Newsletter May 2024

The sun really does know when to shine on us doesn’t it?  What a fabulous day we had doing the Dorchester Monopoly run.  I sat outside three cafes waiting to be found and then gave out over 250 new “I met the County Commissioner” badges.

Thank you to Emma, Angela and Clare for their help and to Catherine and Katie for walking the streets to time some of the routes to make sure they were feasible.  The staff of Oxfam Dorchester were amazing  – letting adults in to take a photo of the illusive Suzie the cat and as a county we thanked the Police and postal workers.  All in all an extremely good day.  Badges and slightly amended e-boards will be available from Alison at the office once we have sorted the amendments.

More good news – we have topped 3700 members in the county and it’s going up by the day – well done everyone.

I had some sad news at the beginning of the week when I learnt that Sheila Soper had passed away.  Sheila had been prominent in Girlguiding Dorset and throughout SW region.  She had many strings to her bow and was passionate about most things… with perhaps the exception of craft. I imagine her in the great unknown sorting out a tent or two, organising a fundraiser for something and having a good sing-song.  She will be missed.

There are a couple of up and coming trainings.  Thought of being a mentor? and Going Away With training 20th-22nd September 2024.

And finally….

Loads of activities coming up… Million Mile CleanD-Day Anniversary Commemoration eventscounty Water Sports weekend and the Flame Challenge Sleepover event.


Monopoly Challenge Event… Results

This is how the final Leader Board looks after the event…

Awards Recommendations

Please could we remind you that the next awards recommendations need to be in by 7th July please. Thank you.

Unit Meeting Activities & Skills Builders Handouts

We have a limited selection of UMA and Skill Builder packs available from county office, free of charge (just a p&p fee if you are not able to collect).

Please visit the website to view stock.

To order please email

County Peer Educator Co-ordinator

The main purpose of this role is to support our team of Peer Educators (age 14 – 25) and assigning them to units that request a Peer Educator visit.  You do not need to have been a Peer Educator to do this role.

The role will give you opportunities to gain experience at team building, volunteer management and communications

To find out more or apply, please visit our website.

Recognised Prior Learning

Are you new to Guiding?

Do you need to present evidence of your First Response training or do you have existing recognised learning to register?

Details of how to submit recognised prior learning for review are all on the 1st response page of the region website.

If you are a doctor/nurse/HCP, you need to use the same form but scroll down to the second page where it asks for your registration number. You will also need to submit your BLS/ILS/ALS certificate.

“Regardless of your Recognised Prior Learning, you will still need to complete the Girlguiding eLearning on 1st Response. It’ll take roughly 5-15mins depending on how well you already know the Girlguiding processes”

Please remember, if you have a pin number for your profession, then you should submit this with your latest BLS/ILS/ALS certificate.

Going Away With Scheme April 2024

Congratulations to Leaders who have completed the following qualifications…

  • Rachel Banning Bournemouth North GAW Modules 1-7 
  • Jemma Pay Poole East Module 6 for Brownies
  • Vikki Warner North Module 8

Well done!

Newsletter April 2024


I’ve been able to have quite a quiet Easter.  I had hoped to do lots in the garden but the weather has not been good enough for that.  I have put my broad beans out (and the snails have eaten some of them) and the cucumbers given to me have been nibbled by some other little beastie.  The shed still needs painting and the hedge needs cutting.

Where on earth is she going with this? I hear you ask.  Well, it’s spring and spring is a time of growth and new beginnings. 

For all the little Rainbows we plant some will grow all the way into Rangers others will only benefit from Girlguiding in a small way but benefit they will. 

We have a couple of Divisions that are working with region to get new volunteers and some new units off the ground.  If that works we may be able to run that out across the County. 

When the weather improves, I will be hoping to plant some new seedlings but I’ll be really appreciating the perennial flowers that bloom every year.

Whether you are a new seedling or a hardy perennial I appreciate you all in my Guiding garden.

With best wishes,

Thinking Day 2024: Badges

Thinking Day 2024 badges – last few remaining…

Cost: £1 each plus postage and packing.

If you would like to purchase one, please email County Office, but hurry, they’re going fast –  first come first served!

Going Away With Weekend – Sept 2024

Have you lost your camping mojo?

– Do you want to take your Guides or Rangers away but you don’t have a licence?

– Are you hoping to re-hone your skills?

If the answer is yes this is the weekend for you.

When? 20 Sept 6pm – 22 Sept 11am

Where? Dudsbury Guide Camp, Christchurch Road, West Parley, Ferndown, Dorset BH22 8SS

Event information


Bring a group of 4-8 Guides or Rangers with you for a mini camp. Get a feel of how camping works, put some tents up, re-think your budgeting and programme, learn how to organise the catering and help to run the camp.

You will be supported by a group of experienced campers who will be on hand to show you the ropes and help you through the more challenging bits.

Cost: £55 per girl, £25 per adult. Minimum of 1 adult to 4-8 young members

Rangers/Young Leaders

Are you hoping to complete your lead away licence? Use this weekend as a practice weekend. Bring a group of 4-8 young leaders or rangers (including you) and have a practice run in a safe environment with experienced adults to hand.

