Meet our inclusion advisers
This wonderful team of volunteers are here to support you to make Girlguiding more inclusive
Our Inclusion advisers support volunteers at all levels of Girlguiding by providing guidance on their inclusion specialism.
When it comes to inclusion, the needs of every unit and member are different. You might be faced with the challenge of needing to adapt unit meeting activities for different girls’ needs, or you might be thinking about how you can make your recruitment more inclusive to reach a wider range of girls. This is where our inclusion advisers come in.
What do the inclusion advisers do?
Our team of organisational inclusion advisers support volunteers at all levels. They’ll answer any questions you have about how to support our diverse members.
Between them, they have a wealth of expertise and lived experience of different areas of inclusion, including disability, mental health, young carers, race, LGBT+ and faith.
They’ll be involved in developing training opportunities in their specialist areas for volunteers, as well as helping us create inclusive programme resources and activities. And they'll regularly get in touch with country/region teams, helping us all to work together to make Girlguiding more inclusive.
They will use their knowledge to solve problems, promote the advantages of creating an inclusive environment in guiding, and so much more!
Meet the advisers
Sophie Ridge-Ahmed (she/her), Anglia
Race inclusion specialist
"Hi, my name is Sophie and I’m currently a Politics student at the University of East Anglia in Norwich (although I’m originally from London). I have been in Guiding since I was 7 when I started Brownies and was a Guide and Young Leader in London. When I moved to Norwich for university I started volunteering as a leader and completed my Leadership Qualification last year. I’m also working towards my Queen’s Guide Award, which is a really exciting challenge.
Being mixed race, I didn’t see a lot of leaders who looked like me growing up, I think it is important for young members to see that Guiding is inclusive of everyone and that everyone can be involved in Guiding. I would like to help make sure that younger members of Guiding have an inclusive environment where they feel represented."
Margaret Duff (she/her), South West
Young carers and disability inclusion specialist
"I’m Margaret, a Guide leader in Bath and a prospective (hope to be qualified soon) trainer. I grew up with a disabled younger brother and although I wouldn’t have said so at the time, I was a young carer. I watched over him, wiped bums, rang ambulances, constantly worried about his future, and memorised many Thomas the Tank Engine episodes! Guiding was a great source of consistency, and gave me the opportunity to do activities and go places that we couldn’t as a family. But I always struggled for transport, worried about home, and experienced coming back from camp to go straight to the hospital.
Raising awareness around young carers, and siblings of children and adults with disabilities, is important. I believe Girlguiding can provide a space where girls and adults can be treated and cared for as individuals. I bring to the role my experience as a young carer, the perspective of the families of children with additional needs and additional volunteer experience with disabled and disadvantaged children and young people."
Camilla Gallop (she/her), Anglia
LGBT+ inclusion specialist
"I’m Camilla, I’m bisexual, and I’ve been a Girlguiding volunteer for 3 years. I’m really proud to be an LGBT+ inclusion adviser. To me, inclusion means genuinely listening to and learning from everyone’s experiences. There’s so much we can learn from each other if we just open our hearts and our minds to new possibilities. We all have amazing and valuable insights to share, which should be welcomed and celebrated. Together, we can raise Girlguiding up even higher and make sure that we’re truly an organisation that is for everyone!”
Meg Knight (she/her), Anglia
Disability inclusion specialist
"I have always held a strong sense of justice and been passionate about helping others. As a police officer I acquired a lifelong and life-changing disability following an injury on duty. It was at this point I truly experienced and understood the challenges facing those with disabilities. I became even more determined to help provide a place and experience which empowers young women within an organisation to grow, explore and reach their potential.
I want to challenge and dismantle the complex and wide-ranging barriers which exclude people from opportunities based on difference. We do not all hold the same experience, so I try to take the time to understand the individual, their concerns and the suggestions they have, in addition to wider organisational objectives. I am truly honoured to be able to continue with what I love doing most on a national level - helping people and challenging injustice."
