Keeping units open

If your unit is struggling to keep on giving girls great guiding experiences, read our tips for leaders on staying open

Keep your units open by identifying challenges and taking action

The more units we have the more opportunities we can give to girls, so closing a unit should be a last resort.

However, if you don’t have enough leaders and volunteers to keep it running - or there aren’t enough girls to ensure a worthwhile unit experience - closing your unit can seem a real possibility. But before you do, there are a number of things you and your commissioner can try together to keep it open.

What should you do?

The actions you should take depend on the challenges you face. Start by downloading our handy flow chart, which takes you step-by-step through what you can do to keep your unit open.

What should you do?

The actions you should take depend on the challenges you face. Start by downloading our handy flow chart, which takes you step-by-step through what you can do to keep your unit open.

Download the flow chart

While we recommend you use our simple flowchart, the following also explains the steps you can take to keep your unit open.

THE LEADERS WISH TO LEAVE THE UNIT

Identify why

Make sure you know the reason leaders or volunteers would like to leave and address their issues if possible.

If leaders or volunteers want to leave and their issues can’t be resolved

Try offering them other roles that are available and might be more suitable. Offer them the opportunity to have less responsibility for the unit or to take a break but stay in touch. If they want to go – thank them and let them go!

Notify your commissioner

Once you’ve talked to the leaders wishing to leave, speak to your commissioner and create an action plan.

Get short term help

Speak to parents or send a letter asking for help or start a parent rota. Reach out to Trefoil Guide members if you have a local branch.

Hold a recruitment campaign in your local area

Working with your commissioner, get in touch with other units nearby who might also want to get involved in your campaign and work together.

Following your recruitment campaign, if no new volunteers are recruited, assess what happened during campaign – what didn’t go as planned? What could you have done differently?

Once you’ve reflected on what went well and what could have been better, you should try to recruit volunteers again, making sure you reach out somewhere new each time.

If you’re unable to recruit any new volunteers, start the process of closing the unit.

If new volunteers join, continue to promote your unit, so it stays sustainable and open.

There aren't enough girls to have a worthwhile unit experience

The first thing to find out is if other units in the local area are struggling.

I don’t know if other units are struggling

Speak to your commissioner and explain the situation. Get in touch with other local units nearby, with help from your commissioner if necessary, and find out if they’re also struggling with girl numbers.

No, other units aren’t struggling to recruit and retain girls

Are you meeting the Five Essentials? If you discover that you’re not, or there are other areas of the programme that you could improve, look at Good guiding is… and start incorporating the Five Essentials to make sure you’re providing a quality programme for your unit.

Re-evaluate your situation regularly, ideally every six months, and see if an improvement to your programme has attracted new girls to the unit.

If you’re still low on numbers, plan to hold a recruitment campaign.

Yes, other units are struggling

Check the needs of the local area – our ‘mapping’ toolkit will help you do this. If the unit is in the wrong place – for example, there aren't enough families nearby, it’s difficult to get to – consider if there is a need for a unit in a different location nearby, and if there is, think about moving the location of your unit. If there isn’t, start the process of closing the unit.

If the unit is in a good place, with an established need – for example, there are lots of girls of the right age in the area – let the commissioner know your findings and start to plan to recruit more girls. Speak to parents and explain the situation and plan to hold a recruitment campaign.

Hold a recruitment campaign in your local area

Following your recruitment campaign, if no new girls are recruited, assess what happened during the campaign – what didn’t go as planned? What could you have done differently?

Once you’ve reflected on what went well and what could have been better, you should try to recruit more girls again, making sure you reach out somewhere new each time.

If you’re unable to recruit any new girls, start the process of closing the unit.

If new girls join, continue to promote your unit, so it stays sustainable and open.

Have you used this process to keep a unit open?

Have you found this approach helpful? Or have you done something sucessful that's not inlcuded? If you've used any part of this process to stop a unit from closing, we'd love to hear your feedback

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