Coronavirus (Covid-19) - updates and FAQ

The latest guidance from Girlguiding about coronavirus (Covid-19)

Guiding during the Covid-19 outbreak – how lockdown affects how we can meet

Page last reviewed: 9 June 2021

  • Outdoor and indoor meetings are allowed in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • There’s further guidance in the nation-specific information below.

We're following advice and guidance from government and Public Health England and from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the Crown dependencies. We're also working with the National Youth Agency and the wider youth sector to keep up to date.

What rules do I need to follow?

Last updated: 15 June 2021

We've summarised how national guidance applies to unit meetings in your area. Check here to find out how guiding is impacted where you are. 

Local council restrictions may limit the activity you can do. Check the official advice for your area for the latest information. 

If you're a Girlguiding member overseas, check the local government advice for your country. If you have any questions or concerns, contact the chief commissioner for BGO,  [email protected]

From 17 May 2021, lockdown restrictions in England are changing. We’ve outlined below what guiding activity is allowed, based on government and National Youth Agency guidance, and what you'll need to do to run meetings and activities safely. 

Remember, you’ll need a risk assessment for outdoor and indoor activities and these must be signed off by a commissioner. Whether you’re meeting indoors or outdoors, you must follow government guidelines and stay Covid-secure. 

Outdoor meetings are allowed. You can go inside to use the loo, wash hands or get a drink. You should follow all Covid-secure measures, including social distancing, frequent hand washing and cleaning.  

Group size: There’s no limit on the number of young people who can attend outdoor meetings. This includes 18-year-old Rangers.

Indoor meetings are allowed. Guides, Rangers and all adults should wear face coverings when going insideYou should follow all Covid-secure measures, including social distancing, face coverings frequent hand washing and cleaning.  

Group size: There are no limits to the number of under 18s allowed to meet indoorsYou should be mindful of the space available. Make sure it’s Covid-secure and has room for social distancing. If you're meeting in a large group, NYA recommend splitting into smaller bubbles inside the meeting place. 

Indoor or outdoor meetings should not take place in private houses or gardens.

Volunteer numbers: There's no limit on the number of volunteers who can attend a meeting. You should take a sensible approach based on usual considerations such as ratios and the type of activity. Use your risk assessment to work out how many volunteers you need to run the meeting safely. Leaders can attend consecutive meetings in the same venue or location. Spaces must be thoroughly cleaned between meetings. If groups are meeting at the same time, in separate rooms or areas, then they can share a first aider. 

Day trips are allowed, including DofE expeditions. Trips should be localso they can easily be completed in a day. You can use any form of transport, so long as it's done in a Covid-secure way. You’ll need to check and follow the requirements of the location you are travelling to.  

Before planning, consider if a trip is necessary or if the objective can be achieved in some other way. You’ll need to complete a risk assessment as part of the planning process. 

Adult meetings can go ahead but must follow government guidance around the number of adults allowed to meet outdoors and indoors. Essential adult trainings sessions  for A Safe Space and 1st Response can take place indoors. Check our guidance for organising training sessions.

Residential trips are allowed if you follow this guidance. These conditions apply throughout the youth sector, regardless of what education bubbles your young members may be in. 

  • No more than six people in a group. This includes leaders and carers. 
  • Groups of six cannot mix with any other group, including other groups from their unit. This applies throughout the trip, including during free time, organised activities, eating and sleeping. These groups should be maintained from the point of departure until the point of return.
  • Groups of six must travel independently of any other groups but they can share transport within their group.
  • All group members must take a rapid lateral flow test before they leave for the trip, every 48-72 hours while away and when they get home. You must have plans in place in case someone tests positive. 
  • You must meet all Covid-secure requirements of the venue you’re travelling to. Covid-secure measures must be followed during your trip, including social distancing and wearing face masks indoors for Guides, Rangers and volunteers. Thineeds to be considered when you’re planning eating and sleeping arrangements. There isn't a requirement for single occupancy of tents but you must allow sufficient space when planning sleeping arrangements. You may want to consider options such as having two people share a four person tent.
  • Check the terms and conditions of your booking and assess the risk of the different scenarios. You may need to arrange insurance for different elements (for example, travel and cancellation) and make sure all participants and carers know what cover there is and what's not covered. Take a look at our travel and trip insurance guidance.
  • You must be able to meet safeguarding requirements within these guidelines

International travel is not allowed. This may be allowed to some countries from 21 June but we don’t know what the restrictions and guidance will be. So, we advise you do not start planning any trips abroad until we have more information. Do not make any payments, like deposits, until after 21 June.

Risk assessments: To return to guiding, either face-to-face or online, you must complete a risk assessment before your meeting. For any face-to-face meetings, whether indoor or outdoor, your local commissioner needs to sign off your risk assessment. To complete a risk assessment for an in-person unit meeting, make sure to include:

  • Which volunteers have current DBS and Level 3 A Safe Space training.
  • How first aid will be provided and, if relevant, the details of which volunteer has an up-to-date 1st Response qualification
  • A date in the “Action by” box
  • A review date
  • The correct ratios
  • Consideration of any volunteers or young members moving between nations
  • How you will mitigate any risks for high-risk members or volunteers
  • Face covering requirements
  • Cleaning, including responsibilities for cleaning - who and when
  • Ventilation – how will you safely maximise fresh air in your venue?
  • A review of your unit meeting property risk assessment if required

Face coverings: You need to wear face coverings for indoor meetings. They are not needed outdoors unless you cannot keep to the two metre social distancing requirement. 

At indoor meetings, face coverings should be worn by Guides, Rangers and volunteers. Rainbows and Brownies do not need to wear them. If someone cannot wear a face mask, a visor or face shield can be worn, but be aware that these do not offer as much protection as a mask. Any visor or shield must cover the nose and mouth. Medical grade PPE is not needed. 

