Who would have thought when we started the year of 2020, we would have experienced so many changes in our personal lives and within Girlguiding. To say it has been a challenging year is an understatement. There has been much uncertainty with lockdowns and tiers, these words that have become part of our daily conversations. Our emotional and physical wellbeing also prove to be challenges all of their own.

The year has seen a whole new way of delivering guiding which has enabled Leaders and young members to take part and continue having fun. Who would have thought that online guiding would have developed and supported us all, either by catch ups, meetings, trainings or enabling the delivery of a weekly programme.

Wiltshire South Leaders have been no exception and have been incredibly resilient in rising to the challenges that Covid-19 has presented. Leaders have arranged Zoom meetings, and when Government and Girlguiding guidelines have permitted, have provided indoor/outdoor face to face meetings, virtual sleepovers, posting cards and activity sheets/packs all ensuring that there is continued contact with girls. Many of the virtual meeting ideas and sleepovers that you have shared with me have been truly inspirational. You have embraced the risk assessment forms and I know for many of you this has meant a lot of extra work besides everything going on in your personal lives. Thank you.

Through the year you have continued to ensure that girls continue having fun and some even achieving either their Bronze, Silver or Gold Awards and our County Mentors have continued to support Leaders through their ALQs. A huge well done and thank you. I am mindful there are leaders in the County who understandably for a variety of reasons have been unable to meet up with their girls either virtually or indoor/outdoor face to face, if you are one of these leaders you may find that a chat with your District or Division Commissioner may help in giving you the advice or support to move forward.

2020 has certainly been a challenge for the District and Division Commissioners. They have all worked tirelessly to ensure that all Leaders in the County have been compliant with Safe Space Training by the 31st December 2020. Thank you everyone. Regrettably some Leaders have been unable to meet the requested deadline. Our next training challenge in the County will be First Aid as there will no longer be a refresher course as a renewal of First Aid will require the Girlguiding six hour training. Berkshire Trainers and North Wiltshire have offered to support our County and as soon as I have news I will share with the County. A further challenge to the County will be Subscriptions and Commissioners have requested that all Leaders ensure GO records are up to date.

Thank you to Emma Sysum who completed her 5 year appointment as PR Adviser for the County and Wendy Pearce who is currently standing down as First Aid Adviser for the County. Thank you to all District Commissioners who have now completed their term of office and welcome to those who have stepped forward and agreed to lead their District. Thank you to Shirley Eve for all the support she gives to the County with Safeguarding. Thank you to Rosemary Douce who continues to support and lead the DBS Team in the County.

If there is anyone who wishes to apply or find out more about the PR Adviser role please contact either Division/County Commissioner. County also have a vacancies for a Learning and Development Adviser and a new Adviser to support all Adult Leadership Qualification.

Well here we are we have made it through 2020 and a new journey and year has started I wish joy, good health and peace to you and your families and look forward to us all “shining through” in 2021.

Best wishes

Fran Westlake
County Commissioner