Involving parents

Ask parents to use their skills and time to help their daughters get the best out of guiding

Many parents tell us they would love to help with Girlguiding if they were asked.

Parents and carers have all sorts of skills that could make a trip or meeting extra exciting, or simply make your role as a volunteer easier. And of course, the more help you have the more girls can join your unit.

Who better to ask for help than the people who see first hand how much Girlguiding benefits girls? When girls get back from unit meetings and camps, it's their parents and carers who see how excited they are. That means we're already half way to getting them on board.

Don’t forget: it’s not just mums who can be involved but dads, aunts, granddads, carers and older siblings.

Ways to get parents involved

Start a parent rota - try sending out a letter with the term's programme or chatting to parents and carers to let them know you could do with a hand, and that they can just help once a term if they want. Then, draw up a rota and confirm they can do the suggested dates. Keep in touch and remind them to come along nearer the time.

Parents and family members who sign up to the rota should read the Unit safeguarding guidelines. You could send these out alongside the letter or have them on a noticeboard next to the rota for people to read as they sign up. Helping on a Parent Rota is not a recognised volunteer role and does not need to be recorded on GO. Anyone who volunteers more than twice a term should be supported to move to a formal volunteer role, such as unit helper, and complete the necessary recruitment and vetting checks. It is ,important that this is done as helping more than two times a term means someone is in regulated activity when regarding disclosure checks.

If a parent or carer is attending every week to support a young member with additional needs they should register as an individual support unit helper, and complete the necessary recruitment and vetting checks for this role. Adding them on GO will also mean they receive newsletters and other volunteer information.

Support parents who offer help - give them specific tasks so they feel involved and confident in what they're doing, whether it's helping pack up, or running an activity. You can give them more responsibility over time to make them feel part of the team.

Use their skills and interests - find out if parents have skills or interests that could help. Remember that some of this information might be captured in the volunteering section of their daughter's Starting... form. They could teach first aid, play an instrument or review accounts. Tell them about all the different volunteer roles, including those not working directly with girls. If they have an interesting job, such as being an airline pilot or working with animals, they could talk to the unit about it or help with an activity.

Don't worry if some can't help - we know they're busy people! Even if they're not helping out, make sure they still feel part of things.

Help parents understand more about guiding - invite them to join in at the end of meetings so they understand what you do. Keep them up-to-date with your meeting plans and always invite them to special events such as Promise ceremonies in advance. And take the time to chat and tell them why you love volunteering for Girlguiding.

Parents don't have to volunteer at their daughter's unit. Let them know about other units nearby that might need extra help.

Thank them - this is really important, especially when they're new to volunteering and they're very busy. Read our ideas for ways to say thank you. 

If visitors are attending meetings who aren’t parents, carers or family members, you should check our guidance on including external visitors.