Remember, some people are unable to wear a face covering because of a disability or medical condition, which may not always be visible to others. Find out about who's exempt from wearing face coverings.

Social distancing requirements: Where possible, stay two metres (three steps) away from others, indoors and outdoors. Social distancing should be maintained during all activities. Check out our suggestions for adapting the programme around social distancing and other Covid-secure measures.

Toilets and hand washing: Everyone should wash their hands or use hand sanitiser when they arrive and before they leave. You don't need to have separate toilets for each group or bubble, but you should try to limit the number of people using them at the same time.

ID verification: ID verification can be done in-person, on a one-to-one basis, if social distancing can be maintained. No-one should be under pressure to meet up if they cannot do so safely.

Virtual meetings: You can keep meeting virtually, even once you restart in-person meetings. You might want to alternate your meetings between online and face-to-face. It’s up to you to decide what works best for you and your unit. Check out our support for virtual guiding: 

21 June 

We know it's likely that restrictions will change on this date, but there might still be limits on numbers and activities. Please don't book activities or pay any booking fees until more information has been announced. It’s important to remember all dates given by government in the roadmap out of lockdown are not before dates and can be changed.

Weve outlined what guiding activity can take place in line with step three of the Youth Restart Guidelines and what you, as volunteers, will need to do to return safely and smoothly to face-to-face meetings. 

Indoor and outdoor guiding is allowed. Remember, you’ll need a risk assessment for outdoor and indoor activities and these must be signed off by a commissioner. 

Indoor meetings: Volunteers may only accommodate 75% of the building capacityFor example, if a building accommodates 80 people at full capacity, then up to 60 people are allowed indoors at any given time. 

Volunteers may permit a number of small groups in different rooms of the building. There should be a maximum of 25 young people per group, plus leaders and volunteers, of which the total number of young people doesn’t exceed 75% capacity of the building.  Access routes which provide entry into the immediate group space should be used by the group where possible to avoid cross group contact.

Social distancing of two metres should be maintained throughout the meeting. Face coverings must be worn by Guides, Rangers and volunteers, unless medically exempt.

Outdoor meetings: There is no limit on numbers. Social distancing of two metres should be maintained throughout the meeting.

Face coverings must be worn by Guides, Rangers and volunteers unless medically exempt. Meetings must take place within your local area.

Adult meetings can go ahead but must  follow government guidance around the number of adults allowed to meet outdoors and indoors. Essential adult trainings sessions  for A Safe Space and 1st Response can take place indoors. Check our guidance for organising training sessions.

Day trips are allowed and should be Covid-secure. All day trips should be risk assessed and this should be signed off by your local commissioner.

Residentials aren't currently allowed.

Risk assessments: To return to guiding, either face to face or online, you must complete a risk assessment before your meeting. For any face-to-face meetings, whether indoor or outdoor, your local commissioner needs to sign off your risk assessment. To complete a risk assessment for an in-person unit meeting, make sure to include: 

  • Which volunteers have current AccessNI and Level 3 A Safe Space training. 
  • How first aid will be provided, and, if relevant, the details of which volunteer has an up-to-date 1st Response qualification 
  • The date in the “Action by” box is completed 
  • The review date is completed 
  • The correct ratios  
  • Consideration of any volunteers or young members moving between nations 
  • Include management actions to mitigate any risks for vulnerable members or volunteers 
  • Face covering requirements 
  • Cleaning and clarifying responsibilities for cleaning, by who and when
  • Ventilation – how will you safely maximise fresh air in your venue?
  • A review of your unit meeting property risk assessment if required 

Consecutive meetings: It's recommended you don't attend consecutive meetings at the same venue, as there needs to be sufficient time for cleaning between bubbles. If groups are meeting at the same time, in separate rooms or areas, then they can share a first aider. 

Face coverings:Guides, Rangers and volunteers must wear face coverings for indoor meetings, unless medically exempt. Guides, Rangers and volunteers must wear face coverings for outdoor meetings if two metre social distancing is not possible. Rainbows and Brownies do not need to wear them. If someone cannot wear a face mask, a visor or face shield can be worn, but be aware that these do not offer as much protection as a mask. Any visor or shield must cover the nose and mouth. Medical grade PPE is not needed. 

Remember, some people are not able to wear a face covering due to a disability or medical condition, which may not always be visible to others. Find out about who's  exempt from wearing face coverings. 

Social distancing requirements:  Where possible, stay two metres (three steps) away from others, indoors and outdoors. Social distancing should be maintained during all activities. 

Toilets and hand washing:  Everyone should wash their hands or use hand sanitiser when they arrive and before they leave. You don't need to have separate toilets for each group or bubble, but you should try to limit the number of people using them at the same time. Hand sanitiser should be placed in each meeting room and communal area within the building. 

Food: Food can be provided between meetings but mustn't be shared between participants.

ID verification: ID verification can be done in-person, on a one-to-one basis, as long as social distance can be maintained. No-one should be under pressure to meet up if they cannot do so safely.

Virtual meetings:  You can still continue to meet virtually, even once you restart in-person meetings. You might want to alternate your meetings between being online and face-to-face. It’s up to you to decide what works best for you and your unit. Check out our support for virtual guiding: 

Scotland is operating a system of Levels, with varying restrictions. Please check which level your group meets in.

Outdoor meetings are allowed in all areas.

Indoor meetings are allowed. If you're meeting in a Level 3 area, indoor meetings are only allowed where vulnerable young people, under 18-years-old, require essential face-to-face support or where it's essential for completing a qualification. Where this is considered essential, a small group of girls who need this support can meet. If you're in Level 3 and think you have a group who should meet indoors, your risk assessment needs to explain the reasons for this and why online or outdoor meetings aren't suitable. Send this risk assessment to [email protected].