Guides 12+ who have camped at least twice and completed camps skills builder 4

Are you hoping to complete your camp permit? Use this weekend as a practice weekend. Bring a group of 4-8 Guides (including you) and have a practice run in a safe environment with experienced adults to hand.


Please visit our website to register

Surfers Against Sewage – Million Mile Clean – June 2024

Planning next term?

For the month of June, Girlguiding Dorset are taking part in Surfers Against Sewage Million Mile Clean.

The Million Mile Clean is the biggest initiative of its kind in the UK, and is an annual action bringing Ocean Activists together to tackle plastic pollution head on. 

It isn’t just about cleaning the coast, The Million Mile Clean is about cleaning up the local area, riversides, footpaths, bridleways and greenspaces.

All sections have UMAs and skills builders linked to collecting litter or recycling which the activity so you may be able to tick off some activities.

You can register your clean at Surfers Against Sewage who will send you gloves and sacks to collect your rubbish in.

You may only need to request one set per district to keep their costs down and reduce your carbon footprint. You may wish to use litter pickers which some local councils or fairtrade shops may be able to lend you. You will need to complete a risk assessment for your area.

So take up the challenge and register your clean. Please let us know via the website form if your unit takes part.

Water Sports Weekend

After such a successful event last year, we are pleased to announce that we are holding this again for summer 2024. To find out more and book your space, please visit the website.

Congratulations to Leaders who have completed the following Going Away With (GAW) qualifications…

Natalie Adamson, North East Minster (NEM) Modules 1-8 and Zahra Chandler, Bournemouth North, Modules 1-7.

Well done!

Newsletter March 2024

I can’t believe it’s March already.

I took 3 of my Brownies to the Thinking Day Steam train event. Oh my goodness weren’t we lucky with the weather?  It was warm enough to take off coats and we were so impressive stood on the hills leading up to the castle to re-make our promise.  Thanks to Emma and the team for organising it and to the Swanage railway for their help.

I spent a great weekend at the end of February at Dudsbury with the INTOPS participants.  Most Divisions sent someone for selection and I think the highlight for me was the midday cooking challenge.  I loved the deconstructed oreo cheesecake – although the soup I had was pretty good too.  Thanks to those who made this possible and to the young members who came along and gave their best. 

I have been busy filling up my diary with events and trainings for the rest of the year.  

Look out for the Dorchester monopolywatersports and coasteering.

The GOLD event for 2023 winners is ready to go and the adult equivalent will be out soon.  

There is a commissioner’s and “everyone” REN training coming up along with mentor training.

Thank you to all who have paid their subscriptions quickly.  If you haven’t done so please will you nip off and sort it now.  Once again please let your Commissioner (or me) know if you are having issues.

To all those of you who celebrate Easter have a great holiday and I hope everyone’s Easter eggs are full of surprises.

Best Wishes,


County Commissioner

New: Mentors Training 15th June 2024

Come and see if you would like to be a mentor…

Who is this training for?: For those interested in being GAW/LQ mentors.

When: 15th June 2024 10:00 to 13:00

Where: County office

Find out more here and book your space.

County Water Sports Days

After such a successful event last year, we are pleased to announce that we are holding this again for 2024. To find out more, please visit the website.

Pre Loved Uniform Shop

Looking for uniform items? Just a reminder that we have a selection of items available at County Office. Click here to find out more.

Newsletter February 2024

Happy Thinking Day … well nearly.

I love Thinking Day.  My Brownies have sent videos to America to be played at their event – we are looking forward to their reply.

I am hoping for good weather for the Swanage event.  Totally sold out – we’ll need to consider another steam train activity in the future.

Last month we had several Division Commissioners stand down but some new faces are welcome to the table.  I look forward to them joining County exec.

At the end of January we had the County Commissioners lunch.  In the morning we had a great LGBTQI+ inclusion training and in the afternoon Dr. Anjana Khatwa joined us for a really interesting talk about the geology of Dorset.

I was surprised by the Region President with a silver oak leaf award – gobsmacked doesn’t cover it!  Please consider nominating people in your area for awards – our next County awards meeting is April 9th.  Anyone interested in joining our awards team please let me know – we would love some new faces.  It is one of the best roles – drop your details over to

Finally at the risk of repeating myself please check your subscription trial invoices and make sure they are correct and please pay on time.  I don’t want to have to chase you and you don’t want to be chased.  Please let your Commissioner or me know if you have issues.

Enjoy the 22nd – we look forward to the photos.

With Best Wishes,


County Commissioner

Hello all it’s Me again (Emma)!

Just dropping a quick note to let you know all the fab things planned this year from the G&R team…

February 18th is our Thinking Day event and I could not have imagined how quickly we were going to fill the spaces.

Sorry to those of you who have missed out this time around.

I really look forward to seeing your photos of the day so please post them and tag @girlguidingdorset #girlguidingdorset.