Sophie Nelson (she/her), Ulster
Mental health inclusion specialist
"I have been involved in guiding since I was a Rainbow, however it was only from the age of 17 that I learned about all that guiding had to offer. My involvement as an Advocate gave me the opportunity to campaign and lobby for gender equality issues at a national level; I became a founding member of Girlguiding’s Period Poverty Campaign, spoke at the Conservative Party Conference, and presented to the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street.
My experience working as a Special Educational Needs Assistant in a secondary school challenged me to take action on the mental health crisis affecting so many young people around me. In 2020, I worked with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts to develop a resilience project, where I devised a resilience toolkit. As an inclusion adviser I hope to work to provide women with support networks, so they feel valued and empowered to be reach their full potential."
Jenny Pathmarajah (she/her), South West
Faith inclusion specialist
"From as early as I can remember, I’ve been passionate about inclusion and working to make sure those on the fringes have their voices heard and are welcomed. I work as a Methodist Minister when I’m not a Guide leader and this opportunity to work with the inclusion team is a dream come true as it brings all my passions together. Being mixed race in a very male and white dominated work environment, I’m used to standing up and making my voice heard and helping those in privilege understand their unconscious bias.
Although I work for the Church, I was brought up in a Hindu household and have happy memories of growing up multiculturally, although there are still some English nuances which I find fascinating! I’m excited to work with the Inclusion team and help Girlguiding to be the best it can be."
Rachel Ripley (she/her), South West
LGBT+ inclusion specialist
"Hello! I’m Rachel, and I’m excited to be a part of the new inclusion advisors team! Girlguiding has been a huge part of my life for the last 20 years, from Brownies right through to becoming a Leader and current member of Inspire! I have been fortunate to be a part of Girlguiding in multiple regions of the UK, and the breadth of experiences this has provided has fuelled my passion to be a part of the next step in Girlguiding becoming truly inclusive to all members.
Personally, I have sadly had some negative experiences that suggest there is still work to be done, but instead of letting those stop me, I decided to join this team to help Girlguiding move forward and make positive changes. I look forward to being able to get out and about and meet all of you in person, hear about your experiences and thoughts, and be one of your voices for inclusion!"
Beth Taylor (she/her), South West
Mental health inclusion specialist
"I am a child and adolescents mental health nurse and a guide leader. I am also currently undertaking my Queen's Guide Award. When I was a Guide and Ranger, I had my own struggles with my mental health. Being a member of Girlguiding gave me a safe space that was consistent and structured. It’s played a huge part of my life and got me to where I am now.
To be part of taking the movement forward in becoming a more inclusive place for girls, young women and adults who may be experiencing mental health difficulties, or supporting those who are, and to pay back what Girlguiding has done for me is a huge privilege."
Bryony Weller (she/her), North West
Disability inclusion specialist
"Hi! I'm Bryony and I'm an occupational therapist, and also live with a physical disability. I hope that my professional and personal knowledge and experiences will enable me to support and advise others. Inclusion within Girlguiding is really important to me as I want to ensure that all members are able to participate in all aspects of the Girlguiding programme, no matter what their personal circumstances are.
Girlguiding has had a profound and positive impact throughout my life. I joined as a Brownie, and worked my way through to now being a Brownie and Guide leader. I want to ensure that Girlguiding is an inclusive and welcoming environment, offering opportunities to all to develop skills, experience new things, make friends and have fun in safe places. I also love baking, gardening, sewing, wheelchair basketball, camping and exploring the outdoors."
Josie Crossley (she/her)
Network coordinator, lead volunteer for inclusion
"My role combines my passion for inclusion with my love of guiding. In my professional life I'm a secondary school languages teacher, which involves supporting children with disabilities and learning needs and those living in areas of deprivation, on a daily basis. I've also worked for a d/Deaf children's charity which helped me to learn a lot about the challenges faced by d/Deaf young people.
I'm so glad that I get to use my knowledge and experience to make Girlguiding as inclusive as it can be so that every member can feel safe and that they belong.
If you have any questions for the network, please contact [email protected]
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