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.

What rules do I need to follow?

Last updated: 8 January 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 that can take place in your area, so 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.

No face-to-face guiding meetings can happen during lockdown, indoors or outdoors - with the exception of some islands that are not in lockdown; Jersey and Guernsey – face-to-face guiding can continue in these areas. This includes adult volunteer meetings and/or training sessions.

The only exception is where vulnerable young people require essential face-to-face support. Where meeting face-to-face is considered essential, a targeted small group of no more than 10 girls who need the continued in-person support of guiding can meet. This decision is based on government and youth services' advice to minimise risk of transmission for volunteers and young people.

We encourage you to still meet virtually with your unit. We may not be able to meet in person but we know that girls need Girlguiding more than ever in these difficult times – take a look at:

Face-to-face ID verification can be done on a one-to-one basis, as long as social distance can be maintained. No-one should be under pressure to meet face-to-face if they cannot do so safely - if you need to arrange a virtual ID check via posting documents please contact [email protected]

No face-to-face guiding meetings can happen during lockdown, indoors or outdoors. This includes adult volunteer meetings and/or training sessions.

We encourage you to still meet virtually with your unit. We may not be able to meet in person but we know that girls need Girlguiding more than ever in these difficult times – take a look at:

Face-to-face ID verification can be done on a one-to-one basis, as long as social distance can be maintained. No-one should be under pressure to meet face-to-face if they cannot do so safely - if you need to arrange a virtual ID check via posting documents please contact [email protected]

No face-to-face guiding meetings can happen during lockdown, indoors or outdoors. This includes adult volunteer meetings and/or training sessions.

Islands that are not in lockdown are an exception: Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, islands in Highland Region (excluding Isle of Skye), Orkney and Shetland. Face-to-face guiding can continue in these areas after a risk assessment has been signed off by Girlguiding Scotland. Please send risk assessments to [email protected]. You should expect that it will take at least 14 days to get the risk assessment signed off.

In the rest of the country, the only exception is where vulnerable young people require essential face-to-face support and this cannot be delivered remotely. Where meeting face-to-face is considered essential, a targeted small group of no more than 10 girls who need the continued in-person support of guiding can meet. This decision is based on advice from government and youth services to minimise the risk of transmission for volunteers and young people. If girls in your unit are in this category and you wish to meet, a risk assessment will need to be signed off by Girlguiding Scotland. Please send risk assessments to [email protected]. You should expect that it will take at least 14 days to get the risk assessment signed off.

We encourage you to still meet virtually with your unit. We may not be able to meet in person but we know that girls need Girlguiding more than ever in these difficult times. Take a look at:

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 cannot do so safely - if you need to arrange a virtual ID check by posting documents, please contact [email protected]

No face-to-face guiding meetings can happen during lockdown, indoors or outdoors. This includes adult volunteer meetings and/or training sessions.

The only exception is where vulnerable young people require essential face-to-face support. Where meeting face-to-face is considered essential, a targeted small group of no more than 10 girls who need the continued in-person support of guiding can meet. This decision is based on advice from government and youth services to minimise the risk of transmission for volunteers and young people.

We encourage you to still meet virtually with your unit. We may not be able to meet in person, but we know that girls need Girlguiding more than ever in these difficult times – take a look at:

 Face-to-face ID verification can be done on a one-to-one basis, provided social distancing can be maintained. No one should be under pressure to meet face-to-face if they cannot do so safely - if you need to arrange a virtual ID check by posting documents, please contact [email protected]