Posts Tagged ‘Girl Guiding’

Could a volunteering opportunity in Guiding be your New Year’s resolution?

Posted on Wednesday 2nd January 2019 at 7:27 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of Alix Evans.

By Alix Evans, Frome Valley Division Commissioner and leader at 2nd Stoke Gifford Rainbows.

By the time you’re reading this you’ve probably eaten all the turkey and mince pies you can stomach, and you may be thinking of some changes you can make for the New Year. One of the best decisions I ever made was to return to Guiding as a volunteer leader – and I’d like you to consider doing similar. Volunteering is scientifically proven to improve health and wellbeing – and although I’m biased, I’d say Guiding is one of the best ways to improve your skills and experiences whilst having lots of fun.

Having been a Brownie when I was little, I knew the sorts of things that girls in Guiding get up to – having fun, building life skills and creating friendships that last long after their time in a unit. So when my daughter’s Rainbow unit was in danger of closing due to lack of volunteers, I stepped up and took on the mantel of Lavender. Since then, I’ve also become assistant leader at Brownies (as Hedgehog) and recently became Division Commissioner (DC), which means I support all the Guiding units in the local area. Being the DC has made me all the more aware of how hard it is for lone leaders – those who run a unit single-handedly – and this is why I’m concentrating on that in this issue of the Journal.

Like many things, being a leader on your own is hard – there’s no one to bounce ideas off, no one to cover if you’re ill or away with work, and no one to give you that little boost if an activity goes a bit awry. There are 26 units in Frome Valley Division, which covers the local area, and there are at least five with a lone leader.

The ways you can get involved are many and varied, and are on a sliding scale of commitment and involvement. I’d love to recruit people who are able to give hours and hours of their time face-to-face with the girls, however I know that we all lead very busy lives and for some of us that’s just not possible. And it’s not true that only women can volunteer – leaders are women only, but unit helpers and other support roles are open to men and women, subject to successful DBS clearance.

For those who want to help but can’t commit to weekly meetings, you could volunteer with a unit in a support role, such as being their treasurer – you don’t have to attend meetings with the girls, you just manage the accounts on behalf of the leader and keep them up to date for annual checks.

Or, if you can do one week a month perhaps, you could be a unit helper – and either turn up on the night as a spare pair of hands, or get involved in planning trips and activities under the leader’s supervision. This is how I would recommend anyone unfamiliar with Guiding gets started – really test it out before you commit!

More: Training workshops and support from mentors »

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Work begins on Rainbows’ community toy library

Posted on Monday 16th April 2018 at 5:35 pm by Laura Mortimore

The telephone box without its door, which has been removed for repair.The 2nd Stoke Gifford Rainbows have been busy recruiting volunteers to help renovate a disused telephone box with the aim of transforming it into a community toy library.

The group of 5 to 7-year-old girls first put out an appeal at the beginning of the year, looking for carpenters, glaziers and cast iron welders to give up some of their time to help transform the phone box. Now, after meeting with some local residents, work has already begun on the telephone box which is located at The Green, North Road. Richard and Bryan, members of the local community, have removed the door and it has been taken away to be repaired. They also removed the backboard located inside the telephone box and cleared away all of the weeds so it is already looking much neater and cleaner. The Rainbows have also had a mystery resident replace the missing panes of glass and the group have been trying to track down who is responsible, posting on their Facebook page: “Are you the anonymous glazing fairy who repaired our broken panes of glass?? Thank you!!!”

Alongside recruiting volunteers, the 2nd Stoke Gifford Rainbows have also been busy registering themselves for the Airbus Community Awards which means they are now in with a chance of winning a share of the £10,000 prize money. Tokens were available to collect between Friday 16th February and Monday 19th March and the top ten community groups to collect the most tokens will receive a share of the prize money. The girls, their friends and families all spent countless hours collecting and cutting out tokens but it was all worth it as they collected an incredible total of 96,691 tokens. Alix, leader in charge of the 2nd Stoke Gifford Rainbows, expressed her thanks:

“Thank you all so much for your support over the last few weeks. Daffodil has been a force of nature in getting us over 90,000 tokens – with lots of support from work mates, friends and family – it’s been a huge effort and hopefully it will bear fruit. Thank you Daffodil!”

Last week, the winners of the awards were announced at a special ceremony which took place at Airbus in Filton. The 2nd Stoke Gifford Rainbows came in second, receiving £2,000 of the prize money.

The next stage of the project is to strip the old paint and repaint the telephone box in the bright red that everyone recognises. The hope is that this will be done in the coming months as the weather improves. The Rainbows will then start thinking about how to decorate the telephone box, most likely using window stickers to publicise Girlguiding.

If anyone has any ideas for the project or would like to help out in anyway, please contact the team at

Photo: The telephone box as it currently stands, with the door having been removed for repairs.

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Appeal for tradespersons to help transform phone box into toy library

Posted on Tuesday 27th March 2018 at 5:12 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of girls from the 2nd Stoke Gifford Rainbows gathered outside the disused telephone box.

Do you know a carpenter, glazier or cast iron welder who could help transform a disused traditional red ‘heritage’ phone box into a valuable facility for the local community?

The 2nd Stoke Gifford Rainbows would like to transform the phone box at The Green, North Road (near the Beaufort Arms) into a community toy library, filled with good quality second-hand toys and books for local children to borrow.

The idea of converting the phone box came following a visit by the Rainbows to the North Bristol Foodbank in Horfield, where the five- and six-year-olds were inspired to do something with a lasting impact for children not as fortunate as themselves.

In a ‘Rainbow chat’ (discussion round), the girls decided they wanted to do something more long-term, and thought of collecting toys and books.
One of the girls, Ruth, aged 6, said: “Visiting the foodbank made me think about other children. I want to help them and everyone should have toys to play with.”

The phone box at The Green, which stands opposite the Rainbows’ regular meeting place at the St Michael’s Centre, has been out of use for a number of months after BT decided it could no longer justify maintaining it due to its low rate of use. It was recently adopted by Stoke Gifford Parish Council at a cost of £1.

After discussion with the parish council, a local engineer provided a free survey of the box, recommending repairs which would allow the box to be a safe, water tight library.

The Rainbows’ assistant leader Michelle said:

“If we can find the right people to help us, we plan to renovate the box, and then decorate it with monthly themes – creating a talking point in the village that not only spreads the word about Girlguiding, but also provides a useful service for families in the area.”

“We work hard with the girls to encourage them to think about their community. This is a perfect way for them to do something visible and positive in their area, and something to be proud of for years to come. We really hope people will be able to come forward and help us make the girls’ ideas a reality.”

More: Encouraging the girls’ interest in STEM subjects »

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