Group size:  For under 18s, a maximum of 30 people are allowed, both indoors and outdoors. This includes leaders and volunteers. Youth work sessions for over 18s have a group limit of 15 people, including leaders and volunteers. If your area is in Level 3, the maximum number of people allowed to meet outdoors is 15. Indoors, the limit is five, including volunteers.

Risk assessments: To return to guiding, either face-to-face or online, you must complete a risk assessment before your meeting. For any face-to-face meetings, whether indoor or outdoor, your local commissioner needs to sign off your risk assessment (unless you are meeting indoors in a Level 3 area when it needs to be sent to the email [email protected]). To complete a risk assessment for an in-person unit meeting, make sure to include: 

  • Which volunteers have current PVG and Level 3 A Safe Space training. 
  • How first aid will be provided, and, if relevant, the details of which volunteer has an up-to-date 1st Response qualification 
  • The date in the “Action by” box is completed 
  • The review date is completed
  • The correct ratios 
  • Consideration of any volunteers or young members moving between nations
  • Include management actions to mitigate any risks for vulnerable members or volunteers
  • Face covering requirements 
  • Cleaning and clarifying responsibilities for cleaning, by who and when 
  • Ventilation – how will you safely maximise fresh air in your venue?
  • A review of your unit meeting property risk assessment if required

Moving across borders: Travel is allowed across the UK. If you need to travel across a country border, for example from England to Scotland, to attend your guiding unit, you’ll need to check the latest government advice for the country you’re leaving and the country you're entering.

Moving between levels: Travel between areas is allowed but people are expected to continue to limit travel as much as possible. You're allowed to move between Level 0-2 and Level 3 to run a unit meeting

Day trips are permitted as long as they are Covid secure.

Residentials are allowed indoors and outdoors if you follow this guidance.

  • Your departure and destination are both within levels 0-2, (you may travel through a level 3 area but should avoid stopping if possible)
  • There is one group on the premises or campsite (except for places at Level 0). It's expected when this changes it will be for small groups in single occupancy tents or rooms. 
  • You must use single occupancy rooms or tents.
  • You must use single room wash facilities.
  • Numbers allowed match those allowed for meetings
  • Your risk assessment must include Covid measures around hygiene and social distancing. 

Consecutive meetings: Leaders can attend consecutive meetings in the same location, as long as they attend no more than two consecutive meetings in a day. If groups are meeting at the same time they can share a first aider.

Face coverings: You need to wear face coverings for indoor meetings. They aren't needed outdoors. At indoor meetings face coverings should be worn by Guides, Rangers and volunteers. Rainbows and Brownies don't need to wear them. If someone can't wear a face mask, a visor or face shield can be worn, but be aware these don't offer as much protection as a mask. Any visor or shield must cover the nose and mouth. Medical grade PPE is not needed.

Remember, some people are unable wear a face covering due to a disability or medical condition, which may not always be visible to others. Find out about who's exempt from wearing face coverings.

Social distancing requirements: Rainbows and Brownies don't need to be socially distanced. Everyone else should, where possible, stay two metres (three steps) away from others, indoors and outdoors. We know YouthLink Scotland advise that those aged 11 or under don't need to socially distance and this would apply to some girls in Guides. However, to make your unit meetings easier to run, we recommend all Guides practice social distancing no matter their age.

Toilets and hand washing: Everyone should wash their hands or use hand sanitiser when they arrive and before they leave. You don't need to have separate toilets for each group or bubble, but you should try to limit the number of people using them at the same time.

Adult meetings can go ahead but must  follow government guidance around the number of adults allowed to meet outdoors and indoors. Essential adult trainings sessions  for A Safe Space and 1st Response can take place indoors. Check our guidance for organising training sessions.

ID verification: Face to face ID verification can be done on a one-to-one basis, as long as social distancing can be maintained. No-one should be under pressure to meet face-to-face if they can't do so safely.

Virtual meetings: You can still meet virtually with your group if you decide that is best. We know girls need Girlguiding more than ever in these difficult times – take a look at:

More information: See more guidance from YouthLink Scotland (PDF)

The Welsh government has confirmed where guiding and other youth activity fit in the government plans for the move from alert level three to alert level two.  

Weve outlined what guiding activity we expect to be able to take place and what you, as volunteers, will need to do to return safely and smoothly to face-to-face meetings. 

Remember, you’ll need a risk assessment for outdoor and indoor activities, and these must be signed off by a commissioner.

Outdoor meetings are allowed with social distancing and other Covid secure measures.

Indoor meetings are allowed for children under 18-years-old. You must continue to follow all Covid precautions while meeting indoors. This includes Guides, Rangers and adults wearing face coverings.

Group size: Theres no limit on the number of children and young people under 18 who can attend outdoor or indoor meetings. You should be mindful of the space available and make sure it’s COVID secure

The Welsh government has further guidance in English and guidance in Welsh on its website.

Risk assessments: To return to guiding, either face-to-face or online, you must complete a risk assessment before your meeting.

For any face-to-face meetings, whether indoor or outdoor,  your risk assessment needs to be signed off by Girlguiding Cymru Safeguarding & Risk Team. Email them to [email protected] and copy in your county commissioner.

To complete a risk assessment for an in-person unit meeting, make sure to include: 

  •  Which volunteers have current DBS and Level 3 A Safe Space training. 
  • How first aid will be provided, and, if relevant, the details of which volunteer has an up-to-date 1st Response qualification 
  • The date in the “Action by” box is completed 
  • The review date is completed 
  • The correct ratios  
  • Consideration of any volunteers or young members moving between nations 
  • Include management actions to mitigate any risks for vulnerable members or volunteers 
  • Face covering requirements 
  • Cleaning and clarifying responsibilities for cleaning, by who and when
  • Ventilation – how will you safely maximise fresh air in your venue?
  • A review of your unit meeting property risk assessment if required

Check the Girlguiding Cymru website for further information on the risk assessment process in Wales.

