Holding meetings outdoors
Try meeting out in the fresh air - and follow these steps to make sure you're staying safe
Last reviewed: 6 October 2021
Remember that you must always use the official Girlguiding forms so that we can support you if there's an accident or incident.
Follow these steps before starting to meet. Once you have completed all 9 steps you'll be able to start meeting outdoors.
- Contact your local commissioner and let them know that you're planning to start meeting. Your local commissioner is the person who directly supports your unit. Depending on where you live, this is usually your district or division commissioner. Find out how much time she'll need to sign off your risk assessment – it's likely to be 2 weeks.
- Complete the outdoor face to face meetings checklist and risk assessment (PDF). Only continue with planning to meet if you can answer yes to every question. Read through the guidance for your area:
- Use the risk assessment to consider the specific risks of coronavirus. Think about what you can do to reduce these risks. This could include handwashing facilities, social distancing, and safely using transport. Remember, our risk assessment documents are templates. They are not updated when legislation and guidance changes. If you need to, you can edit them to make sure they match the advice in your area.
- Share the completed checklist and risk assessment with your local commissioner. Wait for them to give you the go-ahead and sign off the forms.
- Keep parents and carers informed and tell them about your plans. We've created a template letter that you can adapt for your unit.
- Get parent or carer consent. Check our information on getting permission and ask them to complete the Information and consent form (PDF). These forms will be vital for contact tracing if someone develops coronavirus symptoms after the meeting. You need to keep these forms for 1 month after the activity. If you're meeting outside at your usual meeting place, parents and carers do not need to complete a consent form.
- Make sure you have up-to-date contact information on GO, as this might be needed for contact tracing.
- As always, make sure that your plans are in line with the health, safety and welfare procedures. Share your completed risk assessment with all volunteers attending your activities.
- Make sure that you have enough adults to support your activity. During this time of heightened risk and uncertainty, you need at least 2 adults, including parent helpers, at every activity. Depending on the size of your group, you might need more adults to make sure the correct adult:child ratios are maintained. Think about how you can maintain these ratios if one of your volunteers has to self-isolate.
You need to keep attendance records for 1 month after any meeting, this helps with contact tracing and is in line with Girlguiding policies.
If you're part of British Girlguiding Overseas, you'll need to follow the current guidelines and restrictions in your area.
These template letters will help you get in touch with parents and carers about starting to meet again.
They're designed for you to adapt to suit your unit’s situation. Each template has space for you to add your own details.
Copy and paste the template text from below.
Dear parents and carers, [insert first name if you are sending this individually]
As you may know, Girlguiding has announced that we can begin meeting face to face again if we follow government guidance. For us currently that means [add the right info for you here. For example, 6 people can meet outside.]
We’ve missed seeing all the girls so much and are keen to get together in person, within the guidelines.
We would like to invite your daughter to an outdoor meeting at:
[Add your meeting details here, for example: Town Centre playing fields, 7pm on Tuesday]
The safety of the girls and leaders is always very important to us. We do a full risk assessment for all activities we do, and this is no different. I know you might be feeling a bit anxious, so I wanted to let you know what plans we have put in place to keep everyone safe.
[Explain your plans here, for example,
- Completed a thorough Covid-19 risk assessment
- We've got some great activity ideas that will work without close contact
- Hand sanitiser will be available throughout the activity
- All girls will clean their hands with hand sanitiser when they arrive. They will do this again after using any shared equipment such as balls, pens, scissors etc.]
If your child is feeling ill, or someone in your household is showing symptoms of coronavirus, then please follow self-isolating guidelines. Girls must not attend any meetings until any self isolation period is complete. We are asking the same of all our volunteers and leaders.
Can you take a look at the information included with this letter and let us know if we need to update your contact details?
I will also need your consent for your child to attend this meeting, so please complete and return the attached form. This is the form we always use when meeting outside our usual meeting space.
We’ll hold onto this information and use it for track and trace if needed.
If you have any concerns, or would like to talk about our plans, please do not hesitate to contact me
I’m so looking forward to seeing all the girls again when we start meeting in person again.
Dear parents and carers [Add names if sending this individually]
As you may know, Girlguiding has announced that we can begin meeting face to face again if we follow government guidance.
I have spoken to the other leaders and we have decided that we can not return face to face meetings yet. I know this is disappointing, but the safety of girls and leaders must be our primary concern.
[Add information about the reasons here, for example,
- Leaders are all vulnerable
- Leaders are key workers
- We don’t have access to a suitable outdoor space]
We will carry on [include details of your current plans here, for example, meeting by Zoom, sending out newsletters.]
We will let you know as soon as we are able to meet face to face. In the meantime, if you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.