Guidance on activities

What you need to consider when planning and running an activity to make it safe

It was so fun! I’ve always wanted to shoot a bow and arrow and I got to do it. I actually hit the bullseye! - Guide

It's vital that we run activities as safely as possible

Everyone working with children and young people must take extra care to make sure they don't come to any harm. This requirement underpins Girlguiding's Safety and Safeguarding Policy and informs all the work we do.

You should always do the following before running an activity.

Inform your local Commissioner - she can support you to plan your activities and help you contact your Outdoor Activities Adviser.

Seek permission - read about gaining permission from parents if participants are under 18.

Carry out a risk assessment - when planning any activity or event, you need to consider the risks involved and how to manage them. See these top tips for risk assessing activities.

Our page on water safety explains some of the specific risks of boating and water-based activities.

Use a qualified instructor - pages in the Activity Finder explain which qualifications instructors need for specific activities. Make sure instructors have an appropriate Girlguiding or national governing body qualification.

Where the activity does not have a recognised instructor qualification, ensure the instructor you use:

  • has up-to-date knowledge of the activity
  • is proficient at the activity
  • has experience of safely and effectively instructing groups in the activity
  • has experience of safely and effectively instructing the relevant age group.

You might need different qualifications depending on where your activity is taking place. For example, the qualification needed for boating activities depends on the Water Classification and for walking it depends on the Countryside Classification.

Use a reputable commercial activity provider - you can verify the quality of a provider by checking it has either an Adventuremark endorsement or LotC Quality Badge for Adventure. These endorsements don't apply in Northern Ireland, where you should ask your local Outdoor Activities Adviser to recommend an approved provider.

If you're doing activities abroad, instructors may hold different qualifications to those listed in the Activity Finder. Check with providers that their qualifications are equivalent to those we list for UK-based activities. Always follow our safety regulations and get in touch with [email protected] if you have any questions.

Make sure helpers and instructors have been checked

If the activity involves one-to-one unsupervised instruction, the instructor needs a disclosure check. The activity provider is responsible for carrying out the check and for providing written confirmation.

Find out more about which policies they need to sign, and what checks other helpers and volunteers must undergo.

Should I go ahead with the activity?

If you are in doubt about the activity, call the Girlguiding Information Team on 0161 941 2237 or email [email protected]. We will then advise if the activity is authorised, or seek advice from Girlguiding insurers if necessary.

If, after researching the activity and seeking advice, you are not completely satisfied that you can provide the participants with a safe experience, choose another activity.