Consecutive meetings: Leaders can run consecutive meetings in the same venue or location. For indoor meetings, spaces must be thoroughly cleaned between meetings. If groups are meeting at the same time, in separate rooms or areas, then they can share a first aider. 

Face coverings:Face coverings need to be worn for indoor meetings by Guides, Rangers and adults. Rainbows and Brownies don't need to wear them. If someone can't wear a face mask, a visor or face shield can be worn, but be aware that these do not offer as much protection as a mask. Any visor or shield must cover the nose and mouth. Medical grade PPE is not needed.

Remember, some people are unable wear a face covering due to a disability or medical condition, which may not always be visible to others. Find out about who's exempt from wearing face coverings. Face coverings don't need to be worn outdoors.

Day trips: Day trips are permitted but must be Covid secure. A risk assessment must be completed and sent to the Girlguiding Cymru Safeguarding & Risk team by emailing [email protected]

Residentials: You're allowed to take young members away, but only if accommodation is single-person occupancy (whether tents or indoor accommodation). All trips and travel must be planned in a Covid secure way and must take into account the restrictions in your home area and the area you're travelling to. A risk assessment must be completed and sent to the Girlguiding Cymru Safeguarding and Risk team.

Adult meetings and essential adult trainings sessions for A Safe Space and 1st Response can go ahead but must follow government guidance around the number of adults allowed to meet outdoors and indoors. This is currently up to 6 people indoors or groups of 30 outdoors. 

Social distancing requirements: Where possible, stay 2 metres (3 steps) away from others, indoors and outdoors. Social distancing should be maintained during all activities. 

Toilets and hand washing: Everyone should wash their hands or use hand sanitiser when they arrive and before they leave. You don't need to have separate toilets for each group or bubble, but you should try to limit the number of people using them at the same time. 

ID verification: ID verification can be done in-person, on a one-to-one basis, as long as social distance can be maintained. No-one should be under pressure to meet up if they cannot do so safely.

Virtual meetings: You can still continue to meet virtually, even once you restart in-person meetings. You might want to alternate your meetings between being online and face to face. It’s up to you to decide what works best for you and your unit. Check out our support for virtual guiding:

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

I have a question about...

How can I welcome a new girl to my unit if we're meeting online?

For units meeting online, weve created a virtual guiding new starter form for new joiners. This can be filled out digitally and emailed back to you.  

You and another adult volunteer should talk with the new starter and their parent or carer. Let them know how your unit is running during Covid-19 and find out if they’re able to join online meetings, if this is how you’re meeting.  

Parents or carers will need to complete a virtual meeting consent form before you share any specific log-in details for your meetings.  

All the things you do in your unit to keep girls safe still apply online. Make sure you check our Safeguarding policy and Digital safeguarding policy before trying any online activity with girls or other volunteers. 

See our guidance for staying safe in virtual meetings.

What should I do if girls are due to transition to the next section? 

If girls are due to move up a section, have a meeting with the new unit. If they’re not meeting in person, you could arrange a digital welcome meeting. 

If girls need more support, dont know their new leader, or are worried about moving at this time, their move date can be pushed back until they can meet their new unit in person. 

If the new unit is meeting face-to-face, then girls can join in the usual way

My girls were working on the transition route to the Gold award, will the timeframe for this be extended? 

The Gold transition route final deadline for all sections was 31 March 2021. This extension has now come to an end.

Where can I find Girlguiding programme materials online? 

Check out our Adventures at home hub for a range of programme activities. These are free to download and watch on our YouTube channel. You'll also find new challenges and games, all available for free.

Find out how you can continue delivering the Girlguiding programme during coronavirus.

Will there be any temporary changes to programme requirements? 

We’ve reduced the number of skills builder activities needed to earn a stage and the number of unit meeting activity hours needed for Theme awards. These changes are in place until 31 July 2021. Find out what we've changed.

How do I help girls continue with their Queen's Guide award and Duke of Edinburgh award?

All the information you need is on our Queen's Guide award guidance page and our Duke of Edinburgh award guidance page.

Have all BGO unit meetings stopped?

Different places around the world are at different stages of coming into or going out of lockdown, so some BGO units may be able to meet. If you have questions, check with your commissioner in BGO.

  • These funding opportunities can help local guiding through the pandemic.
  • Your unit might be eligible for a UK Units In Need grant if you are in immediate financial trouble. You should also talk to your county commissioner to find out if any hardship arrangements are available locally. 

If I cancel meetings, do I have to reimburse parents' subscriptions?

Our annual subscription helps run our charity at a national level. It pays for our insurance, safeguarding team and other central functions that remain necessary even if units are not meeting. It also includes levies to support other levels of Girlguiding, such as region and county, and their annual running costs. 

This subscription will not be refunded to units. If youve collected it from parents, you dont need to refund it because their daughters are still members of Girlguiding.See our page on subs during coronavirus - which includes some template letters for parents - for more information.

The decisions about refunding unit subscriptions to parents is made locally. It is likely coronavirus will put strain on family budgets. Iyour unit’s in a position to give refunds, please consider it. 

If you still need to pay rent or other expenses and dont have reserves to cover refunds, explain this to parents so they understand why you can’t offer a refund. 

It remains your unit's responsibility to cover any ongoing unit expenses such as hall hire. 

If I cancel a trip, we don't receive a refund – do I have to pay parents back?

If you’re able to claim any money back or can claim on your own events insurance, then pass the refund onto parents and carers. If there are non-recoverable costs that parents and carers have already paid for, explain why you’re not able to give refunds. 

 

I have a trip planned and I’m worried about insurance. What do I do if a final payment is needed, but the trip might be cancelled? 

We know this can be worrying, but we’re in unprecedented times and as long as you’ve looked at your options thoroughly to make the decision best for you and the group – that’s the best you can do. 

