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In December 2021, Girlguiding Anglia released our Together We Inspire survey. This gave us great feedback on region improvements, as well as ways in which Girlguiding as a whole can develop. There are different ways Anglia volunteers and staff can influence change makers at Girlguiding, which we will continue to do. However, there is a much more direct way that you can get involved, have your voice heard and influence future development. This is through being a member of the ‘Insight Pool’.

What is the insight pool and where can I find out more?
The insight and innovation pool is a collection of volunteers, girls and parents that Girlguiding use to make sure members’ voices are at the heart of their projects and decisions. Signing up is quick and easy and you’ll be contacted about a range of opportunities to have your say for a period of two years. These might be surveys, interviews, group discussions, testing activities or reviewing policies. You can read more directly on Girlguiding’s page (click here).

Have any members from Anglia got involved?
Yes, we know of a number of volunteers that have been called to take part in Girlguiding projects because of their registration in the insight and innovation pool. Some examples are:

  • Research into Girlguiding’s websites
  • Potential changes to roles
  • A specific project looking at the commissioner role
  • Research about the LQ and now consultation about the future leader development programme and other leader in training development
  • Testing the new learning platform
  • Reviewing policies
  • Review of the Notification of Accident or Incident form
  • Start of a project to support volunteers to write terms and conditions for trips
  • Interviews to measure the value and benefits of guiding and its impact

Whilst we haven’t found an Anglia member that has had their say about the programme flexibilities – we know Girlguiding have recently made changes that were introduced during the pandemic. This is now a permanent feature thanks to volunteers that got in touch and described why they felt this was important to keep. You can find out more about that decision here (click for Girlguiding’s blog).

What do people say about their experience in the insight pool?
It’s really important that members’ needs come first and this is a great way to talk directly to the teams that are delivering projects. You can agree to do as much or as little as you have time for and you can opt out of topics that don’t interest you as much. We spoke to Sarah, who is involved in the leaders in training project and this is what she said about volunteering in the insight pool:

I’ve really enjoyed being part of the project. I was keen to work with other volunteers from across the region, sharing my knowledge and experiences and learning from theirs. I worked on the project at times that worked for me and ‘met’ colleagues over Zoom. I’ve gained new skills and built some great relationships with others whom I wouldn’t otherwise have met and have since had more opportunities to get involved in other projects that interest me.

– Sarah, Assistant Leader and Trainer in Essex North East

What’s it like to be in a team that use the experiences of the insight pool to develop a project?
Girlguiding staff are professionals and have lots of experience managing projects, working with volunteers and hold knowledge of the charity sector. Some staff also volunteer in their hobby time, but don’t unit level volunteer or parent – like some of the members of the insight pool. This is why the insight pool is so valuable, as diversity is important. We spoke to Emily, previously a lead volunteer within Girlguiding UK International Team who used members of the insight pool to develop an international strategy. Emily said:

It was my job to plan the session and ask questions / facilitate discussions with the group. We made sure everyone had the chance to share their thoughts and there was no such thing as a silly idea or something too small to be important. It was a really great way for our team to gain insight into how international guiding is perceived and represented at a grass roots level. Afterwards, the staff and volunteer team were able to write our strategy knowing that we had the views of a wide range of members captured.

– Emily, previously a lead volunteer within the Girlguiding UK International Team

How do I get involved?
It’s quick and easy to sign up and you can opt out whenever you like. Just pop over to this page on the Girlguiding website (click here) to read more details and scroll down to ‘Other important things to know’ and ‘Sign me up!

Hi all,

Friendship and fun outdoors, is where the last few weeks have taken me. I know many of you will have been away or planning to go away with your units and enjoying those special times!

I recently attended Suffolk counties leaders day held a Hautbois, it was great to see many leaders enjoy activities on offer and enjoying catching up in the lovely surroundings. The sun was shining, and it was lovely to meet leaders from the county. This week, I have also been to Bedfordshire County camp, held at Shuttleworth, and was made very welcome by all.  Camping is great fun and I know the hard work leaders put in to make it all happen. For a weeks camp, there is always the day when we say  “No more, I’m too tired for this” and then we girls have so much fun and enjoyment, we do it all over again! So thank you to you all for that extra commitment in many these events happen.