April 14th we hold our annual Gold event for those who achieved their gold from Jan1st 23 to Dec 31st 23. We are really excited to return to the Dorset Falconry Centre for exciting and informative demonstrations, amazing handling experiences and of course to visit the lovely café on site. The family are so welcoming to us all so we are grateful to be there again this year. If you know of any girls who achieved their award last year please remind them to sign up asap on our website.

May 11th we have a county take over of Dorchester planned. We invite you to take part in our new monopoly challenge with different routes for each section.

Take a leisurely packed lunch along the way and join us when completed to collect your badge and visit the Odeon cinema to watch a movie (movie tbc) in our privately booked screens.

Do sign your units up to this on our website asap so we can ensure we book big enough screens.

June 6th Adult members are invited to join us at Dudsbury to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-day. We shall be lighting the beacon and enjoying fish and chips as per the King’s request.

You can book your space by registering here.

June 8th Units are invited to commemorate D-day 80 at the signals museum in Blandford where they will take part in STEM workshops.

This event is open to Brownies, Guides and Rangers.

Please book your space by visiting our website.

June 7-9th is The Big Help out weekend.

Don’t forget we have an appropriate badge for anyone who ‘helps out’ during the year.

We have removed the clauses for this so it can be given for any occasion whether it’s a parent who has helped out, young member fundraising efforts etc it will be a great addition to your badge box.

Find out how to order one here.

If you choose to run a big help out event please let us know. We love to see what you are doing locally to grow your young members and volunteers.

I’m looking at suitable dates for some adults get togethers. So, keep your eyes peeled on the website or the Dorset Leaders Facebook group for these.

Lastly from me for now – I am looking for some team members. If you are keen to work as a team, have ideas to grow guiding or support the retention of our members please get in touch. We meet virtually generally on a Wednesday every 6-8 weeks depending on what’s going on.

Drop me an email at if you feel you would like to get involved.

Friends of Guiding Brownsea Island (FOGBI)

Friends of Guiding Brownsea Island (FOGBI) exists to provide support and to stimulate more interest in Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour.

Brownsea Island is the place where Lord Baden Powell held his experimental camp in 1907 which then led to the foundation of Scouting and Guiding.

FOGBI would like to make visits to Brownsea Island more affordable for any Unit in Dorset that would like to visit (either for a day or for a residential) but would have difficulty funding such a visit.

Applications are invited from Units who need help towards the cost of your National Trust Group membership or towards the cost of ferry fares from Poole to the island.

If your Unit or an individual member of your Unit would benefit from a small grant (of around £50) towards the cost of a visit, then please complete and return the application form by post or scanned and emailed.

Please submit further evidence if there are particular financial difficulties that may require additional assistance. All applications are dealt with in confidence.

Please note: A grant cannot be awarded for travel costs to Poole

Friends of Guiding Brownsea Island (FOGBI)

Friends of Guiding Brownsea Island (FOGBI) exists to provide support and to stimulate more interest in Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour.

Brownsea Island is the place where Lord Baden Powell held his experimental camp in 1907 which then led to the foundation of Scouting and Guiding.

FOGBI would like to make visits to Brownsea Island more affordable for any Unit in Dorset that would like to visit (either for a day or for a residential) but would have difficulty funding such a visit.
Applications are invited from Units who need help towards the cost of your National Trust Group membership or towards the cost of ferry fares from Poole to the island.

If your Unit or an individual member of your Unit would benefit from a small grant (of around £50) towards the cost of a visit, then please complete and return the application form by post or scanned and emailed.

Please submit further evidence if there are particular financial difficulties that may require additional assistance. All applications are dealt with in confidence.

Please note: A grant cannot be awarded for travel costs to Poole.

Grants – Girlguiding Dorset

Newsletter January 2024

Happy 2024 😊

Guiding is an amazing organisation.  Let’s get that in early. 

In the county there are over 900 volunteers who all participate in some way to its smooth running.  Whether you are a unit helper who does the shopping for a busy team of leaders, a sole leader running several units or a member of the Blue Team organising county events I really appreciate all that you do.

Over this last couple of weeks I have hibernated a bit, dealt with a few family things going on and tried to re-group.  I am aware that for some of you across the county things have been tough whether that be bereavements, the need for operations or unsettling diagnoses and to those people I send my heartfelt good wishes and Guiding hugs.  Guiding hugs come in many ways and I see it all the time.  It is the person who messages and with a note that says I’ll sort that for you, do you need more cheese? Fancy a coffee?  I’m hoping everyone experiences a little bit of that.

Just before Christmas I met with a few people who had thought about taking on a new role.  They weren’t sure they could do it, they felt that they didn’t know the answers to all the questions or didn’t have enough experience.   So, just for the record, I really don’t know the answers to all the questions (I look most of them up) and some days I feel I can’t do it but without exception on those days a few of those Guiding hugs have bounced my way, brought a smile and allowed this role to bring me joy.  See if a new role can do that for you and meet Jenny (below) who has agreed to do just that.

