Decline in Guide leaders in Burgess Hill ‘forcing units to shut’

Louise Lambourne (far left) and Janet Samuel (far right) with girls and leaders from the division
Louise Lambourne (far left) and Janet Samuel (far right) with girls and leaders from the division

A high number of girls are waiting to become Guides in Burgess Hill but can’t because of a shortage of group leaders, it has been revealed.

The town currently has 20 active units with around 370 girls.

Guide leaders in Burgess Hill

Guide leaders in Burgess Hill

It ideally needs to have 60 leaders to run the units but is about 20 short.

Louise Lambourne, 37, told the Middy: “I am a Brownie leader and I have been in the movement most of my life and looking around me I see such a decline in leaders which is forcing units to shut.

“We have such high numbers of girls wanting to join us but I fear we will have nowhere for them to go very soon.

“I myself have just been asked to try and save a Guide unit in Burgess Hill but need leaders. This is a valuable part of our community and we need help.”

Mrs Lambourne said being a Guide is not what people think it is now. “People used to be embarrassed to be a Guide,” she said.

“We want to re-advertise it and get more volunteers in. It is great fun and I don’t just give up my time freely.

“For me I didn’t have an easy time as a teenager, but I had a way out – I had everyone supporting me at Brownies and Guides.

“It is a safe place where girls can grow into individuals and can believe that they can do anything – and they can do anything.”

Leader Janet Samuel, 65, district commissioner for the Martlets district, said she has seen girls’ confidence grow when they have joined Guides.

She added: “We are not looking for leaders who have ready-made skills, we just want people who are passionate about it. You get the training and you get it for free. It is open to all women.”

Girlguiding is the leading charity for girls and young women in the UK, with more than 500,000 members.

A spokesman said: “Thanks to the dedication and support of more than 100,000 amazing volunteers, we are active in every part of the UK, giving girls and young women a space where they can be themselves, have fun, build brilliant friendships, gain valuable life skills and make a positive difference to their lives and their communities.

“We build girls’ confidence and raise their aspirations. We give them the chance to discover their full potential and encourage them to be a powerful force for good. We give them a space to have fun.”

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