How we're making our organisation more inclusive

What we've done so far on our journey, and what's available to support you

17 May 2021

Inclusion should be at the heart of everything we plan and deliver. 

So, what are we already doing to make sure that we include everyone? 

We know there are lots of great initiatives happening at a local level, but here are a few examples of what we’ve been working on over the last few years. 

These include lots of resources and information that you can use to make your day-to-day guiding more inclusive, and deliver a better experience for all girls.   

We’ve created a disability inclusion e-learning for volunteers

We know that 23% of our volunteers and 10% of our young members are disabled or have a long-term condition. In partnership with Leonard Cheshire, we have created a disability and inclusion e-learning to show how volunteers can support members who are disabled or who have a long-term condition. This e-learning provides practical examples for how you can create an inclusive environment for girls and volunteers in your unit.

Did you know we also offer an Accessible guiding grant? This grant supports disabled young members, and those with additional needs, to access all areas of the programme.

We’re working with The Children’s Society to support young carers

It's estimated that approximately 1 in 5 children have a caring role. We want all young carers in guiding to be supported. Working closely with The Children’s Society, we updated our advice on supporting young carers to reflect best practice and provide members with information on how we can support young people with caring responsibilities.

We also created new information for young carers. This supports young carers with information about how to take care of their health and wellbeing. It lets them know where they can find support. We've also created a webinar with information, legislation and practical tips on how to support young carers to get the most out of guiding.

We’ve worked with the National Autistic Society to support autistic members

We want autistic members to have a great guiding experience. We want them to be able to pursue their passions and interests, and develop their potential in an inclusive environment that values difference.

So, we’ve created guidance with the National Autistic Society to help volunteers understand autism and enable autistic members to get the most out of guiding.

We’ve created a mental health e-learning for volunteers

Back in the summer of 2020, we partnered with the Maudsley Charity to create an e-learning about mental health and inclusion. This will help you support those who are struggling with mental health difficulties. It also talks about managing wellbeing during times of crisis, such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

We’re creating a new volunteer inclusion adviser network

We're committed to inclusion and want to further inclusion across guiding. We've begun establishing an organisation-level inclusion adviser network. By working with our inclusion advisors, you’ll be able to get specialist advice and guidance on how to achieve the goals set out in the diversity and inclusion plan. You’ll hear more about our inclusion advisors over the coming months.

We’ve created new supported volunteer roles for some of our disabled volunteers

We know that some of our adult volunteers have significant support needs, and we want to make sure they can volunteer enjoyably and safely. So we created two new roles: the supported volunteer and the individual volunteer supporter. A supported volunteer will be paired with an individual volunteer supporter, who'll give them tailored support to help them carry out their role enjoyably and safety.

We’ve been working with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) to widen access to guiding

We know that for us to provide a space for all girls, we need to focus on diversifying our membership – both girls and volunteers. Find out more information and take a look at our unit start-up kits for commissioners.

We’ve developed programme resources that support units to have conversations about race and racism

As a movement, we recognise that it isn’t enough to not be racist - we must be actively anti-racist. We support and stand in solidarity with our Black girls, Black volunteers, Black staff, Black parents and carers, and all Black people. At Girlguiding, we all have a role to play in being actively anti-racist and living out our values of being inclusive and caring for others. To uphold this commitment, we must listen, learn and amplify the experiences of Black people, within Girlguiding and beyond.

We’ve developed resources on talking about race and racism that are designed to support volunteers and girls, and increase your understanding of what it means to be actively anti-racist. From books to videos to programme resources, we hope there’ll be something in here for everyone.

We’ve celebrated important moments for marginalised communities, like LGBT+ History Month

We know how important it is for girls and young women in guiding to have a diverse set of role models to look up to. We are so proud of our LGBT+ volunteers, who support girls and inspire them to be themselves every day. See the advice our volunteers have for young LGBT+ people.

We’re releasing some of our inclusion-themed programme activities for free

We have released a number of unit meetings activities from the Better Together topic and Take Action theme to make sure that all volunteers and girls can access them.

These include:

In September 2020, we also released a set of Adventures at home challenges to help children of all ages learn about inclusion and allyship:

We’ve diversified our board of trustees

Our board of trustees recognises its responsibility to champion diversity and inclusion throughout Girlguiding. All trustees take part in mandatory inclusion and diversity training as part of their induction.

In line with our commitment to build a more diverse board, we changed our trustee recruitment process to attract and recruit a more diverse pool of candidates including young people, people of colour, LGBT+ people and people of minority faiths or no faith. Five new trustees were appointed in February 2020, bringing a range of skills, experience and diversity to the board. A further four new trustees were recruited in 2020, who started their first term of appointment in early 2021.

It’s our responsibility to make sure all members - and particularly those with marginalised identities - feel supported and involved in guiding. We have guidance to help you with all areas of inclusion,  including supporting disabled members, those from different socio-economic backgrounds, those of all faiths and none and LGBT+ members.

Although this is work that we're proud of, we know that we need to do much more. Our diversity and inclusion strategic plan sets out our plans for the future, and how we'll help our members to make Girlguiding a truly inclusive place for everyone. If you have any questions or feedback about the plan, you can contact [email protected]