The Commissioners and Blue Team will be meeting up in January for some training and to look at your wishes for 2025.  All Commissioners have been asked to find out what your opinions are so we can put them forward. 

Can I also remind you the importance of getting your accounts completed and independently checked on an annual basis within 3 months of your year end.  I know that accounts aren’t everyone’s best skill, but they are important.

Before we know it, February will be with us and INTOPS, the Swanage steam event and, of course, subscriptions.  Please speak to your commissioner about INTOPS or if you have any problems with paying your subscriptions. 

I am fondly referring to this as my “Delia Smith” e-news.  Not because each one comes with a delightful chocolate éclair/boiled egg/turkey pie (delete to preference or dietary requirements) but more referring to her stance on the football pitch.  So, let’s be having you 2024. 

With Best Wishes,


County Commissioner

Welcome to Jenny Bennett, our new Inclusion Volunteer

Hi, my name is Jenny Bennett and I am a Rainbow, Brownie and Guide leader in Poole District. I am excited to be the newest advisor joining the fantastic County Inclusion team.

Since the age of 14 I have wanted to make sure that people were included and had an active part in their communities.

My first job was working for Poole Youth Services, speaking to as many young people in Poole as possible to get their voices included in local and national strategies.

I then went on to university to study Community Development which is where I found my passion for working with people with a learning disability and autistic people. I have now been continuing on this career path at People First Forum for over 13 years.

Considering members’ individual needs and ensuring you are giving them every opportunity to take part can make such a huge difference to their Guiding journey.

If you are unsure about how to make adjustments so that you can make this happen, please do get in touch with the team.

Amy Coldstream, Leader at Poole East, who has completed Going Away With Scheme, modules 5,6 & 7…

…and Emily Critchell, Leader at North East Minster who has completed modules 6 & 8.

Well done!

Newsletter December 2023

It’s December and the last month of a very successful Guiding year. We’ve done countless activities throughout the county – all thanks to you and your hard work and time. I’d like to especially mention all of the Blue team. They work tirelessly behind the scenes getting all the County events up and running and I just couldn’t do it without them – Thank you.

My diary for 2024 is filling up fast. I am really looking forward to the Thinking Day event at Swanage Railway and the INTOPS event at Dudsbury in February. If you have members interested in International Opportunities then please speak to your Division Commissioner who will be organising a selection event. We had all our girls selected this year for events – which is amazing.

Talking of February…. The 22nd is subscription day. 2024 subscription is £51.50 (HQ, Region and County) – there may be a little extra on for your Division and District. If you have any issues with this payment do not delay – speak to your local commissioner. There are also the grants available from region if you need some help and fit the qualifying criteria.

And finally, whether you celebrate Christmas as a religious festival, if you are strictly a tree and schnaps kind of person or you are just looking forward to a day of peace and quiet I would like to send you all the best wishes of the season.


Dates to note:

Just to let you know that the county office will be closed from… Wednesday 20th December and will re-open Tuesday 2nd January 2024.

Newsletter November 2023

Where did October go? One minute I was still in the garden picking runner beans – the next it’s Halloween and the children in the neighbourhood are calling around trick or treating.

I have been out and about again this month presenting GOLD awards and meeting with some Divisions about succession planning.

November is a time when I start to think of warm fires and a good book to read but this month seems packed with Guiding.

By the time you read this the training at the office will have taken place. Thank you so much to our talented trainers, L and D team and especially to Fran Coldstream who has worked so hard in making sure we could run the event.

We will also have attended the RNLI pack launch at Poole. We are lucky to have the RNLI training building in our County – I hope some of you will make the most of the partnership and the new pack.

Towards the end of the month is the growth and retention conference and trainers conference.

The G and R team have been busy putting together a Dorchester Monopoly run for next year – all sections invited – and a badge of course 😊.

It has been great to hear all the plans that the Divisions/Units have in the future – dinner dances, trips to Sparkle and Ice and Thinking Day events to name but a few.

Thank you so much for all those extra hours you put in – we can’t do it without you.

With Best Wishes


County Commissioner

Do you have a passion for the arts? If so: We need YOU!

Contact Eloise at to find out more.

Would you like to support the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme in our county?

Do you have?

A good level of map reading skills

Navigation skills (around New Forest or Dartmoor)

Willingness to support participants with their skill, physical and volunteering sections and give encouragement plus help booking campsites and other expedition admin?

Please contact Helen Leather to find out more.

It only seems like yesterday we had returned to our units after a summer break and I’m already looking at Christmas activities and even starting to forward plan into the next year! Time flies when you are having fun!

My girls have all taken this on board whether its volunteering with another unit or helping out at home depending on the section they are in and have accumulated a good few hours to the county total.

To add your hours please go to our website to add before the end of December. 

After this date you can still complete the challenge but hours cannot be added.

We have a busy year already in the planning. We are pleased to announce that we have organised a county Thinking day event on Sunday 18th February. This will consist of a trip on the steam train from Swanage Railway to Corfe station where we will make use of our county National trust membership and visit the castle and have lunch (weather permitting) before making the return journey on the train.  

