We are so excited to share the Christmas story written by our very own ambassador, Holly Webb.
Partnering with Tash from The Swish, we’re excited to be launching a brand-new annual fashion upcycling challenge pack, coinciding with Global Recycling Day on 18 March 2024.
Over the spring term, Girlguiding units complete creative challenges that educate them around sustainable fashion, and inspire them to start thrifting, upcycling and making their own clothes. Every challenge puts a spotlight on sustainability and are based around 5 themes of re-styling, re-working, re-gifting, researching, and discovering your unique style. The challenge will conclude with a fun catwalk session which we ask you to complete as close as you can to Global Recycling Day on 18 March 2024.
We are delighted to launch our unit transition resource, designed by a group of Queen's Guides candidates from around the South West region. They have created a girl-led resource to support young members as they move up through Guiding, with activities to help them reflect on their past, present and future as a Girlguiding member.
There is a central badge design which can then be added to as girls move through the sections. We hope the new resource will help to record memories of their time in their current unit, whilst looking forward to the next section up and all the exciting things still to come!
STEAM – Museum of the GWR, located in Swindon, Wiltshire, tells the story of the men and women who built, operated and travelled on the Great Western Railway. This railway network was designed by the great engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
We have put together an exciting challenge pack for you with activities suitable for all sections. The activities can be adapted to suit the circumstances of individual units.
On Friday 10 November, as part of UK Parliament Week which runs every November, girls from all sections visited the region office to attend a Q&A session with Caroline Nokes MP and our Making a Difference region ambassador, Eleanor.
We started the evening with a game of ‘If I were an MP’ with answers including ‘sweets for every Rainbow’, ‘free public toilets for everyone’ and ‘every girl should have the chance to be a Rainbow or Brownie’.
On Sunday 29 October, we ran our first Youth Voice event at Somerset County Cricket Club in Taunton. 60 girls and young women between the ages of 14-30 joined us along with 10 of our region ambassadors to learn skills to help them use their voice and empower and inspire them to make changes to the issues they’re passionate about. Mandy Hickson, our Reach for the Stars ambassador, opened the day with a talk about how she overcame challenges to become one of the first female fast-jet pilots in the RAF, telling stories of how she got to where she is today.
On Saturday 28 October we were joined by our fantastic new region ambassadors in Taunton to officially welcome them into the region Ambassador Scheme. The afternoon began with a welcome from Chief Commissioner, Laura Cottey, followed by an introduction to the scheme from Sarah-Jane, Communications and Engagement Manager. It was a chance for all our ambassadors to introduce themselves to each other and network with their peers.
We are delighted to announce our brand new partnership with the RNLI! We had a fantastic time at the RNLI college on Sunday 5th November celebrating the launch. Our ambassador, Caragh, met with Rangers and the team at RNLI to officially launch the resource, 'Mayday, Mayday'. Two of our wonderful volunteers, who were instrumental to the creation of this pack, Deborah and Janet, spoke about the importance of safety on the water and how we can instil confidence in our young members.
Finances should never be a barrier for a volunteer or young member to take part in Girlguiding, which is why we have created this grant scheme to support members.
Thanks to a generous grant from Girlguiding we are able to offer a new Cost of Living Support grant. Our Cost-of-Living Support Grant is available to Division/District/Units to help subsidise adult volunteers and young members guiding costs, in particular to help pay subscriptions for 2024.
For more information on how to apply, click here.
We hosted the second Region Office Open Day on Saturday 21st October. The rain did not dampen our spirits as we welcomed 100 members in to our cosy building to have a tour, complete some activities and enjoy some refreshments together. Our visitors met some of the Region team, got our badge and then took to the streets of Salisbury, armed with our Salisbury Monopoly-style challenge. One group completed the entire board (and all Chance cards!) in 2 hours and 35 minutes! Well done Team Austria reunion!
Thank you to all those that ventured out on a wet, grey day to see us and our characterful old building this weekend. We will be running more open days next year, so keep an eye out for dates.
Members of Inspire from across the Region gathered at Woodhouse Park on the 7th and 8th October. Participants had a go at climbing, archery, zorbing, rifle shooting, visiting Bristol Zoo Project, completing a challenge badge, make pizzas and of course a campfire!
Take a look through the photo album to see the amazing memories made!
To get involved with Inspire, click here.
We are delighted to welcome Anjana to our team of ambassadors!