To work out whether to pay a final instalment for a trip or not, or postpone, you need to think about the following things:

  • What’s your insurer’s position on the situation? Check if it’s changed during the coronavirus pandemic and what they’re saying about any exclusions. Will they consider it as disinclination to travel if you choose not to go or will they continue to pay out? 
  • When is your trip? Speak to your insurer about the options - whether that’s postponing, rescheduling or cancelling. 
  • What’s in your terms and conditions? Some travel providers will cancel the trip if the final balance isn’t paid and you’ll lose the money already paid in. This might impact your rights to claim on insurance too – always read the small print. 
  • How much money have you already paid in and might lose? If it’s a small deposit that won’t be a big loss, it might make more financial sense to cancel without paying further. 
  • What impact will this decision have on the trip attendees and how you will you manage changes in numbers if people aren’t able to come anymore – will you replace them? Can you offer refunds? 
  • Have you updated parents? It may seem obvious but it’s good to be upfront with parents about the situation, as they might be worried too. 

I've been fundraising for a trip that can't go ahead – do I have to return the donations? 

It depends on how you raised the money for the trip and what you said to the donor at the time.  

Here are some examples: 

  • If you have been sponsored to do something to raise money for your trip and your trip is now cancelled, you need to contact each of your sponsors and let them know about the cancellation. You must ask them if they are happy for funds to still go towards the Girlguiding group or if they want a refund.  
  • If you held a bake sale, raffle or quiz to raise money for your trip and your trip is now cancelled, you won’t need to give refunds even though the trip is cancelled. The money must still be given to the charity you were raising money for, eg your unit. 
  • If you received a grant from a group or organisation, like your district, local Trefoil Guild or a community group like the Rotary Club, let them know your trip has been cancelled or postponed and ask if they would like their grant returned. If you signed an agreement when you received this donation, you should refer to that.

If you’re not sure, please look at our Donation acceptance policy or contact our Fundraising team by emailing [email protected] or calling 020 7834 6242. 

 

Can my fundraising event go ahead? 

You should follow UK government advice on social distancing and reducing social interactions when running any events. We recommend you do a risk assessment, including for events taking place online, and remain mindful of the changing restrictions. If you then decide your event shouldn’t go ahead you should contact everyone involved and either cancel, postpone or look for an alternative event to hold instead. 

 

Do Girlguiding still need me to raise money for them?

Yes! We know many units will be in a difficult financial position because of coronavirus. Grants are available for units in need of financial support. Please continue to raise money if you can.   

 

Can I still sign up for a Charity Challenge event? 

Check with the group running the challenge to see if it's still going ahead. Many charity challenges scheduled for later in the year and beyond are still accepting sign ups. Even if the event is postponed, Girlguiding nationally, regionally and locally needs your support now more than ever.

 

My unit still needs to raise money – how can I fundraise while following government advice? 

There are lots of ways to take your fundraising online. You can sign your unit up to easyfundraising, a clever website that turns everyday online shopping from 4,000 retailers into free donations - and you don't need to have a charity number to use it. 

 You could also host a virtual event using Zoom or Google hangouts. With people being asked to avoid direct contact, these could be a great way to keep in touch and give people something to do - like a quiz with donations to take part. 

My unit, district or county owns a building. Can I still rent this out to non-Girlguiding bookings? 

We’re committed to doing everything we can to stop the spread of the virus so you must always keep this in mind. But if you are owners of the property, this is your decision. Take a look at our advice on managing property during coronavirus.

Any bookings that are accepted during this time must be thoroughly risk assessed to make sure they dont breach current government guidance to reduce the spread of the virus.

 

I'm part of a management committee that looks after a Girlguiding property. What is the guidance for managing buildings during this time? 

Take a look at our advice on managing properties during coronavirus.

You’ll also need to check the relevant government guidance on managing property during this time. For campsites and activity centres guidance can be found on the UK government website.

Should I cancel events we've planned for later in the year?

Cancelling planned events  is a local decision. When deciding what to do you’ll need to think about what the cancellation terms are if you cancel or postpone events. 

Our national activity centres have cancelled their large summer events for 2021. Unit events and activities at the centres are being arranged. These are being risk assessed on a case-by-case basis depending on the current national guidelines and restrictions. 

 

My unit have a trip booked with PGL that we can't get refunded – what can I do? 

We’ve been working closely with PGL since the start of the lockdown. PGL are handling all enquiries and prioritising these by planned trip date. While their centres are closed, you'll be given the opportunity to move your booking to any time in 2021, in line with  their terms and conditions. Please contact [email protected] for support with any queries. If you need any further support contact [email protected]

 

Can we do any Duke of Edinburgh's and Queens Guide award expeditions and explorations? 

Overnight stays are  allowed from 17 May, but with restrictions in each nation. Please check the national guidance to see if you can meet the requirements for residential trips at this time. You can do Duke of Edinburgh's Award (DofE) expeditions using some of the DofE’s flexibilities.  Please visit ourDofEand Queens Guide award guidance pages to keep up to date with our latest advice.

When can I plan residentials in the UK? 

Residentials are permitted in England from 17 May. Please check the nations guidance pages for more details. These restrictions are in place until at least 21 June  and it is expected that some restrictions will continue beyond this date.  

As we don't know what restrictions will be in place going into the summer, we suggest you avoid committing to any firm plans at this point and paying money.  

If you’ve started planning a residential for later in the year, look into the feasibility of the trip so youre able to make a risk-based decision. Look at your terms and conditions, cost implications, and current situation and speak to your leadership team, girls’ parents and carers, and your provider about your options. If you continue planning, you should submit an updated REN form, along with a new risk assessment, to your appropriate commissioner for approval.  

