Girlgirling in Garstang: Town's Girlguides, Brownies and Rainbows so popular the waiting list now stands at 64

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More volunteers are needed to help a popular Girlguiding team keep pace with demand.

Guiding in Garstang is a record breaker.

There has been a surge in interest in guiding in and around the town despite the Covid pandemic lockdown.

Now proud leaders of the numerous Guide, Brownie and Rainbow groups have tallied up their record of recruitment and success and are appealing for more helpers.

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Outside lockdown Brownies were able to have a go at paddleboardingOutside lockdown Brownies were able to have a go at paddleboarding
Outside lockdown Brownies were able to have a go at paddleboarding

Girlguiding Garstang Rural District is expanding and needs new volunteers to meet the soaring demand for places. In particular the district team is working with Catterall Village Hall committee to create space for a new Rainbow unit.

Spokeswoman Rebecca Hubbard, an assistant leader with Guides and Rangers, said: "We have two Rainbow units, four Brownie units, two Guide units and one Ranger unit. We currently have 151 girls within our units and 64 on our unit waiting lists."

Of those on the waiting list 40 are waiting to move up into a new unit and 24 are new to guiding.

Rebecca said: "We have continued to run meetings virtually through lockdown, have recently had over 20 young people complete their Duke of Edinburgh award and are looking at opening a new unit. We have been able to welcome an unprecedented amount of new young members despite the restrictions. This wouldn’t have been possible without our fantastic group of creative and versatile leaders/young leaders, coming up with new ideas each week, to run meetings virtually and to keep girls involved throughout lockdown. Now we are back running face to face Guiding it is lovely to see everyone again and we wish to thank everyone, volunteers, and parents alike, in supporting Guiding through this time."

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Brownies help with a litter pick and clean upBrownies help with a litter pick and clean up
Brownies help with a litter pick and clean up

During lockdown online activities included: bake/cook off, ready steady cook, a spa night, treasure hunts, bingo, crafts, pancake night, magic night, festival night and making bunting.

As lockdown eased the groups have been able to resume outdoor activities.

Between May and July the 1st Garstang Rangers enabled 23 young people to complete their Duke of Edinburgh expeditions (10 bronze, nine silver and four gold).

Rebecca said: "This is a fantastic achievement and a record for the unit to have got such a large number through in a few months...well done to all the leaders that helped make it happen and well done to the young people who completed their expedition come rain or shine."

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Proud to be taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award schemeProud to be taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme
Proud to be taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme

Three members of 1st Garstang Rangers also recently complete their Queens Guide Award - guiding's highest award, while members of Rainbows, Brownies and Guides have achieved bronze,silver and gold badges by completing numerous interest badges, skills builder badges and theme award badges during lockdown.

District members also helped with tidying up and outdoor work to get the local guiding campsite at Guys Farm Activity Centre back in use post lockdown and were able to enjoy the facilitity. Shireshead Brownies booked in for a paddleboarding session, 3rd Garstang Guides had a weekend guide camp and the site was used as a camping base for the Rangers when on their Duke of Edinburgh expeditions.

Nina Kennedy and Anna Walsh from 1st Garstang Rangers continued with a Rangers' comfort bag scheme, recently donating 125 comfort bags (hand sewn bags containing toiletries and care items) to a women’s refuge, taking the total amount donated by 1st Garstang Rangers to more than 300.

Meanwhile the 1st Garstang Rainbows have been busy supporting local foodbank collections, collecting items as a unit and donating them.

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Rangers pack up comfort bags which were donated to a women's refugeRangers pack up comfort bags which were donated to a women's refuge
Rangers pack up comfort bags which were donated to a women's refuge

The district recently partnered with the Co-op as a community partnership and Rebecca said: "We are looking forward to working with them and thank them for their support. "

Debbie Clift, District Commissioner for Girlguiding Garstang Rural District, said: ”I’m immensely proud of how all our members have adapted within the challenges of the last 18 months. We’ve seen an unprecedented interest locally of girls wanting to join despite the restrictions which is a testament to our tremendous leaders and their unwaning enthusiasm. Our goal is to be inclusive for all who want to join and provide incredible opportunities for local girls to discover and grow.”

* The district says it is is seeking volunteers who can help on a regular or flexible basis which means volunteering times can be arranged to fit round around work and other commitments. Rebecca said: "If you choose to become a volunteer for Girlguiding you are kept up to date with any necessary training and updates, a lot of which can be done online to fit in around other commitments. We have units in Garstang, Catterall and Forton and have Rainbows (5-7yrs), Brownies (7-10yrs), Guides (10-14yrs) & Rangers (14-18yrs) To register an interest in helping see: ."

* See Facebook page “Girlguiding Garstang Rural District” and Twitter @garstanguiding for more information about the units.

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