I would like to thank all of you who have continued to support Girlguiding in Wiltshire South in what has been an incredibly strange period. I am sure that when we were all looking forward to a new year of guiding with our units in 2020 none of us would have believed that we would be facing such challenging times both in our guiding and personal lives. Sadly there are so many plans that have been abandoned or put on hold and we can only hope that it will not be too long before we can all begin to start thinking about the future but for the time being we continue in whatever way we can to communicate with our units and our friends. Modern Technology has certainly come into its own and I believe we will be hearing more about Zoom Trainings and Meetings. If you have not had a chance and you find yourself with some time please do go on to the GO website and look up Learning where you will find a lot of online trainings available and please do also consider using the South West Region Website where again there are many opportunities for trainings including finding out about the use of Zoom. Thank you to those of you who have been able to complete any of the available trainings over the Lockdown period.

For the time being face to face meetings are continuing to remain on hold. Many of you may be aware that with the relaxation on some of the rules around social distancing Girlguiding UK is considering how we can restart face to face guiding. There is much to be considered and we will be informed by Girlguiding when the time is right. Girlguiding are working with The National Youth Agency, who have an alert level and guidelines. They are working with the Government on the provision of services for young people. To confirm at the moment we are currently still in a state of RED meaning no activities allowed in the UK at all.

Berwick continues to be visited on a regular basis and the grounds are well managed, last week when I visited the camping sites they all looked beautifully green and well prepared to receive campers again when the time is right. I was successful in applying for one of the Government Grants and this will help us through the difficult period of lost bookings. Berwick is now remaining closed for August. Everyone who requested a cancellation has hopefully had their deposit returned. A new fridge and water heater for the kitchen will also be in place when we re-open. Guidelines and Risk assessments relating to COVID 19 are currently being considered and worked on.

I would like to make an urgent plea to those of you who need to complete Safe Space E-Learning Levels 1 and 2 for the first time to please do so as soon as possible. I note from the list received from the Region Office that there are many Leaders who need to renew their Levels 1 and 2 E-Learning. I am also making an urgent plea for the renewals to be completed as soon as possible. There are now several Level 3 and Level 4 renewals that need to be completed and currently we are waiting to hear on the further progress with the on-line training.

DBS no further news at the present time on when and how renewals will be able to take place and the same for First Aid Renewals.

I am sure you are all incredibly excited about the possibility of returning to face to face guiding, as I am, however we must ensure this is done in a controlled and risk aware way with both consideration and sensitivity. I will of course keep you updated further at each stage of the process when the time is right.

Please do contact me at any time if you need support, advice or a chat. I am so very grateful for all your enthusiasm and friendship, you are all Inspirational Leaders and your commitment to Girlguiding during this time has been second to none, let us hope that it will not be too long before we can start planning together on the next phase of this incredible Girlguiding journey we are all on. Thank you to you all.

Best wishes

Fran Westlake
County Commissioner