Choose an inclusion & diversity topic for more information
Inclusion & Diversity
The aim of our inclusion and diversity team is to support Girlguiding volunteers to allow their units to be inclusive of members from all backgrounds and support their Girlguiding journey.
We are here to provide you with information and support. Volunteers, members and parents are welcome to get in touch with us to discuss any issue relating to Inclusion and Diversity. We have also pulled together a wealth of information from the Girlguiding website and other sources on information sheets.
Meet the Inclusion & Diversity Team
Every member of our team has personal or professional experience in of an area of inclusion and diversity.
Inclusion Team Lead
Hello, I’m a Guide and Ranger leader from River Ash and I’m looking forward to helping support units in our county to become more inclusive to mental health, dementia and LGBTQ+ individuals.
I have lots of experience in creating inclusive spaces through my work within hospice care and wellbeing services. Through my professional networks I have also been trained as a mental health first aider. I have previously volunteered with Educate and Celebrate, an LGBTQ+ charity that improves acceptance of different sexual orientations and gender identities within younger communities. I am also a dementia friends champion and run regular information sessions on dementia, these can be adapted to be delivered to children or adults.
These are issues very close to my heart and for the past couple of years I have been actively trying to make my unit spaces more dementia, LGBTQ+ and mental health friendly, so I have gathered lots of resources and tips to share with you all.
Neurodiversity & Behavioural Issues
I’m currently a Brownie and Ranger Leader in Haslemere, and excited to be a member of the Inclusion and Diversity team for Surrey West. I’m currently a teacher at a special school for children with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, many of whom also exhibit a variety of behaviours that challenge. I have also previously worked for a local charity that delivers play and youth schemes for children with a variety of disabilities. Throughout my time volunteering with Girlguiding, I have supported a variety of young members in my units with a range of neurodiversities (including ADHD, ASD and Dyslexia), and my husband (and Unit Helper in my Brownie unit) has dyspraxia. I have also supported leaders locally with behavioural issues they have faced in their units. I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge with others and supporting leaders and young members across the county.
LGBTQ+ & Mental Health
I’m a Guide and Ranger Leader in Sunbury-on-Thames and also volunteer at our GG Surrey West, Paxmead Riverside Base as one of the boating instructors. I’ve had insight of LGBTQ+ instances in my unit and elsewhere and I’m keen that we in Girlguiding should provide a sympathetic ear and support all our members and especially our young people who are exploring their life experiences. I believe that respecting life choices is an important part that we as leaders can play to ensure that all members of Girlguiding can experience good mental health and wellbeing. At work I have a role as a trainer, in particular with our new starters, and I’m a Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) and LGBTQ+ Ally providing active support to colleagues.
Minority Ethnic Groups & Material Deprivation
Hi, I’m currently a Brownie leader in Camberley but have previously helped units in all young member sections. This included running units in a district in Southampton where I gained experience working in areas of high material deprivation and ethnic diversity. I always aim to create a place where girls, parents and leaders feel they can ask questions and get support. With so many families and units facing financial and other challenges, particularly over the last year or so, I want to make sure that help is available for those that need it. I believe that everyone should be able to take part in Guiding regardless of their background or personal circumstances and I hope to provide other leaders with the knowledge and confidence they need to give that support.
Physical & Mental Health
I’ve been a Brownie & a Guide in another life, came back to Guiding as a Rainbow Leader when my daughter started & now I’m a Guide leader in Chertsey – I also supported other units with their girls & leaders as part of the County Advisor for Special Needs, which has now evolved into an awesome Diversity & Inclusion team. On a personal level, I am partially deaf & have a very late-in-life diagnosis of dyspraxia, so I’m still learning a lot about what it means to be neurodiverse as a superpower.
I’m an Occupational Therapist by profession, with skills in activity analysis for both individual & groups, having worked in a variety of clinical settings, including general medical, mental health in the community & now work with people who have or are suspected of having dementia in a local hospital, as well as offering carer support to their families. I complete risk assessments for people leaving hospital & if they are safe to return home, including highlighting potential vulnerable adults & safeguarding issues; advise on physical disability & recommend adaptive equipment to enable independent function at home; signpost people & their families & carers to support services in the community; work with people & their families/carers to develop coping strategies to manage the impact of anxiety, depression & poor cognitive/memory function on their lives; train staff to understand the impact of mental health & poor cognitive function, as well as how they can best support them. I’m also a trained Mental Health First Aider & mentor staff/students in my workplace. This professional background enables me to advise on how best to support both children & adults to use adaptations within their unit meeting place, as well as support strategies to enable inclusive participation within GGSW: I have found that asking the right questions, finding out about the individuals who need the support & working on a plan together with an overview of their situation (using the GG forms) with both girls & leaders often draws on their experiences & proven strategies that are already working well within Units, but they had been unsure if it’s acceptable to use them