Girlguiding has a long history of empowering girls and young women to be their best.

From a small handful of girls who gatecrashed the first-ever Scout rally, demanding ‘something for the girls’, Girlguiding has grown into a vast and vibrant network of members across the UK.

The Guide Association was established in 1909 – thanks to the efforts of many intrepid girls who refused to accept that scouting was ‘just for boys’. Soon, these young women began completing badges in sailing, aviation and home electrics. Later still, Girlguiding members were making important contributions to the First World War effort – growing food, acting as messengers for government organisations and working in hospitals, factories and soup kitchens.

It’s been over 100 years since Girlguiding was established, and our members are still pushing boundaries and achieving great things.

Our evolution

As the needs of girls have changed Girlguiding has listened and evolved too.

In the early days, we heard girls’ calls for new age groups and set up Brownies (originally called Rosebuds) for girls under 11. A Senior Guide group for older girls was established in 1916 – now called Rangers. Our youngest group, Rainbows, joined us in 1987.

During World Wars I and II our volunteers and young members showed an incredible commitment to social action. Between 1914 and 1918 Guides acted as messengers for confidential information for The Marconi Wireless Telegraph. And in 1940 our members raised over £50,000 to help the war effort. We even set up a committee to select and train Leaders for relief work after the war, called the Guide International Service.

Throughout the 20th century, we continued to develop a programme which encouraged girls to challenge themselves. In 1966, six Guides broke the girls’ relay record for swimming the English Channel. We also launched GOLD, giving young women – many of whom had never travelled abroad before – the opportunity to connect with guiding members overseas and lead development, training and relief projects.

More than 100 years after Girlguiding began we continue to do amazing things. We’ve launched a number of fun-packed gigs and festivals for our members, marched at Pride and celebrated not one, but three centenaries.

In 2018 we launched a brand-new programme for all our members from Rainbows to Rangers. It was the biggest refresh of badges and awards that Girlguiding had ever seen. Led by the skills and passions of girls today, we created six themes for our members to explore and introduced over 800 new badges and activities.

We have established our girl-led peer education programme, training our peer educators to talk about subjects like body confidence, healthy relationships and other issues facing young women. We continue to focus on championing the voices of girls, establishing our youth panel, Advocate and working to create the change girls want to see with Future Girl.

Guiding today

Girlguiding is still committed to listening to what girls need and delivering new and inspiring opportunities. Find out what our members get up to today.

  • Rainbows

    Rainbows (5-7)

    Rainbows is for girls aged between 5 and 7 (from 4 in Northern Ireland).
    Being a Rainbow is all about learning, developing self-confidence, building friendships and having fun.

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  • Brownies

    Brownies (7-10)

    Brownies introduces girls to a world of new opportunities, challenges and fun.
    Girls go along to camps, holidays, day trips and sleepovers.

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  • Guides

    Guides (10-14)

    Guides have the chance to get out there and do something really different.


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  • Rangers

    Rangers (14-18)

    Rangers offers an exciting and flexible programme with a huge variety of challenges and opportunities for personal development and the ability to give something back to your community.

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  • Young Leaders

    Young Leaders (14-18)

    Young leaders are members of Girlguiding, aged 14 to 18 who volunteer with a Rainbow, Brownie or Guide unit.

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  • Guiding for Young Women 18+

    Girlguiding for young women 18+ (18-30)

    This is a brand new opportunity intruded to Girlguiding in 2019.

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  • Leaders/Voulnteers

    Leaders/Voulnteers

    Girlguiding Essex West is part of Girlguiding the leading charity for girls and young women in the UK.

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Upcoming Events

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Latest News

Coronavirus Guidance

26 July 2020

        Keep up to date with the latest Covid-19 guidance from Girlguiding:

Brownies – Poppy’s Promise

19 December 2019

Poppy made her promise as a Rainbow in 4th Stanford-le-Hope Rainbow Unit in the conventional method 3 years ago – however, last week, with the restrictions of the

Adventures at Home Festival

28 May 2020

Girlguiding Adventures at Home Festival – Saturday 23rd May Lots of girls (and adults) across the County joined Girlguiding for their Adventures at Home

Uniforms 4 Uniforms

28 May 2020

Girls and Leaders from around the County wore their uniforms to join the 8pm Clap for the NHS on Thursday 23rd April (St. George’s Day) #ClapforCarers

Adventures at Home

28 May 2020

Activities and adventures to keep yourself occupied during this difficult time - fun for kids, adults, everyone! Being an adventurer is a state of mind – it’s

Adventures at Home Festival

28 May 2020

If you missed the on-line festival on 23rd may, or just want to see any of it again. It’s all here on the Girlguiding YouTube Channel 

Adventures at Home Badge

28 May 2020

Our #AdventuresAtHome badge is here! Celebrate taking part in at-home activities, online guiding meetings and the first virtual Girlguiding festival with our fun badge