Many of units will be attending Lincolnshire Poacher next week and I will be there for the day on Wednesday, so please come over and chat if you see me.  I’m at another camp the following week ‘East meet West’,  our two Cambridgeshire counties joining together for a Camp and day activities too. I will there Thursday evening and looking for to seeing everyone.

In this month’s Discover and Grow, you may have seen the focus on celebrating friendship, and recognising the International Day of Friendship, where we celebrate the friendship between countries and cultures, building bridges and breaking down barriers.  Guiding gives us so many opportunities to make new friends and some friendships that last a life time. In this way, guiding is a very social organisation to belong to.

We also make memories, I went to see Gang show 90 at Hammersmith Apollo earlier this month. Well done to all those members from our region that took part. It was a great show and reminded me of the good times I had taking part on Peterborough Gang show for many many years. One of the traditional Ralph Reader songs takes me back to friendship and memories . With these words,

“We’ve been making memories we are very smart

Well take each little memory and lock in pocket of your heart “

Fun, friendship and making memories is what we give our members, and that includes us as adult volunteers. So take time to catch up with friends and make more memories.

Take care, keep smiling,


A change of pace for the month, time to take stock and get your ducks in a row for the autumn, or just a space for doing less, taking a break, getting to camp and enjoying the outdoors.

Girlguiding has introduced an item in their volunteer newsletter celebrating International Day of Friendship which falls this year on 30 July; see the UN site for more information

and our webpage here

On that page you can explore Fuzzy friends, Brownie town, My support chain and Allies unite!

The areas of focus chosen are empathy, diversity and allyship. Do you know if empathy is one of your strengths? How would you develop more empathy if you felt it was lacking? It is something we can develop. Showing an interest in those around you without leaving yourself out would be a start. Self-empathy is essential, being kind to yourself and doing something you love doing and planning it in for this month. You might like to include a space for rejuvenation if you are feeling exhausted, for those hobbies or interests that matter to you. A re-charge month.

There’s some interesting and useful worksheets on this site:

Diversity has been on our minds recently and a Pride celebration is coming up soon in our county here at region office. We are feeling the excitement of preparing for a successful, fun and inclusive participation. What do you think about when you hear the word ‘diversity’? Check out the inspiring background to how the national diversity and inclusion, and programme teams created the Know Myself materials;

And this blog about diversity and the walking scheme:

Hoping you can relax this month, find an ally, get some walking in and reflect on your wonderful abilities and traits. Until the next time!

Where do you belong? Where are the spaces and places you feel safe? Who are the people you feel like you can be your whole, truest self with?  

For me, one of those places is Girlguiding Anglia, whether I’m with my local district leaders supporting a Thinking Day event, leading a group of volunteers in A Safe Space training, or zooming with the trustees helping to make decisions about the future of the region. However, I know that isn’t always true for everyone else. Girlguiding have been working hard to develop the ways we include everyone and you can find out more here:

In my role, as learning and development lead for Girlguiding Anglia, I am overseeing a project to explore what we can do to improve things and I’m going to need your help!

The project is starting by looking at the training for volunteers across the region. It’ll be considering the types of sessions offered, how they are offered, the resources used and the team who offer them – along with lots of other things, as they become clear to us. 

To kick this off we’ve created a survey; we need your voice, because my voice alone is not going to make change! The survey is open until 22 August 2022,  and will be sent to everyone on our mailing list, however, we know not everyone gets our region newsletter, Signpost – so here’s the survey Inclusivity Project Survey (

Please do share this page to your unit team, so we can hear from as many of you as possible. We’ve also included questions about mental health, because we have some work happening in this area too and there are some clear overlaps, so please do respond to those questions as well.  

Once we’ve got the results, we’ll analyse them to find out what you think, what you need and what Girlguiding Anglia can do to be even more inclusive. 

Next steps – I’ll be inviting volunteers onto a task and finish group to develop some of the ideas and take the action needed. We especially want to include you in the T&F group if you’ve felt underrepresented or unheard in Girlguiding but of course, everyone is welcome to apply.  

You can hear more about this opportunity and express your interest in joining the T&F group by emailing me at and typing ‘Inclusivity Project’ in the subject – you can expect to receive more information from me by the beginning of September.


Fiona Joines, Learning & Development Lead for Girlguiding Anglia