Death of the Brownies? ‘Tens of thousands’ of girls missing out because people not volunteering anymore

There are half a million Girl Guides and Brownies across the UK, but not enough volunteers

Tens of thousands of girls and young women are unable to join the Brownies and Guides due to a chronic lack of volunteers.

Around 70,000 young people are missing out on the chance to make friends, have adventures and improve skills such as confidence, because of a shortage of people willing to give their time, Girlguiding said.

The charity has launched a new national campaign urging the public to sign up and join in, with the message that a woman’s place is “wherever she wants it to be”.

The KnowYourPlace drive will feature a film to be shared on social media channels that will show how Girlguiding volunteers have found “their place” and are inspiring and motivating youngsters across the UK.

Sally Illsley, deputy chief guide, said: “The spirit of the campaign is to turn the old-fashioned idea that a woman should know her place on its head and reclaim it to make clear that a woman’s place is wherever she wants it to be.

“If you’re someone who would like to help inspire and empower a generation of girls and young women to find their place in the world, then volunteering with Girlguiding is the chance to do just that.”

Girlguiding already has around 100,000 volunteers across the UK, working with its half a million members, but more are needed, the charity said.

Volunteering roles vary from helping out at a meeting once a month, to supporting weekend events or running sessions with different groups.

It said that while record numbers were signing up to help out, many have a limited amount of time to give, at a time when more young people are joining the organisation.

British soldier Lt Gen Robert Baden-Powell, who founded the Boy Scouts in 1908, soon recognised that young girls also wanted to join a similar organisation, so he asked his sister Agnes Baden-Powell to form the Girl Guides. The organisation officially formed two years later, in 1910.

Brownies is the organisation for younger girls, usually aged seven to 10.

The plea for volunteers to help the Guides and Brownies follows a similar request from the Scout Association earlier this year.

In April chief scout Bear Grylls urged more people to help the association, regardless of their ability to light a fire or erect a tent.

“Volunteering changes us all for the better. Please join me,” he said at the time.

Press Association contributed to this report

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