Dr Anjana Khatwa is an Earth Scientist specialising in rock formations and natural landscapes, particularly on the Jurassic Coast. Anjana lives in Dorset with her husband and their three children in a house filled with rocks and fossils.
Anjana has had multiple publications and articles in journals and popular magazines such as Nature Geoscience and BBC Wildlife. She has also won multiple awards including the Royal Geographical Society Geographical Award, the RH Worth Medal by the Geological Society of London, and the prestigious Halstead Medal from the Geologists’ Association.
"Hello everyone, I'm really excited to be part of the Girlguiding South West England ambassador scheme.
I can't wait to work with you all on issues like our experience at school and how we can all feel safe on our local streets. I want to help you use your voice as well as show you the different ways you can get involved in your local communities. No matter where you are in the region, I want you to know that you really can make a difference and all girls can do anything!"
Eleanor currently works within the transport sector and has previous experience of being a local councillor in Wiltshire. She is passionate about empowering members and is happy to talk to girls and young women who may be interested in getting involved in local politics, as well as guidance around how to make a difference in your local areas - no matter how big or small, Eleanor believes that local action is key to change.
On Saturday 2 September two prestigious awards were presented to 30 incredible recipients at The White Hart, in Salisbury. Our Chief Commissioner, Laura Cottey, delighted in reading out the wonderful citations about what each recipient had achieved. It was a very moving and humbling day, hearing about accomplishments and good deeds done by our selfless and inspiring volunteers.
The first award, presented to 26 volunteers, was our prestigious Region Compass Award. It is awarded to recognise the dedication of our members at local level who give freely of their time on a regular basis to provide good quality Guiding to the girls in their unit and local area and to the benefit of the local community.
We are delighted to welcome Laura to the team and look forward to working with her!
“Hello everyone, I am a Brownie Leader (Eagle Owl to my Brownies!) in Somerset North County. I don’t remember a time when Girlguiding was not a part of my life. My mum took me to my first Guide camp when I was 18 months old. I also do not remember a time when I didn’t want to be an engineer and I can proudly say that I am a Doctor of Engineering, with 13 years of industry experience. There are not many women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and I am really passionate about changing this. Although originally qualified in Mechanical Engineering I have worked across many engineering disciplines, and I am usually the only woman on my team - and this has not really changed in those 13 years.
The 2023 Guiding Overseas Linked with Development (GOLD) project took place in St Lucia. Read about what team got up to here...
The focus of GOLD is on sustainable projects that making a lasting difference. St Lucia was an in-person project, and the first year of the GOLD project in this country. The main aims of the project were:
We are delighted to welcome the newest ambassador to the crew!
"Hi! I’m Debbie Janson, a Mechanical Engineer from Bath. I’ve worked in engineering for around 20 years across various industries and have worked on everything from cars to planes to packaging and seating. I now work at the University of Bath, teaching students how to work together in diverse teams and on real-world problems. I also conduct research, particularly looking at products and processes that have been historically designed around men, for example, hand tools (and many others!).
We are delighted to welcome Mandy to our amazing crew of ambassadors:
“Hi I’m Mandy Hickson and I was one of the first female fast jet pilots in the Royal Air Force (RAF). I have over 30 years’ experience within aviation, joining the RAF in 1994. I am now a keynote speaker, talking with humour and passion to inspire those around me.
I am so excited to become a Girlguiding South West England ambassador because my journey started exactly there. I remember the words in my Brownie promise that have guided me throughout my life. I’ve always tried my best, served the queen, and tried to help people. Girlguiding gives you the skills you need in life that you don’t always learn in school, and they have been some of the things that have helped me in my career as a pilot.
We are delighted to have had three special updates from Team Austria: 16 Rangers (& their 4 amazing leaders) hopped on a plane and began their Austrian Adventure! They started off in Salzburg for a few days of site seeing before venturing over to Scout Camp Austria to join 4,500 Scouts and Guides from across the world at Together 2023.
They have shared what they have been up to along the way. Read about their adventures here...
We are delighted to launch our newest ambassador, Holly:
“Hi, I’m Holly Webb, and I’m a Brownie and Guide Leader in Reading in Berkshire. I’ve been a leader for 26 years, and I love it, even though I’m starting to see my old Guides’ children come into Brownies now, which is a bit scary! For the last twenty years I’ve been a children’s author. It was actually creating pantos for my Guides to put on at Christmas that made me realise how much I love writing – so that’s definitely a huge thank you to Girlguiding!
