Girlguides in urgent plea for volunteers as one in ten units face closure

Up to 30 of the capital's units are at risk of closure due to lack of new volunteers - affecting around 500 youngsters.

Girlguiding Edinburgh has issued an urgent plea for volunteers to save up to 10% of its units from closure.

The youth organisation, which has been on the go for more than 110 years, provides opportunities for young girls between the age of four and 18 to develop their skills and confidence.

There are around 280 Rainbow, Brownie, Guide and Rangers units in Edinburgh providing services to over 4,000 girls.

Currently the city faces losing around 25 to 30 of these due to a lack of new volunteers coming through as existing leaders retire or relocate.

Around 500 young girls could be affected by the loss, whilst thousands are already on waiting lists across the capital.

Lindsey Devin, County Commissioner for Girlguiding Edinburgh said: “To me it is devastating. Yes, we will put girls onto different waiting lists but it’s a snowball effect.

“If we’re closing units, waiting lists are just going to get bigger and unless we attract people, I know I’m just moving girls onto a waiting list.”

Kim Maxwell with her daughters Evie, five, and Bella, two.STV News

Kim Maxwell’s five-year-old daughter Evie has been coming to Rainbows in Kirkliston from the beginning of this year.

She says that since then, she’s seen a huge difference in Evie’s confidence and social skills – so much so that her two-year-old daughter is already on the waiting list to join.

Kim said: “My little girl Bella actually has a lung condition and she’s on oxygen 24/7 so I was really thinking how can she come to a space like this and we’re still navigating that.

“But when I reached out to Rainbows to register her they literally texted me the same day saying we’re so inclusive and that will not impact Bella’s opportunity to come here, we’ll fully support her with that as well.

“So I see all the skills and the confidence that Evie has developed by coming here so I just really want Bella to be a part of that too so when I hear these things about it potentially shutting down because of volunteers I just think no because she gets so much from this.”

The news has come as a blow to many of the young girls already benefitting from the organisation.

Elena Shaw, a Brownie, said: “I think it’s really upsetting because every Tuesday I come to Brownies and I think that if one week it just stopped happening, it wouldn’t feel right.”

Brownies, Elena Shaw and Eilidh Smith with county commissioner Lindsey Devin.STV News

Olivia Tavener, a Guide, said: “It’s a big part of our personalities, without Guides we wouldn’t have been as confident or as brave to do stuff that we can do now.”

Young volunteers, Sam Skivington and Isla Swan know all too well the benefits of being a part of the picture.

Sam Skivington said: “It’s really good for helping with job interviews, college interviews and it’s also helping me with my future career which I want to be as I work with Rainbows and I really want to work in childcare.”

Kirsty Lewis, lead volunteer for growth at Girlguiding Edinburgh said: “We want to emphasise that becoming a volunteer leader is not just about volunteering, it’s about personal growth, skills development, and making a meaningful difference in the lives of young girls.

“We invite anyone who is even remotely interested to reach out to us to arrange a visit to your local unit, and see first-hand how much fun and fulfilment this experience can bring.”

The organisation is now urging anyone considering becoming a volunteer to contact membership coordinator Maria Laskowska at for more information.

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