We know in the current circumstances there may not always be time for the full 12 weeks required for a new REN form to be processed. If theres sufficient time for your commissioner to approve, and if this is only an update of a previously approved REN, this period could be shorter. 

 

When can I travel internationally?

In line with government and NYA guidance, international trips are not allowed.. At the moment we don't know the specific requirements for taking young people away, so we cannot support you to fully plan or risk assess travel until we have all the information.  We’ll keep monitoring the guidance and will let you know as soon as we’re sure when travel will be allowed and what you’ll need to do 

You must always follow foreign office and government advice on trips and travel with young people and check the specific country advice. When booking, be sure to read the cancellation policy carefully and don’t make any payments until you have appropriate, comprehensive travel insurance in place. 

Don't do any fundraising for new international trips or submit any permission to plan documents for trips. In England we expect international travel to be allowed to some countries after 21 June. If you’re interested in running a trip after this date, we recommend you wait until government guidance is announced in June before you start planning. Do not pay any deposits or booking fees for trips until you have comprehensive insurance in place, to protect you if the situation changes. 

 

I already have permission to plan for a trip in 2021. Can I proceed with planning?

If youre already planning a trip for later in the year, we recommend you look into the feasibility of the trip, so youre able to make a risk-based decision. Look at your terms and conditions, cost implications, current situation and speak to your leadership team, girls’ parents and carers, and your provider about your options. If you wish to continue planning, you should submit an updated REN form to your country and region international advisor and commissioner. If you need more guidance after consulting with key stakeholders, please get in touch with your country and region international advisor for support. You should only make payments for the trip once you have comprehensive insurance in place. 

 

I already have permission to plan for a trip in 2022. Can I proceed with planning?

Before raising money or planning activities, ask your country and region international advisor for advice. You should only make further payments for the trip if you have comprehensive insurance in place. 

 

Can I submit a new permission to plan form?

If youre interested in running an international trip once they are allowedask your country and region international advisor for advice before starting to plan. You should not make any payments, like paying a deposit, until you have permission to plan and comprehensive insurance in place.

 

Can we go on a day trip in the UK?

Yes you can! Reduce risk by staying local and avoiding shared transport wherever possible. If you do use shared transport, such as minibuses or coaches, please think how you will travel in a covid secure way.   

Ideally trips will be close enough so parents and carers can drop off and pick up young members. You should consider if the trip is necessary and if you can manage any financial commitmentsAll day trips should be risk assessed and a copy of the risk assessment sent to your local commissioner for sign off. You might want to think about postponing any trips until after 21 June, when itpossible that the restrictions on travel will be lifted.

What should I do if a member tests positive for Covid-19?

If there's a confirmed case of coronavirus in your unit everyone who attended the meeting - leaders, volunteers and any visitors - should follow track and trace procedures. If you hire your meeting venue, you should let the property managers know as well.

The member who tested positive should self-isolate and follow Government and health advice for their area:

You don't need to let HQ know about confirmed cases.

What should I do if a member comes to a meeting with Covid-19 symptoms?

If you're worried by a member’s symptoms, contact their parent or carer and ask for them to be collected, or send them home immediately. Risk assessments should look at ways of managing this based on the unit team you have. For example, you could have a defined process for how you will distance the person with symptoms from the rest of the group and call all parents and carers to come and collect their children. 

Encourage the member with symptoms to seek testing. If they test positive for coronavirus, you'll need to suspend unit meetings immediately for two weeks and follow track and trace procedures. 

Do I still need to do my A Safe Space training? 

Yes, A Safe Space training is mandatory for all volunteers. Level 1 and 2 can be completed online as e-learningsAnd Levels 3 and 4 can be done through  a virtual platform – ask your commissioner about how this is delivered in your area or contact your country or region office. We expect all volunteers to complete the appropriate training levels needed for their role and renew regularly to remain up to date. This must be completed before the course expiry date to remain compliant.

What information can we share with people who might have had contact with someone who's now self-isolating or experiencing symptoms? 

From a data protection point of view, volunteers and parents in the person's regular unit can be told someone has tested positive. Dont share the identity of the person. 

Any other volunteers present on the day can let their unit’s volunteers and parents know that a member has possibly contracted the virus. We advise they look out for symptoms and follow the public health advice where they live. 

I've received a reminder that I need to start a disclosure check. I'm not volunteering at the momentand I can't complete the check whilst following guidance on social distancing. What do I do? 

Volunteers in roles which involve regulated activity must have an up-to-date disclosure check.  If youre not currently volunteering you dont need a check, but one will need to be done before you return to your volunteering role. 

As this was not possible during the early stages of lockdown, we've extended the recheck deadline. Check the disclosure section of your GO record to see your new, extended disclosure expiry date.   

Disclosure checks can take place if social distancing measures are followed. Your local ID verifier or commissioner will be in touch to arrange this with you or you can check our updated information on ID verification.

I have outstanding actions from a complaints, compliance, or safeguarding enquiry, do I have to continue with those requests? 

As much as is possible yes. The complaints, compliance and safeguarding teams will continue to offer support to investigate and provide outcomes for concerns raised.  

In many cases this information can be gathered by email, video meetings and phone calls. If that's not possible and you're unable to progress an investigation, let the relevant team know. They can work with you to mitigate any risks and plan next steps.  

I'm concerned about a young member or an adult volunteer who has lost their Girlguiding support network during the outbreak, what can I do? 

If you have concerns about a member who may be more vulnerable without their social or guiding networks, get in touch with the safeguarding team to share your concerns on[email protected] We also have further advice and resources on supporting young members and adult volunteers around wellbeing and mental health that you may find useful.

Do I need to have completed Level 3 A Safe Space training to run online meetings? 

We always need to make sure unit meetings are safe, whether they’re in person or online. We’d recommend that at least one volunteer in an online meeting has completed Level 3. Make sure you check out ourguidance for safe guiding online.

