Contact: Gina Simmonds
17-19 Bukcingham Palace Road
Tel: 020 7834 6242
Girlguiding is the UK’s national guiding organisation and the country’s largest organisation for girls and young women with around 550,000 members. Girlguiding is the operating name of The Guide Association. It has 100,000 volunteers, over 200 employees and an annual income of nearly £19.5m. A registered charity, Girlguiding’s head office is in central London.
The Girl Guides Association was formed in 1910. Led by Agnes Baden-Powell, Robert Baden-Powell’s sister, it was set up as the female equivalent of the Boy Scouts. In 2002 the Guide Association was renamed Girlguiding. It is estimated that more than half the female population of the UK are involved in the Guides at some point in their lives.
Administratively, Girlguiding is structured into countries and regions. The countries are Girlguiding Scotland, Girlguiding Ulster, Girlguiding Cymru and British Guides in Foreign Countries. Regionally, Girlguiding is divided into Anglia, London & the South East, the Midlands, North East England, North West England and South West England.
Girlguiding is available to all girls and young women in the UK aged 5 to 25 through the Rainbows (for ages 5-7 and introduced in 1987), Brownies (8-10), Guides (10-14) and the Senior Section (for ages 15-25 and 100 years old in 2016).
Girlguiding also has more than 100,000 adult volunteers and supporters. Each year volunteers contribute over ten million hours to guiding. There are many volunteer roles. Many volunteers give their time as Leaders or Assistant Leaders for guiding units and organise events and activities. Other volunteers take on administrative responsibilities, or help out with driving and maintenance.
Girlguiding also sees its role as having a positive impact on girls’ lives, building their confidence and raising their aspirations. It produces the UK’s largest annual survey of girls’ opinions – Girls’ Attitudes – on issues such as role models, equality, university fees and plastic surgery. The charity also has a youth advocacy panel, Advocate!, which is designed help girls speak out publicly on the issues they care about.
In 2004, Girlguiding launched a peer education programme called, ‘4ward, 4 self, 4 others’. Girls take part in sessions run by their peers on subjects such as media awareness, eating disorders, the environment and sexual health.
In 2000, the first ever BIG GIG, a pop concert exclusively for guides, was staged at Wembley Arena. The BIG GIG now takes place twice a year and more than 20,000 Guides attend.
As the largest voluntary organisation for girls and young women in the UK, Girlguiding offers a wide range of career opportunities in areas such as public relations, graphic design, IT, estate management, retail and finance. There are more than 200 employees at Girlguiding’s Commonwealth Headquarters in central London, its Trading Services centre in Cheshire, and Training and Activity Centres throughout the UK.