Please keep an eye on the website to book your unit on.

We are holding the popular GOLD award holders’ event at the Dorset Falconry park in April again this year please encourage any girls who have achieved a GOLD award between 1st Jan 2023-31st Dec 2023. To apply for their place please visit our website. 

Also coming up from my team is a County Monopoly challenge in Dorchester.  

This day will consist of sectional monopoly style challenges followed by a cinema visit on 11th May for all sections.  

Further details to follow.

And finally please keep an eye on the website for a D-day 80th anniversary commemoration.  Further details to follow…

I am looking forward to attending the regional G&R conference on 18th of this month and hopefully returning with more ways to encourage growth within our fabulous county.

I wish you all the best for a fabulous Christmas term and a well-deserved break before we do it all again in January!

Emma – G & R lead, Blue Team

…Verity Arnold from North East Forest (NEF) division who has successfully completed her Going Away With Scheme qualification, modules 1 – 7.

Well done!

Autumn Awards 2023


Sharon Moore is an exceptional Unit Helper working with 1st Oakdale Rainbows.  It is her ability to be patient, caring and kind to both young members and volunteers and her air of calm which truly sets her apart.  The rainbows in her unit describe her as ‘really kind’, ‘looks after me when I get upset’ and ‘even though I’m now a guide she always remembers to ask me how I’m doing’.  Sharon takes an active part in the planning and implementation of activities.  In addition, she also undertakes the role of treasurer for the unit as well as that of District and Division Treasurer not only overseeing the accounts but also identifying issues regarding insurances and finding solutions.  Sharon is definitely one of those people who goes about her guiding roles quietly and efficiently ensuring that guiding within her Poole East Division runs smoothly and thoroughly deserves a Dorset Ammonite Award.

Gill Clarke is a resilient, hugely capable and dynamic leader who is a champion for girls and younger members.  She is a favourite with the girls, a ‘whizz’ at recruiting volunteers, passionate about developing young leaders and ensures that Girlguiding continues to develop progressively.  Gill restarted the Colehill guide unit, building a team of volunteers to reduce the burden on any one individual.  Gill has a can-do attitude, is respectful to guiding tradition and innovates exciting experiences for the young members.  Parents and girls say that Gill ‘ran outstanding online sessions during the pandemic’, ‘brings out the best in all the girls’ and ‘made sure I could still go to guides even when my mum couldn’t afford it’.  Volunteers and helpers say ‘Gill always remembers to say thank you’ and ‘always makes us feel valued and appreciated’.  Gill is recognised for her outstanding service to local guiding and for keeping her promise to serve her community and thoroughly deserves a Dorset Ammonite Award.

Debbie Boyer is an exceptional leader within the 2nd Broadwindsor Brownie Unit as well as treasurer and administrative roles within several units and her division.  In addition to preparing the Division accounts and dealing with grant applications, Debbie is always available to answer finance questions across the division including guidance on budgeting, gift aid and grant applications.  Debbie also manages the Division Trading Depot.  Since 2021 Debbie has undertaken the role of Assistant Division Commissioner.  Everything that Debbie takes on she does so with full commitment and unreserved energy.  Her attention to detail and organisational skills are second to none.  All of her roles she does to a very high standard, even when travelling abroad for work.  Debbie has truly kept her promise to help her community and do her best and thoroughly deserves a Dorset Ammonite Award.

Chris Thornton is recognised for the huge support she gives behind the scenes to ensure that grass roots Girlguiding in Dorset receives the support it needs.  She has been the county treasurer for over 13 years ensuring the units within the county receive the financial support needed.  Chris extends those financial skills at a local level within her own division and has held many roles within the county which underpin local girlguiding and is always both willing and able to mentor and encourage less experienced leaders to maintain a guiding experience for all those within the county.  At a local level Chris has worked extensively at unit level across all sections, is currently supporting Poole West and uses her experience to support the selection of young people for international opportunities (INTOPS).  Chris exemplifies the girlguiding promise to serve her community and help other people and thoroughly deserves a Dorset Ammonite Award.

Alison Markwick is recognised for her work with 1st Highcliffe Rainbows and the links she has built between girlguiding and the community.  Alison’s rainbows say that she is ‘funny, kind, patient and helpful’, that she is a ‘good teacher’ and ‘explains everything’.  They add that she helps them ‘earn lots of badges and even gold awards’ and even ‘helped when I had a fork stuck in my throat’! She will always take time to help rainbows who are struggling or need a little more support to thrive. 

She encourages and supports her peer leaders as well as helping to manage the guide hall and stores.  Alison works hard to include girlguiding within the community including gang shows and running stalls at the local fireworks display and with the Royal British Legion.  Alison continues to keep her promise to support her community and thoroughly deserves a Dorset Ammonite Award.

