Religious differences and guiding

The six main religions in the UK and small changes you can make to include girls of all faiths in guiding

Spiritual development is a key part of Girlguiding's programme

We are open to girls from all backgrounds and beliefs. You may need to make small changes to make sure that girls from all faiths can be included in guiding.

Remember to always talk to the young member and their parent before making any changes or assumptions.

Top tips for including all beliefs

Think about appearances 

Consider how your unit looks to new or potential members. Holding meetings in a place of worship, or attendance at religious festivals, may seem that your unit is for girls of only one faith. To counter this, make sure that you target girls of all faiths in your recruitment drives.

Talk about all beliefs 

Make sure that girls from all faiths and none are both understood and made welcome in your unit. There are places within the programme to discuss differences in beliefs - an evening on the Promise would provide an ideal opportunity.

Don't focus on one faith 

Ensure that one faith is not predominantly referred to or used in your unit. For example, a reflection during a meeting may refer to a god. This would be not be inclusive to members who do not believe in a god.

Review the timings of your unit meetings 

Particularly where this may clash with religious activities of predominant faith groups in your community. For example, some members may not be able to attend meetings on a Friday night for religious reasons.

Ask questions 

If a volunteer, parent or girl has told you about their religious beliefs, it is useful to ask questions to help you make sure that they are fully involved in guiding.

This can include:

  • do they have any dietary requirements?
  • is there anything that you need to consider when planning the programme, for example activities that they would not be able to take part in?
  • are there days that they won’t be able to attend for religious reasons?
  • are there any fasting days they participate in?

Give as much information as possible 

Always give members all the information about events, including who will be attending and activities for the event. This will allow for them to make an informed decision about whether they attend.

Remember, religious parades are not part of the Girlguiding programme. No young member should attend a faith-based parade without permission from their parent or carer.

Non-religious belief systems

Some girls may have no faith (for example Atheist) or may also have a non-religious belief system, for example, Veganism. These should equally be respected.

Get advice on inclusion

Contact the Inclusion team at Girlguiding HQ for more information about including all girls and volunteers in guiding.