Independent guiding

Whether you're a young member or a volunteer, independent guiding is an easy way to get involved with guiding that is flexible to your needs

Can't commit to regular meetings? Independent guiding might be the solution.

Girlguiding's independent offer aims to give all girls and women the chance to take part in guiding, whether or not they're able to attend regular in-person meetings.

Why independent guiding?

There are many reasons for someone becoming an independent member. For example:

  • there's no unit for the age group in their local area
  • their other commitments, including studies and caring responsibilities, mean they can't attend regular in-person meetings
  • transport to and from meetings is a problem
  • an illness or disability prevents them attending meetings regularly
  • they don't enjoy spending time in large groups.

Being an 'independent' means that a member gets all the benefits of guiding and is able to fit it around their own needs and schedule. It's fun, flexible and full of the same great opportunities.

Who can become an independent?

Any member of Girlguiding - from Rainbows to adult leaders and Trefoil Guild members - can participate in guiding under our independent scheme.

How does someone become an independent?

It doesn't matter if there's no specific unit for independents in the area - girls and adults can still take part. If they are already a member, they should speak to their leader or local commissioner to find out what options are available.

If they're not already a member, they'll need to register their interest, stating that they would like to become an Independent by completing the 'Other information' comment box.

A commissioner will then follow up with them and discuss possible options in their local area.

Supporting independent members

Independent members should be registered on GO in the same way as other members. As they're unable to attend regular unit meetings, they can be attached to their ‘preferred’ unit.

Young independent members can take part in local guiding in two ways - either with support from a local 'preferred' unit, or as part of a special unit for independent members.

Independents who are attached to a local unit are supported by their leader to undertake the normal guiding programme for their section.

Usually, they'll keep in touch by newsletter, email, post, telephone, video call or text. The leader will help the young member to choose and plan activities, and suggest different ways to carry them out in their own time.

In some more rural areas, units have been set up specifically for independent members. These are run by a group of leaders who support the members to follow the programme.

Independent members can take part in many different activities and challenges. For example, independent Rangers have gained their Queen's Guide award and have been selected for GOLD (Guiding Overseas Linked with Development) trips. 

When a new independent member is registered, you should let the local county know so they can signpost them to events such as camps, holidays or fun days.

Support from home plays an important part in independent guiding, especially for young members.

Where possible, leaders and volunteers should encourage family members and friends to get involved with activities such as completing interest badges.

Keep young independent members motivated by linking them up with other independents in the area.

Adult leaders become involved with the independent scheme for a variety of reasons. Often a change in work or family circumstances means they are unable to make a regular commitment to a unit. The independent scheme is ideal for women in this situation as it allows them to continue to work directly with girls and young women, but in a way that suits them. It also acts as a bridge to local units if they want to return in the future.

Independent leaders who are also involved with local counties will have all-section training and mentoring provided directly by the county (except for specific independent-related training). Independent-only leaders will have another Lone leader as a mentor, but training and additional support will be sourced by the country/region independent adviser, who works with the local county to ensure that direct support is also available.

When a new independent adult is registered, the local counties should keep in regular contact with them to ensure they have the opportunity to participate in social events, meetings and training opportunities.