Dale's Guide units face up to challenges posed by Covid-19
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
GIRLGUIDING across Teesdale is very much up and running despite the Covid lockdown.
Division commissioner Debby Brown said groups across the dale have been finding innovative ways of continuing to hold activities during recent months.
Long-serving leaders have also been recognised for their service with socially distanced presentations.
Karen Thompson and Nicola Walshaw were congratulated for each achieving 30 years with Staindrop Guides, while Michelle Briggs has completed 20 years with Gainford Rainbows and Brownies. Imogen Hawgood celebrated five years with Staindrop Guides after returning to the group following university. Ms Brown said Rangers, Guides and Brownies have worked towards their gold, silver and bronze awards with a number of girls achieving theme, skills builders and interest badges.
“It's been very challenging and some units have done more than others,” she said.
“Barnard Castle Brownies have been meeting via Zoom since last April and some of the smaller units have joined up with Barnard Castle, so in some ways it’s been nice to bring them together.
“Not all are happy using Zoom and we email out a lot of activities for the girls to do which we can then sign off.
“We even managed one or two meetings outdoors last September.”
Ms Brown added: “It is definitely not easy trying to adapt things, but Girlguiding nationally have sent out quite a lot of ideas and they have done various bits and pieces by Zoom for weekends.
“Some leaders have been doing training – there is still plenty for the girls and leaders to get their teeth into and we have had really good numbers joining in.”
Across Teesdale, there are Rainbow units in Middleton-in-Teesdale, Gainford, Staindrop and Barnard Castle for ages five to seven; Brownies in Cockfield, Gainford, Staindrop and Barnard Castle for ages seven to ten; Guides in Cockfield, Staindrop and Barnard Castle for ages ten to 14 years; and Rangers from across the division who normally meet in Barnard Castle for 14 to 18-year-olds.
“All the units are very much up and running,” said Ms Brown. “We have got a lot of girls moving through the sections, but we are not getting as many new inquiries, so we would like to remind people that we are still here.
“If there are people who would like to get involved, particularly Rainbows, we are here and hopefully things will pick up when we can meet face to face once again.”
Anyone interested in joining any of the units can contact Ms Brown on 07776 140522. Alternatively, go to girlguiding.org.uk where prospective members can search for their local unit.