Welcome to our newest Region Ambassador: Jude!
"Hi Everyone! My name is Jude Terry (it's actually Judith but I only get called that when I'm in trouble), and I'm the Royal Navy's first female Rear Admiral and the most senior woman in the Service. I've been in the Royal Navy for 26 years this year and am currently the Director of People and Training and the Naval Secretary which means I'm responsible for delivering the right number of capable, motivated, and employable people for the Royal Navy.
We are delighted to appoint two new wonderful Lead Volunteers for Communications - Gemma and Emma. The two will work as a team, strengthening communications throughout the Region, and providing help with all things related to comms. They will work closely with the Region office staff and Chief Commissioner Team to promote Guiding.
Is one of your volunteers heading off to University in September? Are they going to a University within the South West Region?
If yes, please help us to take steps to ensure they can stay in Guiding (if that's what they would like to do!). Our Region team can contact the relevant person in Guiding in the area that they are moving to, and help them get set up and feel warmly welcomed. We would love for our wonderful members to carry on their Guiding journey throughout their studies, and experience a smooth transition process.
We are delighted to introduce you to Jenny!
"Hi, I’m Jenny and I’m very honoured to be a Girlguiding South West England Ambassador.
I was a Guide many years ago and I am now a Rainbow Leader in Dorset. I am a mum of 4 and I am also a Dentist with my own practice. I am passionate about all things to do with health (physical and mental) and Girlguiding and would love to combine the two!
We are delighted to launch our newest Ambassador: Caragh!
"Hi everyone! My name is Caragh McMurtry, I'm a former Great Britain rower and Tokyo Olympian. I'm super excited to be a Girlguiding South West Ambassador as I love what Girlguiding represents - girls and women coming together, pushing boundaries, and learning valuable life lessons! As an Autistic woman who was unaware of her neurodivergence for many years, I had to learn the hard way how to navigate life and push my own boundaries.
Ever wondered how to do something about a cause you care about or use your voice within Guiding a little more? Maybe there’s a problem you want to speak up about. Empower is all about you using your voice for the things that matter to you and exploring issues that are important to girls and young women now. Come along to learn the skills to use your voice and feel empowered to leave the world, and your Guiding experience, a little better than you found it.
We are delighted to launch our newest ambassador for Girlguiding South West England.
“Hi, I’m Christelle and I am passionate about football! My love of football began when I was 6, and ever since I have dedicated myself to improving my skills both as a player and as a coach. Throughout my journey, I have witnessed how sport can change lives, especially for young girls. Because I have experienced it first hand, I believe that football can help build self-confidence, resilience and promote teamwork in individuals, and I am committed to creating opportunities for girls to excel in a sport that has brought so much to my life.
As a South West Region Ambassador, I am looking forward to organising exciting and inclusive football sessions. Drawing from my 40+ years knowledge and experience in the game, I will introduce fun training sessions, football games and festivals, promote friendship and maybe even inspire the next ‘lioness’.
The first of our Night With The Tigers event was a huge success! Units from across the Region had a fantastic time at Dartmoor Zoo, taking part in workshops on close encounters, animal enrichment and animal behaviour, organised by the zoo’s education team. Girls and their leaders got a chance to get up close and personal with giant African snails, stick insects and even stroke real tiger fur.
The girls then set up camp and had a group BBQ before taking part in a dusk zoo trail competition and twilight tour before settling in for bed. The next day the girls had the opportunity to complete some of the ‘Night with the Tigers’ resource pack activities that was created by Girlguiding South West England in conjunction with the zoo.
For your Guiding event, to help spread the word!
The chatterbox is a cute activity that is sure to spark some nostalgia, and the friendship bracelet template can be easily printed on card - for use with embroidery thread to make gorgeous bracelets. Your guests can take these away and then have something to remember their day - featuring the 'Join Us' web address.
We are delighted to launch our first Region Ambassador, Brogan!
"Hi, I’m Brogan! I’m a Digital Content Creator making travel, home and lifestyle vlogs on YouTube. I’ve been doing it for over a decade and love sharing my daily life and adventures. I volunteer as a Rainbows Unit Helper in Bournemouth, and I’m now also proudly a Girlguiding South West England Ambassador. I will be supporting volunteers and girls at Region events, meetings and workshops, making links in local communities and my professional network, and using my voice regularly to promote the aims of the charity.
