EMBARGOED UNTIL: 00.01 27 February 2012
Girlguiding grows by one an hour
- Girlguiding remains
biggest youth organisation in the UK
- Membership increases by
24 every day, one every hour
- Total membership stands
at well over half a million
- Membership offers
unrivalled experiences for girls and young women
New membership figures from
Girlguiding reveal that the organisation grew by one member every
hour in the past 12 months. Total membership now stands at 538,247,
up from 530,000 last year. The increase – 8,247 in the past year –
shows that Girlguiding is where more girls are choosing to be,
with hundreds of thousands of girls and young women each
week enjoying guiding. This week three young members will travel to
New York to attend the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women; next
month thousands of Guides will watch top pop acts like Olly Murs
and Alexandra Burke at the BIG GIG; later this year Girlguiding’s
team of Front Runners will inspire girls and young women to get
involved with the Olympic celebrations, far removed from the
outdated stereotypes of the Guides.
To celebrate Girlguiding’s
growth, the organisation has selected 24 ‘Guiding Lights’ – girls
and women from around the UK who epitomise what guiding is today.
One of the Guiding Lights was awarded the Institution of Mechanical
Engineers Young Member of the Year award for her voluntary work to
promote engineering, while another started her business at 22 and
was selected as one of 20 up and coming young designers.
Research by Girlguiding has shown that girls
appreciate the opportunity that guiding offers to spend time with
‘just the girls’, with many citing it as a welcome space to be
themselves, away from some of the pressures of everyday teenage
Chief Guide Gill Slocombe
said: “Guiding remains one of the only spaces where girls and young
women can be adventurous, learn new skills, have their opinions
heard and gain leadership skills outside of school, without feeling
they have to conform to a set of narrow stereotypes.
“Guiding also offers our
young members some amazing experiences, from the excitement of
their first Brownie campout to working in countries such as The
Gambia and Honduras on international development projects. With
opportunities like this it is no wonder girls are voting with their
feet and joining us.”
~ ENDS ~
For more information please
Notes to editors:
Girlguiding is the UK’s largest voluntary
organisation for girls and young women, with 538, 247 members and
recognised volunteers. Over a third of girls and young women (aged
7–21) in the UK are involved in guiding, or have been in the past.
We run Rainbows (5–7 years), Brownies (7–10 years), Guides (10–14
years) and Senior Section (14–25 years), enabling girls and young
women to develop their potential whatever their ability or
background. We are striving to offer new opportunities to a broad
diversity of communities through our expanding network of more than
63,000 trained volunteer Leaders.
At Girlguiding we seek to give girls a voice
and provide a unique, girl-only space where they feel comfortable
just being themselves. Our members, challenged by a girl-led
programme that extends beyond badges, enjoy a spectrum of
activities from international travel and outdoor adventure to
pop-concerts and community action.
Girlguiding, part of a worldwide movement of
approximately 10 million girls and young women in 145 countries,
celebrated its Centenary in 2010. Registered Charity No
24 Surprising Facts About
They accept men! You can’t be a Brownie or a Guide if you’re a boy,
but men can be adult volunteers.
Ally Capellino, whose clients include Kate Moss and Sadie Frost,
designed the current guiding uniform.
It’s the largest youth organisation in the UK.
Half of women in the UK have been a member, a small minority of
which will claim they were ‘chucked out’ of Brownies for being ‘too
naughty’. This rarely – if ever – happens. Girlguiding volunteers
are trained to work with girls who have different personalities,
some with complex and demanding emotional needs – including
Guides started themselves. When Baden-Powell was asked who started
the Girl Guides he replied: “They started themselves”. Having seen
how much fun the boys were having, the girls decided they wanted
All Leaders are volunteers. People – often parents - assume
Girlguiding Leaders are paid, they aren’t. All their time and
experience is given for free. And people assume volunteers have to
commit an hour a week, every week, but guiding’s volunteering roles
are not fixed and are extremely varied, from occasionally helping
to run a group’s activities to looking after the accounts.
They founded a school for physically disabled children in 1939 –
The Trefoil School – for which there was no counterpart in
mainstream education for decades.
Guides helped win the war. Guides – 87 in total - were confidential
messengers for Marconi and Wireless Telegraph during the First
World War. During the Second World War Guides helped distribute gas
masks, met evacuees from trains, helped maintain food supplies as
well as raising £50,000 for two air ambulances and £26,000 to equip
and maintain carrier pigeons for the army.
The Brownies have also helped out in times of national and
international crisis. They collected clothes for the miners hit by
the General Strike of 1926 and in 1985 raised a staggering £179,000
for Save the Children.
10. In 2009, members
raised more than £850,000 for a diverse range of charities as part
of the Changing the World project. Beneficiaries included the
Mental Health Foundation, Asthma UK, the Woodland Trust and
11. It’s worldwide. The
guiding movement has more than 10 million members in 145 countries,
from the Congo to Papua New Guinea.
12. Over a third of
girls and young women aged seven to 21 in the UK are involved in
guiding, or have been in the past. That includes some famous faces
such as Pixie Lott, Kate Silverton, Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, JK
Rowling, Davina McCall and Dame Kelly Holmes.
13. You would need
9,127 double decker buses to carry all of Girlguiding’s
14. And they could fill
Wembley Stadium more than six times.
15. Two teams of
Girlguiding members have swum the English Channel. The first team
set the record for the fastest all-female team when they completed
it in just over 13 hours (1966), and the second team undertook the
challenge in 2010.
16. In 2009,
Girlguiding members took 8,681 people out of water poverty in Nepal
as part of the Changing the World project.
17. To celebrate
Girlguiding’s Centenary in 2009-2010, members sailed the tall ship
Lord Nelson on a 100-day voyage around the UK.
18. Girlguiding’s Women
in the Lead survey of 250 inspirational UK figures found that
two-thirds of them had been a Brownie, Guide or Senior Section
member. Of these, 73 per cent believed that guiding had directly
contributed to their success.
19. In 2007,
Girlguiding members made up the first fully female crew to take
part on a Class A Tall Ship in the Tall Ships’ Race.
20. Some of the early
Guide badges included Electrician, Telegraphist, Astronomer,
Surveyor and Air Mechanic.
21. Badges aren’t all
there is to guiding. Guides and Brownies still collect badges,
however the guiding programme extends to much more, from
international travel to outdoor adventures and challenges covering
a wide range of topics including engineering and construction to
fashion and body confidence.
22. In 1909 a
publication decreed that ‘a girl is not allowed to run, or even to
hurry, swim, ride a bike, or raise her arms above her head…’but
just one year later, girls in guiding were heading off to camp
where they could raise their arms as high as they liked!
23. It is not just
Brownies and Guides. Brownies and Guides are the most famous
sections. However, Rainbows (aged five to seven) are part of the
guiding family, and so are the Senior Section (aged 14 to 25).
24. They accept all
faiths, cultures, backgrounds and abilities – and always have.
Robert Baden-Powell’s vision was to create a common framework of
activities and attitudes that would unite all.