What happens if my 1st Response training expired while there was no training being delivered? 

If your 1st Response course expired after 16 March 2020, you continue to act as a first aider at a unit meeting if you  attend the virtual part of the 1st Response course.

 This allows you to act as the first aider for up to six months from the date that face-to-face training resumes, so you'll have time to attend a practical skills session to complete the qualification.

If the six months passes and you have not done the practical session, you can no longer act as the first aider. The virtual part of the training is valid for three years, so you will still have time to access the practical session at a later date.

The 1st Response course should be marked on GO as ‘In Progress’ once the virtual training has been attended and marked as ‘Complete’ once a trainer has approved this through face-to-face skills check session. The 'completed on' date in GO should be the date you attended the main six-hour training session or the date you attended the third of the three two-hour sessions, or the date of the refresher. Your 1st Response training will expire three years from this date, not from the date of your practical skills session. 

This will not apply for those who have never completed first aid training or for residential events. 

The 6-month expiry is based on the following dates:

  • England 12 April- valid until 11 October
  • Scotland 17 May- valid until 16 November
  • Wales 3rd May- valid until 2 November
  • Northern Ireland- 3 May- valid until 2 November

Do I need to do any additional cleaning or make any modifications as a 1st Response trainer when running in-person training? 

All trainers should read the statement from The Resuscitation Council. This will tell you what you need to do in all training situations. Manikins should already be cleaned to the standard needed to prevent Covid-19 transmission.  

The updated 1st Response training released on 1 November 2020 includes more detailed guidance on first aid during Covid-19. 

Will I be liable if someone contracts Covid-19 at a Girlguiding meeting?

Girlguiding’s public liability insurance covers anyone attending a Girlguiding meeting, event or activity against claims of injury, harm or damage, unless they have acted deliberately negligently. This means leaders won't be held personally liable for any accident or an illness contracted as long as they have taken all due care and attention to mitigate the risks, filled out a risk assessment and followed our policies, procedures and guidance. 

What should I do if I know a young member has not followed the local Covid-19 rules outside of guiding?

Young members are our responsibility once they come through the door to their unit meeting. We can’t police what happens outside of the unit meeting. This is why we’re Covid-19 secure while they’re with us. 

We encourage volunteers to follow the public guidance regarding travel and to not give anyone outside of their household a lift to a unit meeting. A leader can only control the unit environment though, we don’t expect any volunteer to police how girls get to the unit meeting. 

What is the limit on how many people can meet together at the same time?

The guidance is different for each nation and for indoor and outdoor meetings. You can find information for your nation in the relevant section towards the top of this page. 

When returning to face-to-face meetings will each bubble of 15 meeting from a unit at the same time, need to have a leader with A Safe Space level 3 training?

There needs to be a minimum of one volunteer who holds a current level 3 A Safe Space, disclosure check and first aid. It doesn’t need to be the same person who holds all three. This needs to be clearly considered and included in your risk assessment. Leaders and volunteers may move between bubbles if required to safeguard young people, manage behaviour, or provide assistance, but this should be avoided if possible. Age-appropriate ratios also need to be considered. 

If our meeting venue changes will we need new consent forms?

You should getparents and carers to complete a new consent form for each new terms’ activities, in line with existing Girlguiding policy. Additional consent forms should be completed for meetingsthat are outside the usual times or venues.. You can use the same consent form for multiple meetings at the same venue; for example, if youre meeting at a local campsite for four weeks you would only need one form to cover these weeks. If you need more information on using consent forms, check out our getting permission page.

You dont need any additional consent forms if meeting in your usual venue at your usual time. Youll

  • We have extended 1st Response training and disclosure check renewal dates. See the Safety and safeguarding information above for full details.  

Can I still work on my Leadership qualification during this time? 

Although unit meetings and training sessions are currently being run differently, you can continue to work on your Leadership qualification. 

The Leadership qualification workbook asks the leader-in-training to do two activities in the unit meeting place. At the moment, this might be outdoors, or an online space, but they still count! Don’t forget, online unit meetings are very different to face-to-face ones, so you should consider how your approach for an in-person meeting can be adapted for an online environment – this includes the way you communicate with your members, and the choice of activity. When reviewing your evidence, your mentor may ask you about how you adapt to different environments, so make sure you’re thinking about this. 

Remember, you may be able to meet with other units online and should follow our Digital safeguarding policy and procedures if you do this. 

Is the London Girlguiding shop open?

The Girlguiding shop on Buckingham Palace Road is closed.

 

Is there any guidance on opening volunteer shops? 

We know all volunteer shops operate differently.If you're in an area where non-essential retail can re-open, we recommend you do a risk assessment before re-opening and follow theUK government guidance on any local and national lockdowns that might stop you from remaining open. Volunteer shops are not considered essential and should be closed if non-essential retail is required to close. When re-opening think about any precautions and safety measures you’ll need to put in place.

When do I need to complete a risk assessment?

To return to guiding, either face-to-face or online, you must complete a risk assessment before your first meeting. For any face-to-face meetings, whether indoor or outdoor, your local commissioner needs to sign off your risk assessment.  

You need to complete a new risk assessment for each venue or location used but you can use the same form for multiple meetings in one venue. 

How many volunteers can meet face-to-face if it's an adult only meeting?

Public guidance applies to all adult meetings – including trainings other than First Response and A Safe Space. See our organising indoor training sessions guidance for details. This means that if, for example, the rule of six applies in your local area, then no more than six adult volunteers can meet face-to-face. Girlguiding is only exempt from public restrictions as a youth organisation so only meetings with young people, like unit meetings, are exempt. Only the above volunteer trainings are currently exempt.  

What cleaning do I need to do in indoor venues?

Cleaning is an essential part of ensuring we are Covid safe when we meet indoors.

Plans for thorough cleaning should be included in your risk assessments, including when it will be done during your meeting time, and who will be responsible for carrying it out.

