Girlguiding in the news in 2023
Some highlights of our newsworthy moments from 2023
Originally published 11 December 2023
Updated 18 January 2024.
2023 was a big year for Girlguiding!
Here are some highlights of our newsworthy moments from last year.
Kicking off the year with a bang, the appointment of our new chief guide Tracy Foster on World Thinking Day (22 February) was covered by major news outlets including BBC, Civil Society and Charity Times.
Tracy began her journey in guiding as a Brownie, going on to become a unit leader and most recently chief commissioner for Anglia.
‘I am very proud and honoured to have been appointed as chief guide, and look forward to the next five years, as we continue to empower our adult volunteers and engage with our young members, ensuring their voice is at the heart of all we do,' Tracy Foster, chief guide.
The story of Guide Abbie, who launched a campaign to educate others on neurodiversity, was also shared in regional press. Abbie, aged 13 and working towards her campaigning badge, filmed a video to share with her classmates during Neurodiversity Celebration Week.
March was a big month for us, as we celebrated the launch of our brand refresh on International Women’s Day (8 March) with the unveiling of our ‘Georgina and the dragon’ statue – showing a powerful girl on a BMX bike slaying a dragon representing gender stereotypes and outdated beliefs.
The news received widespread interest, securing coverage across national, regional, consumer and trade media outlets including BBC Newsround, The Daily Express, The Sun, The Mirror and The Economist. It was one of the UK’s biggest news stories on International Women’s Day, sitting alongside Barbie.
‘Regrettably, the battle for equality is still very real as girls face an unprecedented number of pressures in all aspects of their lives, with sexism and stereotypes creating barriers to accessing the things that they need to be happy,’ our chief executive Angela Salt was quoted as saying in the Independent.
We were delighted to see lots of famous faces showing their support for our brand refresh on social media. And we welcomed professional footballer, Lioness and former Rainbow Katie Zelem onboard as our national ambassador.
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Stepping into spring, we launched our new adventure badges to encourage girls to get outside and seek more adventures. The new range, which includes a badge for sport, water, height, land and snow, was promoted in BBC Newsround, as well as First News and The Week Junior print publications. And British Olympians Shauna Coxsey (climber) and Caragh McMurtry (rower) teamed up with us to kick off our summer of adventure.
We're launching a summer of adventure with Olympians @ShaunaCoxsey and Caragh McMurtry! 🧗♀️🚣♀️— Girlguiding (@Girlguiding) April 12, 2023
Our research shows girls love to go outside to have fun and adventures. Our new adventure badges encourage them to try exciting activities in accessible, affordable and adaptable ways. pic.twitter.com/3yLfavJHDX
On 6 May 2023, the nation celebrated the coronation of King Charles III. We were honoured to see so many Girlguiding members taking part in the celebrations.
From members volunteering at royal celebrations to advocates like Molly below speaking on BBC Breakfast, guiding members across the UK came together (and made headlines) to mark this moment in history.
May also brought the announcement of our new deputy chief guide Sally Kettle. Amongst other outlets, Charity Times reported on Sally’s love of adventure and her passion for guiding as she took up this senior volunteer role.
‘When I was younger there were no real role models for women in adventure, or at least I hadn’t heard of them,’ Sally said in an interview for North Wales Magazine. The first woman to row across the Atlantic Ocean twice, Sally has been involved in guiding since she was a Brownie. Since then, she’s held several volunteer roles – including county and Cymru peer ed coordinator, unit leader and chair of the LaSER ambassador programme.
June marked Young Carers’ Week – which we celebrated by sharing the story of Guide Heather who cares for her younger brother with cerebral palsy.
We also celebrated our partnership with ODEON at the official press junket of The Little Mermaid. Girls from 62nd Croydon Brownies interviewed stars Halle Bailey, Jonah Hauer-King, Daveed Diggs and Jacob Tremblay. The Female Lead was our exclusive media partner for this unforgettable moment.
Ahead of the full report launch in September, we published early findings of our Girls’ Attitudes Survey. It revealed the impact of the cost of living crisis on girls and their fears around being able to afford period products. The research received blanket coverage across national and regional media including Stylist and the Independent.
In July, profoundly deaf Guide Eleanor overcame challenges to achieve her Silver award.
‘She has exceeded all of our expectations and proved that someone with her needs can not only take part in activities like Girlguiding, but go that extra mile with it too,’ Eleanor's mum Elizabeth said in an interview.
The story was also shared in the York Press.
In September this year we launched our 15th Girls’ Attitudes Survey – our flagship annual report into how girls feel about their everyday lives. We looked back at our findings every year since the report launched in 2009, and found a steady decline in girls’ happiness due to growing concerns around online harm and sexual harassment.
To launch the report we worked with TV personality Shaughna Phillips and Girlguiding advocates to create a campaign film discussing the experiences of girls, which was featured in Grazia.
The report secured over 200 pieces of media coverage in total, and was one of the leading news stories for that day with highlights including BBC The One Show, ITV This Morning and Channel 4 Steph’s Packed Lunch amongst the 29 national news outlets (print, online and broadcast). The findings were also published in the Independent, The Guardian, The Times, The Evening Standard, The Sun’s Fabulous magazine and The Daily Mirror, and our campaign film featuring TV personality Shaughna Phillips and Girlguiding advocates was shared by Grazia.
These findings are deeply worrying – and show that the work Girlguiding does for girls is more important now than ever. The coverage of the report in national and regional press helps us spread awareness of the pressures girls face, influence decision-makers to drive change, and continue to provide support and community for all girls.
On International Day of the Girl (11 October 2023) we launched our impact report highlighting the many benefits being part of Girlguiding has. For launch, young members took to Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush, London, with a magic mirror to encourage shoppers to stop, and make confidence affirmations to highlight one of the report’s key findings - girls in guiding are up to 23% more confident than the national average.
November means the return of BBC Children in Need’s appeal night, and this year we were raising money with our all girls can do anything challenge.
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Ambassador and footballer Katie Zelem joined Pudsey Bear and girls in Salford from 1st Bramhall Brownies and Guides, and Rangers from across Girlguiding Stockport in a sponsored spot-kick challenge. BBC Radio Manchester and BBC One North West came along to cover the event to interview Katie and some of the girls. Girlguiding Anglia also hosted a huge sponsored spot-kick challenge with 250 girls at Southend United. Pudsey bear joined in for a kickabout and BBC One East came along to film. If you were watching the appeals night, you may have also spotted young members in the audience during the live show.
Without our amazing volunteers, none of this would be possible. This year, we held a special event – called Girlguiding celebrates - to celebrate all our volunteers do for guiding. We invited volunteers who’ve received a guiding award, as well as those who’d been nominated by other members, parents or carers, to a glamorous red-carpet inspired event in the ODEON Luxe Leicester Square. And some young members who’ve overcome exceptional circumstances were invited along too.
We were delighted to see a few incredible individuals being celebrated in regional press for their achievements and all they do for girls. Just a few inspiring stories include Guide leader Tara, who made a remarkable recovery and returned to volunteering after suffering a stroke at 24, 11-year-old Guide Jessica who saved her mum’s life during a seizure, and assistant leader Hazel who achieved her Queen’s guide award.
But this doesn’t even nearly cover all we had to celebrate! Check out our round-up blog of this year’s event for more.
Early in December our members had the opportunity to enjoy our 7th exclusive screening with ODEON, watching the film Wish. Stories of members’ cinema trips and the excusive Girlguiding screenings were covered by a number of different regional outlets across the country including The Island Echo and The Chiswick Herald.