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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!


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