The Cotswold Marathon is an overnight winter hike around Gloucester and the Cotswold hills for Scouts and Guides. The event requires a level of fitness, determination and stamina to negotiate the course, carrying full kit so that walkers are prepared for whatever the weather throws at them. Longlevens Guides start training from December until the event in February so that everyone has some knowledge of the route and what they are letting themselves in for.
We held our first parent/girl Roadshow event of 2023 on Sunday 21 May at Cholderton Rare Breeds Farm in Wiltshire. Around 300 girls and their families enjoyed a family day out in the gorgeous sunshine!
The day kicked off with an introduction from Laura, our wonderful Chief Commissioner, who showcased the opportunities that we offer our 45,000 members across our 16 diverse Counties and Islands. The girls took to the stage to act out highlights from their time in Guiding including their favourite trips and memories, while Laura talked about the fun and adventures we have planned for the next year.
Welcome to the Girlguiding South West England social media toolkit! This toolkit has been created to help you make the most out of your social media presence and engage with your community online. It is a work in progress, and we will be adding more and more content all the time, so please do keep checking back for updates.
Social media is an important part of today's world and it can be a powerful tool for Girlguiding. By using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you can reach out to potential members, keep current members informed and engaged, and promote your local events and activities.
We are so excited about our Region Office Open Day on 9th August 2023! We will be welcoming members (as groups of volunteers or Units) with complimentary refreshments, following a tour of our beautiful building and garden.
Guests will then be given the opportunity to complete a Guiding activity, creating something to take away and remember the day. You will meet the Region team, and have the opportunity to ask any questions that you may have. You will then be able to browse in the Region shop, and purchase your Region Office badge (£1). Complete your day with our Salisbury Monopoly Challenge (all sections), and get to know our medieval city.
This challenge has been designed for the public as part of The Big Help Out, to encourage people to volunteer within Girlguiding, whilst showcasing what Guiding is all about. It will demonstrate the wonderful opportunities that are available to our members.
This challenge is open to any adult who is not currently a member of Girlguiding. It is an opportunity for you to find out more about us, discover the fun we have in Girlguiding and see how you can support us in a variety of different ways. To complete your Tri-Guiding Challenge we are encouraging you to do three things to support your local Girlguiding groups.
The Pax Lodge Inspire Weekend, which took place from 17th - 19th March 2023, was an opportunity for 18-30 aged Guiding members from across the South West Region to come together for a weekend of fun, friendship and lots of laughter!
The Friday night kicked off with a social space and Inspire Picnic, with mountains of food to go around as well as some badge sewing, crafts and games. Many members completed the Pax Lodge challenge around the centre and got to know the members of staff and volunteers working during the weekend.
We are excited to be working on a number of ideas in support of the King’s Coronation Big Help Out. Full details of these will be revealed shortly.
We have a fantastic reputation for volunteering and giving service, and aim to promote this widely across the Region. This will to help us to recruit more volunteers so that even more girls and young women can benefit from what we do.
We will also be providing a fun challenge for families, friends, colleagues and members of our community to try, so they can learn more about us. It will be open to all adults who are not already members and there will be a small reward for those who complete it before the end of October 2023.
Girlguiding South West England hosted an event at Southampton Art Gallery on Wednesday 8th March. The event was opened by Dame Judith MacGregor DCMG LVO, and guests included the founders of Neurodiverse Sport, the Sheriff of Southampton, the Labour Leader of Southampton Council, and Hampshire FA, along with Girlguiding members.
This challenge pack promotes diversity and inclusion, and encourages girls to think about others and the differences between us all. It highlights some physical and mental issues that people may face, and how to adapt to ensure they are given equal opportunities. It looks at communication methods, sensory and medical needs, and the impact of different backgrounds and cultures.
Can you help us inspire and reach even more girls and young women? Do you have a specialism that you want to promote? Or do you know someone else who you think would be a great representative for our Region? We are looking for nominations for candidates to become part of our newly launched Region Ambassador scheme! Please see the role description and complete the expression of interest form if you are interested in becoming an ambassador.
Our South West England Representative, Natalie Lawrence, reports on her experiences at the Juliette Lowe Seminar:
"Since moving to SWE in 2018, I have wanted to explore the myriad of opportunities that Girlguiding has to offer in the county, region and international spheres. My time came when I was selected in June 2022 to participate in the Juliette Lowe Seminar (JLS) for 2022/23 – something completely out of my comfort zone, which filled me equally with nerves and excitement! The JLS runs until June 2023 and over 500 women aged 18-30 from over 80 countries participate in activities run by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). The focus is on reducing particular barriers faced by young women in the world today.