Teresa Fisher is recognised for her support of leaders across her division of Bournemouth North and for her work with brownies, guides and rangers.  She encourages new volunteers to take on smaller roles in supportive environments to build their confidence and will then encourage them to challenge themselves with new and additional roles.  Teresa supports younger leaders within the organisation even continuing to keep up that support when they leave for university.  Her peers describe her as ‘super-organised’, ‘incredibly enthusiastic’, a ‘hard-working superstar’ and even a ‘force of nature’!  They describe Teresa as having ‘a passion and dedication to improving girls lives’.  Teresa has truly kept her girlguiding promise to help other people and thoroughly deserves a Dorset Ammonite Award.

Jane Lockett is an assistant leader with 2nd Mudeford brownies.  Jane has excellent skills with the brownies especially when teaching them a new skill or craft which means all the girls feel included.  She also excels at teaching the brownies to sing.  Her peer leaders also recognise the support and assistance she has given to both experienced leaders and those just starting out.  She offers experience and expertise where needed and is always ready to go on adventures with the girls.  Jane also undertakes the admin and finance roles within her unit to great effect as well as taking an active and proactive role in maintaining and running the guide hall.   Jane has truly upheld her promise to help other people and thoroughly deserves a Dorset Ammonite Award.

Janet Roberts is a leader with 2nd Mudeford brownies and is recognised for her extensive work within her unit.  She encourages a wide range of activities within the programme as well as getting out and about on adventures.  Janet is very committed to giving her unit the best possible experiences and always has a positive attitude to all new challenges.  She has utilised her links to an elephant sanctuary in Zambia to encourage the brownies to support both animals and think about the wider world.  Janet is also actively involved in the running and maintenance of the guide hall and forging links within the local community.  Janet has undoubtedly kept her promise to serve her community and thoroughly deserves a Dorset Ammonite Award.

Catherine Welch – Catherine is a very dedicated member of Girlguiding and has held many roles in which she is supportive, a mentor and a trainer.  In addition to her guiding roles, she worked during the pandemic in Intensive Care in her role as a doctor in addition to supporting the vaccination rollout.  In addition, she has utilised her medical skills during the war in Ukraine and in response to Turkey’s earthquake emergency as well as attending guide camp and volunteering for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.  Catherine is a worthy recipient of the Hero Award.

Benny Gauler –Benny has helped so many people in Bournemouth North with setting up accounts for new units, assist8ing with gift aid, end of year accounts, changing bank details and completing acco0unts for closing units. She has been the Division Treasurer for many years, giving advice on how much to charge participants going on day events or longer holidays. If you are a person who struggles to work with figures Benny is a HERO whilst always showing great patience, kindness and understanding. Many things have changed within Girlguiding, including keeping accounts, and Benny has adopted all of these with enthusiasm willingly helping everyone to understand the new systems. The dictionary definition of a HERO “is a person greatly admired for exceptional qualities and achievement”. For Bournemouth North Guides she definitely has these and Benny is recognised with a Hero Award.

Emma House is recognised with a Dorset Gentian Award for her work to promote the recruitment and retention of both volunteers and girls as Girlguiding Dorset’s Growth Membership Coordinator.  In addition to her roles as a rainbow, brownie, guide and ranger leader, Emma took on the division role of Dorset West Outdoor Activities Advisor to promote adventure to the young member and volunteers. In  2021 Emma accepted the role as county Growth Membership Coordinator which she does with incredible enthusiasm.  During the last two years Emma

has tirelessly ensured that Girlguiding is promoted at events such as the Dorchester Christmas Cracker event, Bournemouth University volunteer weeks, the Gillingham and Shaftesbury show, Jurassic Fields, celebrating the Queen’s Canopy and platinum jubilee, Bournemouth Half Marathon and has even been interviewed to promote Girlguiding on BBC Sounds on the Steve Harris show. Tailoring resources for county wide use, Emma promotes the inclusive and flexible aspects of Girlguiding. If leaders find it challenging to download, change or access these resources, Emma is always quick to offer to help, advise and support. Emma is passionate in supporting the promotion of awards for volunteers as well as promoting the celebration of gold awards received by younger members. More recently, Emma has guided the county through the re-branding of Girlguiding, producing new artwork for us to share on our outside world social media platforms. She is always ready to try new ideas and is never afraid to approach local businesses for support. Emma is without doubt a worthwhile recipient of the Dorset Gentian Brooch in recognition and acknowledgement of valued service in the promotion and/or support of guiding within and beyond Dorset. She has also truly kept her guiding promise to serve her community and help other people.

Newsletter October 2023

It’s October – the nights are drawing in and Halloween is upon us.  

Whether you celebrate this time of year as part of your faith, or you are strictly a plastic skeleton and fake cobwebs kind of person, it’s a good time to address those things we find a little bit scary.


Here are a couple of suggestions for things that I have been told are scary:-

Scary 1 – Writing an award nomination is scary because if I write how I feel it will all be splayed across a piece of paper for the person to see. 

Answer: Not so.  Your nomination will be taken with others and, if approved, will be amalgamated into a representation of what that person has done.  So, for example:

Flossy helped me when I was needing a friend to support me because I was the only person in my unit and feeling the pressure becomes…

…Flossy is a good friend, helping others in times of need.