When we talk about thorough cleaning, we mean:

  • Increased frequency. It's essential to clean before meetings, in between consecutive meetings and after the meetings
  • Pay particular attention to frequently touched surfaces and frequently used areas. For example door handles, window latches, toilet flush, soap dispensers, taps.
  • Remove any unnecessary items. Taking things out of the meeting space means they won't be touched and will make cleaning more straightforward. 
  • Reusable equipment should be, where possible, replaced with disposable versions. For example, use paper towels in the toilet, instead of a hand towel.
  • If you rent the space from someone else, find out from them who'll be responsible for the cleaning. They might have an employed cleaner or designated member of their team who is responsible.

Can we meet outdoors at a venue owned by Girlguiding and use the toilet facilities?

If a Girlguiding property is open and there is outdoor space, then you can hold outdoor meetings and activities there. 

Include the toilets in your risk assessment. Make sure they are frequently cleaned, and social distancing is possible. It's important to take steps to prevent the spread of Covid-19 on the premises. 

Can units units meet in private homes or gardens?

No they can’t. Unit meetings, with anyone under 18, aren't allowed in private homes or gardens of any member of Girlguiding. For rules in BGO and Branches, please check with your commissioner. A private home or garden covers the place where someone lives, such as a house, flat or bungalow, the land surrounding it – usually enclosed by a fence, hedge or wall – plus any buildings on that land, for example garden sheds, annexes or cabins. We can’t allow meetings in private homes or gardens because:

  • Our disclosure checks don’t cover home based working, which guiding at home would fall under.
  • Volunteers would have to go above and beyond to stay Covid secure. We're following guidance from the National Youth Agency who have said meetings in private homes and gardens aren't allowed. This must be followed across the UK.
  • Many would not have access to a big enough space and a separate toilet facility.

How can we stay socially distanced when giving first aid?

Your first concern should always be treating the accident or incident properly But you should take some extra steps to keep things safe during Covid-19. 

If possible, ask the injured member to do things for you. They can follow your instructions to treat themselves, so you can help from a safe distance and reduce the time you spend close to each other. For example, you could demonstrate to a girl how she can clean a wound and apply a plaster, while she follows along. 

There is some extra recommended equipment that should be added to your first aid kit: 

  • A fluid-repellent surgical mask
  • Disposable gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Apron or other suitable body covering
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitiser

Make sure you’re up to date with the latest guidance by reading through advice from the Health and Safety Executive and UK government on first aid in community settings.

The Resuscitation Council UK has provided guidance on chest compression only CPR for children.

For BGO you should check the first aid and community guidance that your country and region has produced.

What first aid cover should be provided at meetings?

All meetings need to have a qualified first aider present. Most of the time this will be a Girlguiding volunteer with a valid 1st Response qualification or an approved external first aid qualification.  

If the venue or provider you are using provides first aid cover, this will count as having a first aider. Let your commissioner know if this is the case.  

Can I hold multiple 'bubble' meetings in the same space? 

Different parts of the UK have different guidance on how many people can meet up. Take a look at our summary of the different nations' rules above if you're not sure, or check your local restrictions.  

If you have enough volunteers and a venue with multiple spaces, it may be possible for multiple groups to meet in your venue. Leaders may move between bubbles if required to safeguard young people, manage behaviour or provide assistance. This should be avoided if possible and there must be enough qualified first aiders and volunteers with current DBS/AccessNI/PVG. 

Bubbles shouldnt move to spaces where another bubble has been unless a deep clean has been carried out of the new space. All attendees must stay in their own groups with the correct adult:child ratios. Different bubbles need to be in specific pre-agreed spaces with a physical barrier (wall/screens/bunting) between them. 

Can we serve food at activities? 

All activities, including serving food, must be carefully risk assessed to reduce risk of spreading Covid-19. Good hygiene practice must be followed and anyone handling food must wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.   

This should be done routinely, including before and after handling food and when moving between different areas of the space. If youre in Northern Ireland, you cant serve food at meetings. 

Can my unit sing in our meetings?

Because the space you meet in will affect how risky singing is, you should do a risk assessment before singing in any meetings. 

We recommend you only sing in outdoor meetings. But if your indoor meeting venue has plenty of space for social distancing and is well ventilated, with a risk assessment, you might be able to safely sing together. Where possible you should avoid face-to-face singing and position people to avoid transmission.  

You should also follow this advice if anyone is playing woodwind instruments. These should only be used in outdoors or in well-ventilated spaces where social distancing can be practiced. 

What if my commissioner won't sign off my risk assessment for face to face guiding? 

The process for the outdoor and indoor meeting checklist and risk assessment should work in the same way as the Residential Event Notification form that you complete before taking girls away overnight.  

If your commissioner hasnt signed off your risk assessment, it’s best to talk to them about it. They might have questions about your planning or could ask you to make changes that will help you to reduce risk and keep members safe.  

When young members (under 18s) volunteer with a group e.g. Guide helper at Brownies, are they counted within the group sizing?

For England and Wales, there isn’t a limit on the number of children and young people who can attend meeting. This includes if they’re attending as a volunteer. In Northern Ireland and Scotland, a young member attending as a volunteer is counted within the young person group size limit (15 in Northern Ireland and 30 in Scotland).
 

Are there any restrictions on what activities can be done within meetings?

There are no restrictions on specific activities, although our prohibited activities list must still be followed. However, you should risk assess all activities to make sure they can be done in a Covid secure way, with everyone taking part following social distancing and hygiene guidelines. 

Check out our suggestions on how to adapt programme activities for socially distanced or online meetings.

The same process should be followed for more adventurous activities. Iyou’re using an external provider, ask to see their risk assessment and check they are working in a Covid secure way. 

If you have any questions that aren't answered in the FAQs above, please contact [email protected]