Southwark guiding group celebrate their ‘MBE for volunteering groups’ – the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service
The 1st St James’ Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and members of the Senior Section (STARS) and their Leaders could be the newest MBE holders in Southwark. They celebrated in style on Tuesday 2 July as they received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2013, an award for voluntary groups which is equivalent to the MBE for individuals.
Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, members of the Senior Section and Leaders celebrated at Bacon’s College in Rotherhithe with Girlguiding chief executive Julie Bentley. The award was presented to the group by deputy lieutenant Jenny Bianco.
More than 160 girls from around Southwark meet at the same time every week. This includes 33 Rainbows, 56 Brownies and 63 Guides, and a team of 26 volunteer leaders supported by 30 members of the Senior Section of whom 18 help every week! This means they are one of the biggest guiding groups in the entire UK, giving girls the space to have fun and a chance to make their own choices and have their voices heard every week.
Shania, 10, from 1st St James’ Brownies, said: “I loved the presentation evening tonight – the best bit was seeing the Award and reading the letter from HRH Countess of Wessex. It made me feel really proud to be part of something so big. Our leaders are great fun and make our meetings really exciting.”
1st St James’ guiding family of units is led by Lesley Marsh who said: “The award nomination is made by a member of the local community so we were very surprised and delighted when we found out. Some of the leaders were invited to a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace and when we told the girls they decided that it would be great to have another celebration and say “thank you” to our local community. The girls asked if we could have a cake to celebrate and we did!”
Pip McKerrow, chief commissioner of Girlguiding London and South East England, said: “What an incredible achievement for an amazing group of Girlguiding leaders and girls. We’re proud of the 1st St James groups who offer girls their own space to build friendships, have fun and develop their own voices week-in, week-out, with some of the largest guiding groups in the region!”