On Sunday 6 November, Girlguiding South West England hosted our annual Compass Awards Ceremony in Salisbury, Wiltshire, to celebrate the fantastic volunteers that we have in our Region. The awards ceremony, held at The White Hart Hotel in Salisbury, was attended by the award recipients and their guests, as well as Region Office Staff (and the Chief Commissioner team), the Awards Committee, and President. The celebration event was followed by professional photographs, and an afternoon tea.
The Region Compass Award can be gained by any adult volunteer aged 18 or over and recognises the dedication of our members at local level who give freely of their time on a regular basis to provide good quality and exceptional Guiding to the girls and young adults in their Unit(s) and local area. Volunteers across the Region were nominated to receive this prestigious discretionary honour by other members and young members in Girlguiding South West England for their inspirational efforts.
This year saw 36 incredible volunteers receive a South West England Region Compass Award for their commitment to Girlguiding. Amongst the recipients included an intensive care nurse, teachers, a Church Warden, a musician, and a high-ropes instructor, all of whom give their free time to run Units, train others and support the hundreds of girls and young women who they meet. The volunteers have shown great resilience particularly during the last 2 years when Guiding had to be delivered virtually while we lived in the pandemic. As soon as they could, they were keen to return to face-to-face Guiding, ensuring every girl was given as many opportunities as possible.
Two of the recipients, Nicki Ormerod and Steph Porter, were invited to talk on BBC Radio Cornwall and BBC Radio Guernsey to discuss what was like to be a volunteer in Girlguiding and why others should get involved.
Speaking on BBC Radio Cornwall with Laura Cottey, Chief Commissioner for Girlguiding South West England, Nicki said: “I get a huge satisfaction when I see the confidence of the girls grow, when they achieve things and go out of their comfort zones. Receiving an award is hugely humbling as I don’t feel I do anything different that someone else wouldn’t do, but maybe I do”.
Steph, who appeared alongside Racheal Tattum, Deputy Chief Commissioner, on Monday morning’s BBC Guernsey Breakfast Show (7 November) echoed Nicki’s sentiment, stating: “You’re given opportunities to not only be part of a team but a chance to lead teams. It’s great to see girls gaining confidence because they are given some responsibility. It not only helps in your Guiding life but also in your non-Guiding life too”.
Like many of the other recipients, Steph started in Girlguiding as a Rainbow aged 5 years old, carrying on throughout the different sections until she became a Leader herself and has not known a time without Girlguiding in her life.
The effects of these volunteers can be seen in the hundreds of members (now over two generations) they have supported. They are all worthy recipients of the South West England Region Compass Award. Congratulations to every single one of you.