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A couple of months ago, I shared that we were able to support units with over £6000 worth of support towards subscription payments. This month I caught up with Sylv of 2nd Westcliff Rangers, a unit that received £160 towards their subscription invoice. At the beginning of our project, 2nd Westcliff Rangers had 1 Ranger. By subscription time, that had increased to 6 Rangers. We know increasing capacity and girl numbers close to subscriptions can make budgeting a bit tricky and so we offered the unit some money towards this important bill. I caught up with Sylv to hear how the unit had grown and how the money had impacted them.

Hey Sylv, your Ranger unit has really grown in the last year. Can you tell other volunteers what has worked so well for your unit?

The unit has grown from 2 girls (one YL) who didn’t want to leave Guides. Now our Guides meet weekly and Rangers fortnightly. We invite 13+ Guides to come along to Rangers. This has really helped with keeping girls in guiding past their 13th birthday, it’s now natural to just move up to Rangers.

What fun activities does your unit like to do?

Our Guides and Rangers are very active in guiding. Last term we had a ‘Ready Steady Cook your lunch on a budget’ day as we were saving every penny towards the subscription bill in February.

Most of our group were involved in the 30th Gang Show in Southend held every alternate February Half Term. I have always encouraged my Guides to sign up as it’s such a fabulous experience giving girls additional confidence and a completely different circle of local friends, many of which they keep for life. 5 of the 16 Rangers and 5 of the 22 Guides appearing in the show were ours. Rehearsals start in September, and it is a huge commitment alongside attending Guides/Rangers.
One Ranger said:

Gang show meant seeing friends and having fun with them, making memories, and learning unforgettable dances and singing that we still do every Ranger night!

Many of our group are attending Hautbois Fest in August and they’re really looking forward to the festival experience – music, adventure and spending time with friends.

You called me your Fairy Godmother when I wrote to you to offer you the funding. Can you tell me what it means to your unit?

I’d just told the other guiding volunteers that we should focus our fundraising efforts on the Rangers group this term. Paying our subscription bill was going to wipe out our savings pot. We were booked on a CluedUpp CSI day on Saturday 13 April as a celebration after the February Gang Show. The grant means we can now think of doing something else with them in the summer term too.

Tell me a bit more about the CSI day, what did the girls think?

7 of our group went on a murder mystery event in Chelmsford, where 4 people had been found dead. Guided by a mobile app the girls had to hunt for clues, solve cryptic puzzles and interrogate virtual witnesses. They competed with other general public teams, primarily adults, to see who the best detectives were. This is the official report from our group in their own words:

This was a great day out and a very challenging exercise. We should have spent more time reading the lengthy instructions as it took us the first half hour to work out what we needed to do. However, when we did, it was good fun. We suffered network problems but we managed to eventually work out who the murderer was. The weather was beautiful, we ate our packed lunches in the sunshine, pausing the challenge and enjoying some down time with our friends. A large challenge was to walk though Primark, the fastest route, without stopping to look! Our day concluded by eating delicious ice creams before catching the bus back home. We would recommend this type of activity. We felt it was too complicated for Guides, but it would certainly challenge any Ranger/Adult groups.

That sounds like a lot of fun and very age appropriate for those older Guides and Rangers. Is there anything else you’ve done differently since the grant?

After we received the grant, I went shopping and bought the ingredients to make DIY Easter eggs, which the girls had asked to do. The grant really helped as I didn’t feel panicky about spending money. They are good girls and have not asked to do many activities needing bought resources since we opened as they are aware of finances. It was wonderful to treat them.

It was great to catch up with Sylv. If your unit has welcomed new Guides or Rangers this year, I’d love to hear your story and share it in a future blog. Do get in touch.

If you’ve enjoyed this blog and would like to read more about the project head to our first blog.

Next month’s blog coming in June. Last month’s blog

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We’re officially at the end of year 1 of the project but it will take a few more weeks to finish counting up all the new spaces we’ve created for Guides and Rangers. In the last month though, we’ve opened another new unit. Welcome to 1st Chiswell Green Guides, we hope you have had a great first half-term. They are our 10th new Guide or Ranger unit in the project. We’re aiming for 14 new units in total.

