Holding meetings outdoors

Outdoor meetings might now be possible in your area, follow these steps to make sure you're staying safe.

Last reviewed: 10 September 2020

If you want to hold outdoor, face to face meetings for girls, now that government guidelines allow it in some areas, you'll need to follow these steps.

This will make sure that girls and volunteers can stay safe as they enjoy being together as a unit.

Remember that you must always use the official Girlguiding forms. We have included them all here for you. Using these forms means we can support you if there is an accident or incident.

Outdoor face to face meetings

Follow this step by step procedure before starting to meet. Once you have completed all eight steps you will be able to start meeting outdoors.

  1. Contact your local commissioner and let them know that you are 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 will need to sign off your risk assessment – it's likely to be 2 weeks. 
  2. Complete the outdoor face to face meetings checklist and risk assessment. Only continue with planning to meet if you can answer yes to every question. This includes checking if you can met and how many people can meet in the area you live in. Read through the guidance for your area:
  3. 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 transport.
  4. 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 over email.
  5. Keep parents and carers informed by sending them a letter detailing your plans. We have created a template that you can adapt for your unit.
  6. Get parent or carer consent. Ask them to complete the Information and consent form (PDF). These forms will be vital for track and trace if someone develops coronavirus symptoms after the meeting. You need to keep these forms for 3 weeks after the activity.
  7. 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.
  8. 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 adult:child ratios are maintained.

You need to keep attendance records for 1 month after any meeting, this helps with Track and Trace and is in line with Girlguiding policies.

If you have any questions about this process, check the FAQs on our coronavirus page please contact [email protected]

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, or download the Word version of these letters.

Template letters

Download this template (Word)

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 will all keep a social distance of 2m during the activity or meeting. 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 isolation 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.

Download this letter template (Word)

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.

How many people can I meet with?

Last updated: 23 September 2020

We've summarised how national guidance applies to unit meetings in your area. Check here to find out about group sizes, face coverings and the latest social distancing advice. Local council restrictions may limit the activity that can take place in your area.

We'll do our best to keep these numbers updated in line with government guidance. But please do check the official advice for your area for the most recent information.

If you're a Girlguiding member overseas, check the local government advice your country. Contact the chief commissioner for BGO, [email protected], with any questions or concerns around indoor and outdoor activity. You should not restart face to face guiding before you have spoken to the chief commissioner or your county commissioner.

Indoor meetings: Yes - from 24 September

Outdoor meetings: Yes

Group size: Up to 15, plus leaders.

Consecutive meetings: Leaders can attend consecutive meetings in the same venue or location. Any indoor space must be thorough 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: You need to wear face coverings for indoor meetings. They are not needed outdoors. 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.

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 seperate toilets for each group or bubble, but you should try to limit the number of people using them at the same time.

Shared spaces: Shared spaces such as sports halls or kitchens need to be deep cleaned thoroughly between meetings if different groups are using them on the same day. Spaces should not be used by more than one group at the same time. Shared spaces must be thoroughly cleaned when the unit meeting ends

Read more guidance from the National Youth Agency.

Indoor meetings: No. The Northern Ireland Assembly have indicated that indoor activity will restart from 1 October 2020.

Outdoor meetings: Yes

Group size: Up to 30 including leaders. Outdoor meetings only.

Consecutive meetings: Leaders can run consecutive meetings outdoors, as long as they attend no more than 2 consecutive meetings on a day. Consecutive indoor meetings will not be permitted when they restart on 1 October 2020

Face coverings: Not needed for outdoor meetings.

Social distancing requirements: Where possible, stay 2 metres (3 steps) away from others. 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.

Read more guidance from the Department of Health.

Indoor meetings: Yes - from 24 September

Outdoor meetings: Yes

Group size: Up to 30 including leaders.

Consecutive meetings: Leaders can attend consecutive meetings in the same venue or location, as long as they attend no more than 2 consecutive meetings in a day. Any indoor space must be thorough cleaned between meetings. If groups are meeting at the same time, in separate rooms, then they can share a first aider.

Face coverings: You need to wear face coverings for indoor meetings. They are not needed outdoors. 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.

Social distancing requirements: Rainbows and Brownies do not need to be socially distanced. Everyone else should, where possible, stay 2 metres (3 steps) away from others, indoors and outdoors. We know that YouthLink Scotland advise that those aged 11 or under do not need to socially distance and that this would apply to some girls in Guides. However, to make your unit meetings easier to run, we recommend that 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 seperate toilets for each group or bubble, but you should try to limit the number of people using them at the same time.

Shared spaces: Shared spaces such as sports halls or kitchens need to be deep cleaned thoroughly between meetings if different groups are using them on the same day. Spaces should not be used by more than one group at the same time. Shared spaces must be thoroughly cleaned when the unit meeting ends

Read more guidance from Youth Link Scotland (PDF).

Indoor meetings: Yes - from 24 September

Outdoor meetings: Yes

Group size: Up to 30 including leaders.

Consecutive meetings: Leaders can attend consecutive meetings in the same venue or location, as long as they attend no more than 2 consecutive meetings in a day.  Any indoor space must be thorough cleaned between meetings. If groups are meeting at the same time, in separate rooms, then they can share a first aider.

Face coverings: You need to wear face coverings for indoor meetings. They are not needed outdoors. 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.

Social distancing requirements: Rainbows and Brownies do not need to be social distancedEveryone else should, where possible, stay 2 metres (3 steps) away from others, indoors and outdoors. 

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 seperate toilets for each group or bubble, but you should try to limit the number of people using them at the same time.

Shared spaces: Indoor activities should take place in ventilated areas of the building and with doors or windows open when possible. Shared spaces such as sports halls or kitchens need to be deep cleaned thoroughly between meetings if different groups are using them on the same day. Spaces should not be used by more than one group at the same time. Shared spaces must be thoroughly cleaned when the unit meeting ends

Read more guidance from the Welsh Government.