Scary 2 – Joining the county team. I can’t join the county team – you all have so much experience – I don’t know everything!

Answer: no, me neither!  We all learn as we go along.  We all started (and most still are) unit leaders.  We have some knowledge but things change regularly so we are all really adept at looking things up.  

Consider one of the available roles on the website – go on you know you want tooooo.

What other Guiding things do you think are scary?  Let us know and see if we can allay your fears.

Some leaders took a leap of faith to join us at the GAW camp at Dudsbury.  Set up to encourage people to take their licence 4 units and several leaders attended to either update or do a bit of camping training.  Despite the rain for striking the camp there was lots of positive feedback and we hope to hold a similar event next year.

I’m looking forward to sharing our 2024 plans with you all shortly.  The team have come up with some great ideas to make 2024 our best year yet.

I hope to see some of you at a variety of trainings that are planned – do come up and say hello.

Catch up soon


County Commissioner

Event and Training Calendar

From First Response training  and risk assessments to commissioners responsibility for finances, understanding Go and team building…

… why not take a look at the up coming events this autumn/winter.

First Response Training 16th December 

Who this event is for: Adult Volunteers

When: Saturday 16th December 2023 

Time: 9am/09:00 to 4pm/16:00

Where: County Office

Cost: £12.50

Please register by 1st December 2023

Approving REN forms and Risk Assessments

Who this event is for: Adult Members, Commissioners

When: Wednesday 25th October 2023  7pm – 9pm (19:00 – 21:00)

Where: County Office

Cost: FREE

What you will cover…

  • What to look for on the REN and risk assessment, adult roles, first response, ASS, ratios home contact, timing and when to say no
  • The online REN form

Training aimed primarily at new commissioners but open to all

Find out more or book your space now

Understanding the commissioners responsibility for finances

Who this event is for: Adult Volunteers, Commissioners

When: Saturday 2nd December  9am for 9.30 start until 11.30 (09:00 – 11:30) 

Where: County office 

Cost: FREE

What you will cover…

  • Understanding the commissioners responsibility for finances
  • Finance policy in relation to division, district and units
  • Banking
  • End of year review, assist and liabilities, when to escalate issues and to whom.

Click here to save your space now

Coming soon: Understanding GO for commissioners and how to build a team

Who this event is for: Adult Members, Commissioners

What you will cover…

  • Looking up unit information running reports to show units without 1st response and ASS3, leader details, reports answering commissioner questions
  • What to look for when building your team.

Date: To be confirmed – please come back to this page to check

We Are Recruiting: County Awards Committee Administrator

We are delighted to announce a new volunteer opportunity of a County Awards Committee Administrator within Girlguiding Dorset County.

Is this the role for you?

If you have an interest in the recognition of excellence within Girlguiding and have great organisational and communication skills, please contact Lisa Upward, County Commissioner at

For the full role description, visit our website to find out more.

Applications are Now Open!

We are very pleased to be able to announce that applications for the 2024National Scout and Guide Symphony Orchestra (NSGSO)and National Scout & Guide Concert Band (NSGCB) course are now open.

If you would would like to know more, please visit our website or to apply for the 2024 NSGSO or NSGCB course, please visit

Many thanks,

Alice Coomer

NSGSO and NSGCB Coordinator (Publicity)

Newsletter September 2023

Welcome back!

I hope you have all had a great summer. 

I have been busy over the summer with needlefelting, Brownie Holiday, a trip to Twynham to give Josie Spencer a much deserved Hero Award, meeting with some of the blue team and the annual task of sorting my Brownie accounts ready for an external check.  I know some of you met at Kingston Lacey for a picnic and there have been some cracking pictures of camps, holidays and carnivals.

Throughout the summer Emma and her helpers have been to Melplash Show and Dorset County show.  There are some great photos – I hope you managed to see them there.  Thank you to everyone who has helped.

This month there will be a Brownie and Guide trip to Brownsea and the Going Away With camp.  

Talking of camping – we are considering a county camp for 2026.  We are really keen to hear your ideas so we have set up a form for all sections.

Please make sure that you let your girls have it so we can take on their views too. There is a paper copy to do with a unit if you wish – please ask Alison at the office. Closing date is the end of September.

Finally, over the holidays I have appointed a new Young Leader co-ordinator for County.  

Gill Clark can be contacted on and introduces herself below. With the new YL qualification on its way soon this is a perfect time to welcome someone to the role.  

We have set up a form here for YL’s to tell us what they want to see from the group.  We will send to them all separately but please do pass this on to those in your units.

I’m looking forward to seeing you all over the autumn term.

Best wishes


County Commissioner

Meet Gill, our new Young Leader Co-ordinator…


I’m Gill and have been working with Colehill District for the last 20 years, in a range of roles and support with all units.

Before retiring, I worked in secondary education, through which I gained experience and skills to work with Young People; I remain aware of the many challenges society may present all our girls + leaders, and am confident to offer appropriate support as needed.

