Girlguiding Sussex West signs up for The Little Hoot

Date published: 25 October 2023

Anyone who was ever a Brownie will remember that owls have particular significance. Perhaps, therefore, it is no surprise that Girlguiding Sussex West was one of the first organisations to sign up for The Little Hoot, the educational outreach programme running in tandem with The Big Hoot, Chestnut Tree House’s public art trail for 2024.

Girlguiding Sussex West has channelled its considerable energies on behalf of Chestnut Tree House before – funding two full days of care at the hospice through sponsored Reindeer Rambles.

Sussex West has 180 units with about 2,500 girls and 700 volunteers and members range in age from four all the way through to adulthood.

Kirstin Bosley, lead volunteer for the project, says: “Our promise is what unites everyone in guiding. Part of our promise is to be active members of our community and help others and, alongside the theme of taking action from our programme, we want to encourage girls to voice their opinion and help their community.

“We are keen to raise awareness among our members that there are young people with life-limiting conditions in our communities and that Chestnut Tree House provides care for them and their families.”

To ensure every member in the county has the opportunity to get involved, Girlguiding leaders will be using the Little Hoot resources and educational framework to launch a county challenge. Girls will be encouraged to raise a minimum of £50 per unit, in whatever way they please. And, of course, in true guiding tradition there will be a Girlguiding Sussex West ‘Little Hoot’ challenge badge.

“We’re hoping that people from Chestnut Tree House will be able to visit some units to talk about the care the hospice provides,” says Kirstin. “Some of the girls will be able to visit the hospice itself, exploring the Woodland Walk and seeing just how many resources are provided for life-limited children, so they understand a lot of fundraising is needed to keep hospices open and running.

“We are a charity ourselves, but it’s a great thing for our members to realise that there are other charities that need that support.”

The centrepiece of participation in The Little Hoot is the owl statue itself, which is decorated by the children. But with so many Girlguiding members taking part, it took some thought to work out how they could design the sculpture collaboratively. “What we decided in the end was that we would ask each unit to design a feather, which be transposed onto the sculpture by an artist. Then we can incorporate all the divisions’ symbols and logos – and it will represent all of us,” says Kirstin.

Find out about the Learner Programme for schools and youth groups

Could your school or youth group get involved? We’re on the lookout for Primary schools, pre-schools and secondary schools. As well as youth and sports groups.

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