Blog / August 24th, 2023
Uniformed Youth Fund
The Uniformed Youth Fund is a £15.52 million government programme. It aims to support non-military Uniformed Youth Organisations to tackle their existing teenager waiting lists in England. Girlguiding have secured nearly £2 million of this Fund to help increase our capacity for Guides and Rangers. Read on to hear how we’ll be using our allocation of this funding to support units in your region between now and 31 March 2025.
The funding will allow Girlguiding to develop learning materials for young leaders. They’ve recently released new guidance for leaders working with young volunteers. There’ll be new webinars for leaders such as a session on managing waiting lists.
In Anglia, we’ll open and support at least 14 new Guide or Ranger units. We’ll also recruit and welcome 59 new volunteers and create 270 new spaces in existing Guide or Ranger units. At least 25% of the work that we do will be in areas of deprivation.
What have we done so far?
We’ve supported 3 new Guide or Ranger units in Cambridgeshire East, Hertfordshire and Suffolk via our new unit grant. We’ll be working with these units in Autumn 2023 to see if there is any further help that will support their sustainability, as well as working with their district or division teams to support with any additional volunteer recruitment. A big part of the aims of the Uniformed Youth Fund is making sure that we scale up our offer sustainably. This means not just asking existing volunteers to take on new roles but making sure that their responsibilities are manageable and enjoyable. It is important in an area with a new unit that we make sure all sections are supported to give every unit, new and existing, the best chance of success.
What are you most excited about?
I know Guide and Ranger units aren’t normally where the biggest waiting lists exist but these young members are potentially the leaders of the future. They are the sections where girls learn life skills that support them well into adulthood. It provides them both mental and physical health benefits at a time when there is so much change in their lives. Research by the University of Edinburgh shows that being part of Girlguiding, or the Scouts, has health benefits into adulthood.
This project will allow us to push our boundaries and try new things that we wouldn’t otherwise consider. During our conversations with county members, thoughts such as holiday guiding and young leader training came up. I know that these initiatives will support the whole guiding family.
How can we help or get involved?
There will be a variety of ways that you can get involved as the project progresses. Commissioners, or people with a responsibility for growth in their area, might like to attend a 4 steps to recruitment success training session. These are particularly powerful if you can get a group attending from one division so invite your Girlguiding friends to attend with you.
If you are the main contact for 1 unit or more, use the Pass it on campaign recruitment packs you should have received in the post to recruit volunteers and generate excitement in your area. Tell other units where you have put up posters so they are encouraged to join in. They can help to find other places to advertise and reach out to the local community.
We’ve loved seeing volunteers completing our Promote and Grow challenge – if you do 5 activities you can claim a badge! Also, you might have seen our transition resources and plan on using those this term. What else can you do?
- Share your stories on social media and remember to tag us because we love to see what is happening.
- Know whether your area needs more volunteers, more girls or a bit of both.
- If you have a growth action plan, know what the next step is in your area. Is it a new Ranger unit, or do you want to strengthen existing units?
The most important thing you can do is to talk positively about your volunteering experience. Welcome new volunteers and break down any barriers to joining – like avoiding using jargon that doesn’t make sense. Tell volunteers they are cherished, that their contributions are appreciated. They should be reminded of the positive impact they have on girls, young women and the local community. If there is a new or establishing unit in your area, consider being a buddy to them. Offer to show them your term plan, risk assessments and communication to parents. You could also share any resources that are expensive to buy and only get used a couple of times a year.
Each month we’ll share an update, so do keep coming back to hear what is happening. I’ll be at Lincolnshire South’s commissioner and adviser day on 30 September so if you are there, do say hi!