Supporting members with the cost of living

Ways you can support members with the rising cost of living

The increasing cost of living is having an impact across the membership, in all areas of the country.

In our Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2023, girls told us how worried they are about this:

  • Three quarters (75%) of those aged 7-21 are worried about the increased cost of living.
  • 1 in 5 (21%) of those aged 7-21 worry about their family not having enough food.
  • 1 in 5 (21%) of those aged 11-21 worry about not having enough money for period products or period pain medication.

Welcoming girls and volunteers from lower socio-economic backgrounds (who might have money worries and financial insecurity) is a key part of our inclusion plan. We’re all working to welcome more girls and help everyone feel like they belong in guiding. We know you are already doing so much – thank you. We’re sharing how you can support other members so they can keep enjoying guiding experiences every week.

Practical support for you

We know times are hard for everyone at the moment, including our volunteers. We appreciate that you’re doing everything you can to make sure guiding is accessible to everyone.  

If you’re finding things difficult yourself, use the guidance here or speak to your local commissioner.

Grants to help with the cost of living

There are various grants available at UK and local level to help support you. Find out more about grants and funding.

This year we’ve boosted support for members by making a cost of living grant from Girlguiding HQ to each country and region, a total of £300,000 to support units. This funding aims to:

  • Help girls experiencing financial insecurity with the costs of guiding.
  • Allow existing members to continue enjoying guiding experiences.
  • Help struggling units to stay open.

Each country and region is distributing the funding to units based on local needs. In some areas distribution is already underway, as units applied for grants earlier in the autumn. In other areas there's still time to apply. Some countries and regions merged funds from the cost of living grant with other existing grants - so you may still be able to apply for funds even if the grant is under a different name. Details are below.

Ways you can support members with the cost of living

Everyone involved in guiding should contribute to the costs of taking part. But no one should ever be left out for not having the right clothing or not being able to pay subscriptions.

Here are ways members are already making guiding more accessible:

  • Offering a wide range of activities, with plenty that don’t have any attached costs.
  • Giving lots of notice if your unit wants to do activities that you need to charge for.
  • Offering payment plans, allowing small payments to be made over a period of time. Not asking for large sums to be paid in one go.
  • Using some unit funds to subsidise those who may not otherwise take part in these activities or to provide lower cost membership if a young member gets free school meals.
  • Creating a comfortable environment to discuss struggles or concerns. Reminding other volunteers, parents or carers they can talk to you in confidence about costs associated with guiding.
  • Claiming expenses. Guiding shouldn’t leave volunteers out of pocket. It’s important to claim your own money back.
  • Tackling period poverty by having period products available for anyone who might need them.
  • Acknowledging barriers to volunteering for some parents or carers. Accepting that it’ll be difficult for some adults to help.
  • Celebrating ways that parents and carers help the unit that aren’t donating money or giving presents to leaders, like donating old uniform or materials for activities.

Further resources

Support organisations 

Turn2us – national charity that helps people in financial hardship to gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and support services.

StepChange – charity organisation which offers free advice on debt and money management.

Money Advice Trust – national charity, helping people across the UK to tackle their debts and manage their money with confidence.

The Money Advice Service - set up by the government, they offer free and impartial money advice on issues like debt and benefits. 

The Trussel Trust - supports a nationwide network of food banks. They provide emergency food and support to people facing hardship.

Get advice on including all

Contact us for more information and advice about including all girls and volunteers in guiding.

Email us