Bright Future for Blidworth Brownies

IN December last year, Brownies in Blidworth faced a huge challenge. With the imminent – and well-earned – retirement of Brown Owl Kathy Straw, the future of the 1st Blidworth Brownie unit was uncertain, and the 17 Brownies were faced with the prospect of joining lengthy waiting lists for places at nearby units.

So Girlguiding Nottinghamshire’s county team and Mansfield Division Commissioner Sarah Clarkson got together with Notts County Council development worker Andrea Ward to set about the task of finding a new leader. An appeal went out, and thanks to support from local radio, newspapers and magazines like Inside One, interest began to build up.

One respondent was Amy-Rose Gardner, 27, from Mansfield, who got in contact with Girlguiding Nottinghamshire to see how she could help. Amy-Rose is now training to be a fully-fledged Brownie Leader, and here she talks to Andrea about her experiences of volunteering.

Andrea: Were you in Brownies when you were a girl?

Amy-Rose: Yes, I actually used to be a Brownie in Blidworth. Kathy was Brown Owl then, and my sister also used to help out. Andrea: Can you describe the experience of volunteering with Girlguiding Nottinghamshire?

Amy-Rose: It was made so easy for me and everyone has been so supportive! I enquired about volunteering in February, and by March I was working with Blidworth Brownies. I was impressed at how quickly things happened. It was just what I needed, and with Kathy’s support I have felt my confidence growing – I’m already planning to take some of the Brownies on a trip to join in an event happening soon in the next village.

Andrea: What would be your advice to someone reading this and thinking they might be interested in volunteering? Amy-Rose: Just do it! Even if you can only spare half an hour of your time a week it will make a huge difference.

I think Guiding is about promoting life skills and the simplest of things can make a massive difference to the girls. People don’t always see themselves as having skills, but everyone has something they can share – whether it’s baking cakes, making jewellery or gardening, or helping with all the admin tasks that a busy Brownie unit needs doing. I took my promise at last week’s meeting, and my family were invited to be there. It was brilliant! I went home feeling proud to be part of such a large organisation, and I’m really looking forward to helping Blidworth girls enjoy their time as Brownies. Division Commissioner Sarah Clarkson is delighted that Amy-Rose decided to volunteer with Girlguiding in Notts.

‘We’re currently celebrating the Brownie centenary so it’s great news that the future of Blidworth Brownies is now secure. It means we can offer places to even more local girls, and we’ve already been able to welcome 10 new Brownies this year,’ she says. ‘We’re really grateful to Inside One for supporting our quest for more leaders and helpers, and we look forward to welcoming new volunteers like Amy-Rose as we continue to develop Guiding in the Mansfield, Rainworth and Blidworth area.’ More leaders and helpers are needed to keep opportunities like this open to as many girls as possible across Notts. Enquiries about volunteering with Girlguiding Nottinghamshire are welcome from adults of all backgrounds, ages, cultures, and faiths: call county hq on 0115 987 7220 or visit