentry Guides in Bristol & South Gloucestershire for the past 28 years.  Sally explained to us:

‘We are a Guide Unit that meets in the middle of a fairly large council estate with some very deprived families.  We are a fairly small unit but due to a grant we get each year from my employer we are financially secure.  Because of this we try to keep our costs to parents quite low.’

Sally explained that the unit can’t always participate in big events or organised camps because some of the girls wouldn’t be able to afford to go, but the Leaders do their best to offer activities that are inclusive to all, or they fundraise to help with the costs.  The girls are encouraged to participate in local and wider community activities and in 2017 the unit was awarded the Henbury and Brentry Community Award as the best youth group in the local area and specifically, ‘for providing a great mix of activities in a safe environment and for supporting the local community’.

If having read the above you think you know someone who deserves to be recognised for what they do for Guiding, please tell us about them!  Click here to go to the Useful Downloads page where you will find more information about all the Awards which are available to members and non-members.

Nominations need to be with us by Friday 20th December for consideration at the next Awards Sub-committee. Please don’t leave it to someone else to say thank you!

Pictured left to right are Tracy, Sally, Emma and Liz.

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Tidworth Guides Hold the Green... and the orange, and the pink, and the blue!

Glo-GolfWow! This looks fun! Tidworth Guides were recently asked what sport they would like to try - and they chose to play golf in the dark at Glo-Golf, Andover where they putted their way around the world from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Eiffel Tower using luminous golf balls. Helen Thompson sent the photographs in and told us the girls honed their golfing skills and finished the visit with milkshakes!


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1st Wyke Regis Rainbows Takes Part in Future Girl Acts

Plastic sculpturesMany thanks to Jane Macleod, Leader of 1st Wyke Regis Rainbow in Weymouth, for sending in this photo of some of the amazing sea creatures her Unit created from plastic waste as part of Girlguiding's Future Girl Acts to create a 'plastic free planet'. Featured are a hammerhead shark, sea cucumbers and puffer fish.

Jane explained, 'We started the meeting by chatting about all the sea creatures that we would like to see, and how some of them are getting low in numbers. We then talked about all the recycling that everyone had brought into the meeting, and how great it is that so many of us and the girls are recyling cthings. We then let them loose to create a model of a sea creature out of the plastic. They really enjoyed this activity and loved talking to the other girls about how they made them'.


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Region Grant Helps Ranger Plan Her Future!

Zoe with baby turtleSponsorship, fundraising, and a grant from the Region meant a member of 2nd Fleet Rangers was able to travel to Mexico in July on a Girlguiding International Trip.

Zoe has sent us some wonderful pictures and a story about her trip - 'Now I have been and would like to share my experiences with you. I thoroughly enjoyed it'. A visit to Mexico's Girlguiding HQ, a day at Our Cabana, and then three days working at a local school were followed by a very special time spent at two conservation centres feeding iguanas, incubating turtle eggs and cleaning crocodile tanks with the crocodile's still in residence! Zoe says, 'We were only in Cuyutlan for five days but these were the best five days of my life.... As a result of this trip I have found what I want to do for the rest of my life and am going to college next year to study Environmental Science, Biology, and Computer Science. I am hoping to do a Marine Conservation degree at University and change the planet'.

Zoe's Mum added, 'Zoe has got such a lot out of Girlguiding but this has to be the most important thing she has achieved. Thank you'.

Click here to read Zoe's story and to see some more pictures.

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Young Women in Governance Research Project (Motion 32)

Beth in deckchairA member from our Region attended the16th Guide and Scout Conference in Split, Croatia during August as one of two18-30 Representatives from Europe on the WAGGGS' Young Women Research Team. The Team's aim is to develop a better understanding of barriers stopping young women from taking up decision making roles within Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting, and to develop a global/regional and national strategy to improve the situation.

Beth sent in the story to us and said, 'I learnt lots about Guiding in the rest of Europe and met members from nearly every European membership organisation! Being surrounded by so many people who share the same interests and values as I do was really great'.

As well as supporting the Girl Global Research stand, Beth also ran a workshop, carried out interviews and gathered data for the Research Project, and was part of the team who came up with 'The Wall of Women', celebrating young European women in decision making roles within Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting which was displayed at the Conference. She told us, 'It was a very busy but interesting week'!

WAGGGS YWRT LogoThe Research Team would like to hear from members aged 18-30 who have ideas, comments, or personal experience which might be useful to the Project. They have set up a SurveyMonkey which can be completed entirely anonymously - click here. The data which is collected will be included in a report highlighting key findings and providing recommendations for improving the current situation. The report will be shared at the next WAGGGS World Conference in July 2020.

Click here if you are a Leader aged 30+ and would like to take part in the survey.





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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 Wyke Regis Rainbows
- 2nd Fleet Rangers - Zoe's Mexico Trip
- Awards from Girlguiding
- Brownies Campaign Against Plastics
- Chief's Charity Challenge 2021
- Christmas Card Competition Winners
- Compass Award Presentation
- Laurel Award for Carole and Liz
- Region Guiding
- Stories for Website - How to Submit
- Tidworth Guides' Visit to Glo-Golf
- Young Women in Governance Research

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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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