Post pandemic I have become increasingly passionate about supporting Girlguiding. I am an active recruiter and keen to help futureproof units for years to come. 

Our Young Leaders are such a valuable resource to Girlguiding and I am excited to begin working with them to support their journey, develop their skills and ensure they can access opportunities and adventures. I am also really keen to get alongside Unit Leaders, so we can work in partnership to support our Young Leaders progress to whatever level they choose.

Your Learning Opportunities: BOOK NOW!

1st Response Training; Wednesday 27th September

When: Weds 27th September, 18:30 to 21:30

Attendees to arrive 10 mins early please for a prompt start

Where: Session at the County Office

Cost: £6.00

Please register here by 20th September 2023

The follow up, obligatory on-line part will be Wednesday 4th October via Zoom. Time 6.30pm to 9.30pm.

Autumn County Catch Up Day; Saturday 4th November

Empowering you through fun, friendship, challenge and adventure.

Join us at our County Catch Up Day…

Little bit of training, networking, being social with like minded people.

Time for you!

Date: Saturday 4th November 2023

Time: 9.30am until 3.30pm

Where: St Edward’s School, Dale Valley Road, Poole BH15 3HY

Who can attend: All volunteers including young leaders from within Dorset

What to Wear: Uniform

What to Bring: Packed lunch. Refreshments will be provided.

Inclusion: Please let us know if you need any additional support or information to help you attend the training.

You can sign up for morning, afternoon or both.

Morning session A (10.00am-11.00am)

•        Exploring the promise yourself and with your unit; OR

•        Getting your head around inclusion for young members; OR

•        Understanding & supporting the Leadership Development Programme

Morning session B (11.30am-12.30pm)

•        Bringing the outdoors in; OR

•        Having difficult conversations; OR

•        Exploring the promise yourself and with your unit

Afternoon session (1.30pm-3.30pm)

•        Crafts for your units that adults want to keep; OR

•        Outdoor cooking for all ages

•        Playing with science, coding and engineering in guiding

Cost:   £6 for a half day and £12 for whole day which should be claimed back from unit funds.

For more information and to book your space visit our website here.

If you have any questions re admin for the event contact

Newsletter August 2023

Shhh… it’s the holiday season – I may even say it’s getting quiet.

Over the summer I am working on the County Strategy for 2024 with the help of the Blue Team and having a week away with my Brownies.

As you can see below the team (including Alison at the office) are all having a bit of a break. I hope that the sun shines for all of your camps, holidays and sleepovers and that you all get a chance for a personal break and will be back bright and breezy in September. 

In our continuing series introducing our Blue Team members, below is a little bit about Emma House – our Growth and Retention lead.

Thank you for all you do for Girlguiding.

Best wishes,


County Commissioner

Hello Emma here!

If you don’t know me, I am the Growth and Retention lead for Dorset and part of the Blue team.

G&R – What is that?  Well, the short of it is Growing our membership (adults and children) & retaining our adult and child members.

This year we have attended Gillingham & Shaftesbury Spring Show and are booked into Melplash Show with a county stand promoting Girlguiding and are awaiting confirmation about 2 further events.  We also have supported many of you by providing equipment and resources to use on your own stands at localised events with which you have all been doing fantastic jobs! We couldn’t increase our membership without a team effort!

Information and guidance are also regularly shared via our Girlguiding Dorset leaders page which is a hub of info, ideas and a great place to show what works for your unit.  Please if you haven’t already consider joining this page using this link.

We also create badges & associated challenges which can be found on the website.

This year we have secured some adult member activities the next being the wander at Kingston Lacy House (NT) in August meeting up for a group picnic, a glass workshop in September which is fast filling up and a willow wreath making workshop in November please book onto these so as not to miss out and ensure payments are made asap. These will be a great way to meet leaders from other areas of our county as well as being great fun!

It’s hard to believe that another school year is over and a new one just about to begin as are our units returning after the summer break!

With that in mind please do consider completing the lend a hand challenge with your units it can be completed in a unit meeting or over a few sessions with the onus being on volunteering at least one hour to a charity (Girlguiding is included). The Challenge and badges are available from our website now at only £1.25 per badge inclusive of postage.  Find the challenge badge here.

I shall be looking at new badges and adult activities for the next year and am happy to take ideas from you all as to what you would like to have a go at!

Please email them to me – no promises but I will certainly see what I can arrange!

If anyone is interested in G&R or if you may know of someone who is interested, I do have some limited spaces to join me at this years region conference at Taunton Cricket club on the 18th November.  There are different workshops available and you get fed!! For FREE!! Fancy it?? Email me at the above email address and let me know.     

Best wishes for the summer,


Holiday update

  • I am away on Brownie holiday for a week from 6th August.  I will still pick up emails but may be slower at replying.
  • Ann Smith-Nicholls is having a break over August from badge orders.  She will start to fulfil orders again in September.
  • Alison (office) will be away 11th – 28th August and the office will be closed.