We would love to welcome Abiee Harris to the team, as our new Lead Volunteer for Youth Voice and Participation.
"Hi all, I’m Abiee I’m from Hampshire East. Making sure girls have a voice, be that in their unit, as part of a county or region role, or to the wider world is so important. I can’t wait to meet a whole bunch of inspiring girls and young women over the next couple of years."
Abiee can be contacted on
Many volunteers told Girlguiding that they struggled to book onto a course within the 120 day renewal timeframe. So Girlguiding have now extended it to 180 days (just under six months). When you log into the learning platform, you will be able to see when you can renew – this will be highlighted in orange, if it is showing green you will not be able to renew just yet. You can complete your training any time after then and still keep your original expiry date. When you next come to renew, it is three years from your original expiry date.
We are really looking forward to hearing about what you get up to, for World Thinking Day 2023! If you are taking part in the event, please join the Facebook group where we can share ideas and post updates.
We will be showcasing what girls, units and families will be doing on our website and social media. If you would like to submit stories, photos or videos, please email them to Yasmyn at
Our very own Beth Brown was given the amazing opportunity to join her peers at the WAGGGS Academy in Lithuania. Hear below how she got on!
Held in Vilnius, Lithuania, I feel very lucky to have been able to spend fours days at the 2022 SG Academy taking part in a variety of workshops hosted by WAGGGS [World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts] and WOSM [World Organisation of the Scout Movement].
Girlguiding South West England are delighted to have launched two brand new grants available to Units in our Region.
Laura Cottey, Chief Commissioner, says:
'We are delighted to be launching two important new grants to help our members during these difficult financial times. The first is the cost of living grant aimed at supporting those units that need it most to pay for subscriptions in 2023 but it can also be used for flexible volunteering and other activities that units are unable to afford. The second is the Volunteer Welcome Grant. We want to make sure our units can make the most of volunteers wanting to join us over the coming months so this grant will help towards subscription costs and helping a new volunteer start their guiding journey.'
We are excited to share our brand new ‘Thank you’ badge collection. The set has been designed so that you are able to thank the same person, more than once, and the recipient can collect them all and build up the segments to complete the set.
You can buy them individually or together:
UK Parliament Week (UKPW) is an annual event, spreading the word about what Parliament is, what it does and how you can get involved. Some of our units are taking part, to help girls get informed about our UK Parliament, take action and make an impact on the issues they care about. This is what the girls in our Region have got up to this parliament week...
Well done to all our members who have been fundraising for BBC Children in Need and Girlguiding. You’ve all done a fantastic job. It’s not too late to get involved or donate. Visit https://bit.ly/3X2DBnt. See below some of the amazing ways our Units have been fundraising money:
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 much-anticipated ‘Try, Inspire and Qualify’ (TIQ) weekend took place at Foxlease on the weekend of 9-11th September. Around 100 adult members from all over the Region joined together to try out new activities and meet like-minded people.
Our new region challenge is inviting you to SHARE all the wonderful things you do in Girlguiding! We want you to Shout out about the amazing things you do with your units, share lots of Happy news stories, Advertise your unit, Reach out to your community and Encourage new members to join us.
The concept of Lone guiding has existed almost as long as Girlguiding – the first Lone Guide Company was established in 1912 by Agnes Baden-Powell. Lone members work towards the Girlguiding programme in their own time, using friends or family for group activities, and accessing resources and support from Leaders via email or through the post.
Over the last 11 months, the Chief Commissioner Team have shared conversations across the Region with girls, young women and volunteers to inform the new Strategy for the Region. We are now delighted to present you with an ambitious plan reflecting on the challenges of the past few years, but with optimism and excitement as we look to a future as an organisation that truly makes a significant difference to the lives of girls and young women in the Region.
Girlguiding Inspire is the name for the 18-30 Guiding community. You can find out more on the Girlguiding Website - click here.
We have created a badge to celebrate Girlguiding Inspire SWE which is available for anyone to buy at just £1.00 plus postage and packing. Our necker which has been designed exclusively for the Region, is priced at £13.50 - but please note that membership details will be checked before despatch so please do not place an order for the necker unless you are a Girlguiding Inspire SWE member.
Click here to go to the Region's online shop.