By Ruth Williams
Harrow Online catches up with GirlGuiding volunteer, Jane Stone, to discuss how GirlGuiding has been impacted by Covid 19 and why it’s important to support your local division.
GirlGuiding is a leading charity for girls and young women in the UK. Their aim is to help promote confidence and raise the aspiration of girls agedbetween 5 and 14 years old.
Volunteers are at the very heart of guiding. These individuals give up their own time to contribute to the charity, to ensure girls across the UK are given the chance to discover their full potential and are encouraged to be a powerful force for good.
Jane has been volunteering for more than 35 years for GirlGuiding and has always been with the 6th Harrow Weald Brownie Pack. More recently, she has taken on the 1st Harrow Weald Brownies after their leaders retired and before the lockdown, she was helping at the 1st Belmont Rainbows.
Jane’s dedication to the charity is apparent through the various positions she has held over the years. She tells us: “I have been a District Commissioner for Harrow Weald & Belmont districts, Wealdstone Division Commissioner (a role which I shared with Gill Stanton for over 10 years) and I am currently County P&T Treasurer. I have certainly enjoyed all my experiences in GirlGuiding”.
When asked about how Covid 19 has impacted GirlGuiding, Jane responded: “This year has certainly been unlike any before, with so few meetings and for the first time in over 30 years, no Brownie pack holiday. It seems very strange.”Jane goes on to tell us about how their fundraising was put on hold, as a result. “We had planned a lot of fundraising events for this year as we are trying to undertake the ‘Maricas Makeover’. We are hoping to make extra space for Brownie sleepovers as well as improving the kitchen & toilet facilities at the hall.
Unfortunately, none of them have been able to take place due to Covid-19.” Jane remains optimistic that the Virus will not halt their plans for long. She says: “fingers crossed, 2021 will see us restart our events”.
This December, GirlGuiding ran two festive themed fun sessions for 1st Harrow Weald Rainbows and 6th Harrow Weald Brownies to enable the girls to come together. Both sessions were organised by Jane and Rainbows Leader, Georgina Williams. They followed social distancing guidelines and limited numbers to under 15 per group.
A 45 minute break between the two sessionswas necessary to allow for sanitising of chairs, tables and surfaces. Jane recalls: “It was lovely to see the girls meet up again. Many of them go to different schools, so only meet one another when they come to Rainbows or Brownies. Both Rainbows and Brownies have girls ready to move up to the next section which means it will be the last time we will see them before they move on”.
Jane also ran outdoor meetings for Brownies earlier on this term, both on the field at Maricas Avenue and in the church garden & woodlands by All Saints Church, againadhering to social distancing and limiting numbers.
Jane admits: “It certainly takes extra planning as games are quite difficult to do when we are trying to limit contact. Hand sanitiser was in constant use when we were meeting. As it is now winter, it is not as easy to meet outdoors as the weather and light play a large part in what we can do. Lots of units have also been meeting via Zoom to keep in touch and continue activities towards earning badges”.
Jane goes on to say: “It is hard to plan events for 2021 as we do not know what the future holds, but hopefully with news that the vaccine is starting to be given out,things will look a lot brighter by Easter.”
Fortunately, the pandemic has not deterred interest and enquiries coming through about girls interested in joiningGirlGuiding. Although, Jane has admitted: “it is not easy to give details of when we will restart.”
Charities such as GirlGuiding play such a vital role to local communities. Maricas Avenue has been the home to the Wealdstone Division Headquarters for the past 60 years and it is in need of your support.
The hall needs renovating to ensure it’s safe for the girls and leaders using it. The hall has received planning permission to extend the building, which will give them the space to create accessible toilet and washing facilities, install a brand new kitchen, and install a ramp for accessibility to the building.
To find out how you can donate towards the Maricas Makeover, click here: www.facebook.com/maricasmakeover