Blog / May 13th, 2021
A Welcome Return To Face-To-Face Guiding In The Anglia Region
As Covid-19 restrictions gradually lift, Girlguiding Anglia is celebrating the return to face-to-face guiding and the exciting prospect of having adventures indoors and outdoors together again. For many girls it will be just over a year since they last met face to face and a welcome return after months of lockdown and meeting together online. Guiding is providing an invaluable role during this unprecedented time, supporting girls’ mental health and wellbeing during and as we recover from the pandemic, helping to build confidence, have fun and develop skills for their future – which has now never been more needed.
Girlguiding CEO, Angela Salt OBE says: “It is wonderful that we can now see a return to face to face guiding after what has undoubtedly been a challenging year. The impact the pandemic has had on all young people will not disappear overnight, guiding and other youth organisations have an important role to play in recovery and continuing to support young people by providing a constant in their world.”
Girlguiding, with support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, will continue to provide a blended offer as restrictions ease, to include indoor, outdoor and online guiding opportunities, creating lots of flexibility for both girls and volunteers across the Anglia region.
Rudy, a Guide leader from Cambridgeshire says; “I’m really looking forward to getting back to face to face guiding so that we can enjoy some of the fun and adventure we are so good at. Many of my girls haven’t actually met in real life as they have joined the unit in the last year so it will be great to see how they react to the activities in real life. Whilst Guiding online has helped my wellbeing throughout the last year, I will be glad to have some normality back and to be able to do the hands-on activities we have so missed. I’m sure the parents will be glad that the mess the girls create isn’t in their kitchens any longer too, and they have to clear up after themselves at guides!”
Similarly, to other youth sector charities the pandemic has had a significant impact on Girlguiding, both regionally and nationally, with a 32% dip in young membership in the Anglia region since 2020, which is largely linked to a significant decrease in young members joining during the pandemic year. In the last year sadly 17,032 young people have dropped out of guiding and 1,484 volunteers have left their roles in Anglia (a drop of 13%) due to the pressure of Covid-19 and personal situations.
With the increasing need to support girls now, Girlguiding is appealing for volunteers in Anglia to help girls and young women through the recovery, providing opportunities for them to have fun, learn new skills and support their wellbeing, whilst enriching their own lives.
Two out of every three members has stayed with Girlguiding during an extremely challenging time, an achievement made possible by the support of its amazing volunteers keeping girls connected during the pandemic by delivering virtual guiding (and face-to-face when restrictions allowed).
“We encourage adults to join the guiding community as volunteers; the benefits of volunteering are fantastic – from meeting new people, to gaining skills and knowing that you are making a positive contribution to the lives of girls and young women, at a crucial time” adds Angela Salt OBE.
Girlguiding relies on volunteers to run local groups in communities across the UK and is appealing now as we begin to ease out of lockdown, for more adult volunteers to join and make a difference to the lives of a new generation of girls and young women, launching a targeted recruitment campaign seeking to motivate volunteers to join where they are needed most. As a result of the pandemic, Girlguiding Anglia has hundreds of girls across the region waiting to join units and so are actively recruiting for volunteers.
Rudy from Cambridgeshire shared why volunteering as a Guide leader is so important to her. She says, “I volunteer for Girlguiding to give girls opportunities to grow into strong independent young women. This past year has shown how resilient the girls are and I can’t wait to celebrate getting back some normality with them.”
Throughout the past year Girlguiding has continued to support and keep girls and young women motivated, inspired and thriving whilst at home with its virtual guiding offer. The charity responded to the pandemic in a matter of days, launching its Adventures at home online hub of activities open to all children and their families across the UK, to help them continue to have fun, build resilience and support their wellbeing. And units turned to virtual guiding to continue supporting girls and keep them connected during lockdown and beyond.
Girlguiding estimates over 188,000 individual girls (over three quarters of members) have taken part in a virtual meeting since the start of the pandemic. The digital divide and other economic factors however have stopped many young people from taking part in guiding. Often these are the young people that have needed guiding the most, leaving many isolated and lonely.
As recognised in recent research by girls and young women, group activities and youth clubs have helped them cope throughout the pandemic. Girls say that being part of Girlguiding during the pandemic has helped them to feel more connected and less lonely (65%), be able to help others (31%) and supported their mental health and wellbeing (47%). (https://www.girlguiding.org.uk/globalassets/docs-and-resources/research-and-campaigns/back-in-lockdown-report.pdf)
If you are interested in volunteering to support young women across the Anglia region, visit: www.girlguiding.org.uk/get-involved/become-a-volunteer/register-your-interest
For more information on Girlguiding Anglia, visit: www.girlguiding-anglia.org.uk