Members with low income

Ways you can make guiding available to members from low income backgrounds

Around one fifth of all girls in Britain live in low income households*

Some may feel that they cannot join us because they, or their parents, believe guiding may be unaffordable. Both young and adult members may struggle to afford regular subscriptions or unexpected costs for activities or equipment.

Being flexible and thinking creatively will help you to ensure that money doesn't stop members from getting involved.

* Figure from Department for Work and Pensions (PDF).

Including those with low income

Be clear about costs

Make sure that members know all costs in advance, what these are being used for and whether any additional money will be needed. Make sure there are no surprises.

Give plenty of notice 

Give advance warning for when payments are expected - as far ahead as possible - so that people can budget.

Be discreet

Don’t highlight if someone is unable to pay. Think of different ways to collect subscriptions that aren't in front of the unit but directly to the Leader for example, when girls arrive.

Start a conversation 

Add a note to letters about payments to say ‘If you wish to discuss payments please email…’ this will let parents know that they can approach you about them.

Find other ways of paying - think about different options such as weekly payments for subscriptions or payments in installments for a residential planned later in the year.

Shout about Girlguiding

In some areas, girls from lower income households and areas are simply less likely to join us, so actively promoting guiding in schools, community centres and youth clubs in known underrepresented areas.

Make sure all costs are included

When people know all the full costs it helps them to budget. So if you're planning a trip, include it in your subscriptions charges. If you're planning a residential, include all transport, activities, accommodation and food costs in the total for girls and volunteers.

Start a uniform bank

Join together in your District or Division, or find an informal way to recycle uniforms in your unit.

Re-use central resources 

Keep hold of books and other unit materials so that girls can access them without having to own a copy.

Keep costs low

Look for ways to reduce costs when you're planning meetings or trips so you can keep subscriptions low. Find out about discounts for booking as a group.

Challenge your Guides or members of The Senior Section to think creatively and plan a meeting on a shoestring.

Ways to raise extra money

  • Fundraise in your unit or local area to help reduce costs for members. Our Fundraising Toolkit is full of great community fundraising ideas.
  • Check to see if you're eligible for any of Girlguiding's grants that help to make guiding accessible to all. 
  • Ask your Commissioner about grants available in your County or Country and Region.

Ask for help

Always let your Commissioner know if members of your unit are struggling to pay subscriptions or attend events. There are so many ways that your District, Division or County can help you out from contributing to costs to filling out applications for grants.

Get advice on inclusion

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