In last month’s blog I wrote about the £6000 financial support for units with subscription costs. In March, we were able to offer nearly £4000 in Girlguiding vouchers to support units that have increased their capacity. These have been spent on a whole range of things from uniform for new young leaders and unit helpers to promise badges and handbooks for new Guides. More than 1 unit are buying this term’s badges with their vouchers. They will then spend the money they would have spent on badges on items from their wish list to support their growing unit.

Spring is a time of change and new growth and that is definitely true for guiding as well as nature. I enjoyed reading Girlguiding’s new support page for parents and carers. It tells adults everything they need to know about their child’s Girlguiding experience. From where to go for support to what our programme looks like and how parents and carers can support the unit and their child get the most out of their time with us.

Our membership experience survey is also a chance for us to reflect and grow. We heard over 750 responses between December 2023 and February 2024.  Do head over to our blog where we share what we’ve heard from our members and what we’ve done in response. This will always be the place to see the small ways that Girlguiding Anglia serves you, our amazing volunteers.

If you’ve enjoyed this blog and would like to read more about the project head to our first blog.

Next month’s blog. Last month’s blog

Return to the member support page

We’re coming to the end of the first year of our project made possible by the Uniformed Youth Fund. In this blog I’m looking back to what we’ve achieved in that time. I’m also looking forward to what’s to come in year 2 as we welcome more 10-18 year olds and help them learn that girls can do anything.

In February, I shared the great news that we have met our target to increase the number of spaces we have available to girls in existing units. We’ve smashed that target by creating 811 new spaces. This month, I can share that we have met our target to welcome 65 new volunteers in project areas – in fact, we have welcomed 75! Our final target to achieve is to open 14 new Guide or Ranger units and we’re at 9 so far. Read this interview with newly opened 1st Thedwastre Guides, it’s still one of my highlights of last year.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve agreed financial support for 29 different units that have been part of the project. That’s a total of over £6,000 granted to support them this coming term. It’s been a busy month so I’m grateful for the extra day with the leap day!

Here’s what is coming in year 2 of the project:

March 2024 onwards – we’ll open 5 more Guide or Ranger units.

We’ll continue with our volunteer recruitment campaign by supporting county shows in the summer and freshers fairs in the autumn. I’ll support local divisions with their recruitment activities and we’ll provide training to help volunteers welcoming new recruits. Take a look at our 4 steps to recruitment success training for an example. (Bookings for the next training, close on 5 March.)

Summer term – we’ll launch a new unit support pack

Spring term 2025 – we’ll offer financial support for eligible units for subscription fees.

If you’ve enjoyed this blog and would like to read more about the project head to our first blog.

Next month’s blog. Last month’s blog

Return to the member support page

January was a very busy month for the Uniformed Youth Fund project. We started the year with lots of data crunching and preparing reports for our funders. We’re really pleased to share that we’ve met one of our targets – to increase capacity in existing units by 342 spaces. Over 90 units have reviewed and updated their capacity on GO and then gone on to welcome new Guides or Rangers. We’ve created 811 new spaces so smashed our target. Of those spaces, we’ve welcomed 403 new girls so that’s hundreds of extra girls learning that they can do anything.

If you were one of those units, do get in touch. We’d love to hear what you did to prepare for new girls and share your success on next month’s blog.

Over the next month or two, we’ll be financially supporting those units that are eligible with payments towards Girlguiding’s subscription payment. If your unit is eligible, I’ll be in touch with you directly. This important payment helps fund running costs at all levels of Girlguiding – from developments to digital tools to risk management and safeguarding. If your unit is worried about paying subscriptions, please read the Girlguiding website for support on paying subscriptions. It includes help with how to speak to parents about this cost. There are many grants to apply for and you can speak to your commissioner about your concerns. The earlier you ask for help, the better.

If you’ve enjoyed this blog and would like to read more about the project head to our first blog or December’s edition about our new Guide unit in Thedwastre, Suffolk.

Next month’s blog. Last month’s blog

Return to the member support page