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Tell me how your Guiding hall works...


Brownie-induced madness
In one area locally there is a Guiding owned (I think joint with Scouting? Though maybe just Guiding owned and rented by Scouting?) hall.

All of the Rainbow and Guide units meet there (and I'm assuming TSS too).

I found out a bit from the Brownie leader who has Brownies in her village hall and the Rainbows and Guides are up in the market town in the hall. They have no Rainbows or Guides and girls commute up to them (though 10 minute drive maximum).

Do parents cope with this in other words everyone coming to a central place for Guiding? What do parents do who don't have transport? Do all units have to meet there (clearly not in our neighbouring district as this village unit doesn't)? If they don't, is it because they just want to meet more locally, or because the hall is full for that night, or because parents don't really want to come that far?

Who funded the building - fundraising, grant/loan from Guiding or another organisation?

Who runs it and who owns it and how does that work? (this one I think is council-owned)

I am just being nosy basically after hearing about this neighbouring district though it actually turns out that a meeting place where I used to Guide (very very small independent church, but much more like a community hall) is up for sale.


We have a District Guide Hall, opened 1971, through fundraising run by the Friends of Guiding committee, with the involvement of the Guiders and their units. I believe that at the time there were some grants from the local education authority and others too.

Our District is our town (which keeps things straightforward) and the hall is located in a central location just off the main street, so is easily accessible to all - though virtually all come by car, it is on the bus route through the town, and would be perfectly walkable for most of the girls (only those living in the surrounding countryside would be more than a mile away).

All of the units happily meet there, because it is more economical than the village hall or schools would be, we have storage, use of kitchen and use of breakout rooms, and can get in earlier/later at no extra expense, and can do sleepovers there at an economical rate.

Some nights several units meet in turn, though we always arrange a 15-minute gap between meetings, so there is handover time for one person to clear up, and for the next to arrive and get organised so they can start their meeting proper on time.

The District Commissioner has overall charge, but all matters of importance are discussed at District meetings. Units pay a flat rate rent per girl per term, which is enough to cover the bills, and also pay for the cleaner and the gardener (who cuts the grass around the hall). We used to have a rota for cleaning and grass cutting but found it preferable to pay people! We have a District rate for subs so everyone pays the same (£25 per term) regardless of which unit they are in, and until recently we had communal waiting lists for each section.

We do find that it works well, but we are aware that alongside the benefits there are responsibilities - we have to pay for upkeep and for repairs, and also for any redevelopments. At one time a lot of new estates were built and we had 6 full Brownie packs and 5 full Guide Companies - now we have 2 Rainbow, 3 Brownie, 2 Guide and an SS unit, and numbers have been fairly stable at that level for a few years now, so that's fewer members to cover the bills, meaning the charge per head goes up . . .


Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member
Our story ...
District-owned hall; built approx 30-odd years ago - nothing fancy; funded through local fundraising and donations / legacies.

The guiding district is one medium-sized town. All guiding units meet in that hall - 3 R / 5 B / 3 G / 2 TSS. Travel distance - the hall is in the middle of the town, and although the town isn't massive it is big enough that most folk would drive. Girls pay a "hall fee" of about £7 per girl per term - based on our overall numbers, that pretty much covers all regular, running costs of the hall.
Fundraising goes on in various levels depending on what projects are ongoing - we've put in new heating, new flooring etc

We used to have a FOG committee who ran most of the hall-related items, but more recently there's just a management hall committee which is mainly guiders.

There's split opinion on renting out the hall to external parties - there's some folk think it was funded by guiding, so should be used for guiding use; others believe the wider community should be able to use the hall, specifically through the day. But, it is being rented out to a couple of local playgroups / toddler groups on a regular basis, and irregular rentals such as dances and birthday parties.

To be honest, there's probably ups & downs - the advantage of having your own place is not arguing with councils / schools about rentals / being kicked out, the disadvantage is that all the problems are yours to manage (building works, insurance, etc etc)


Veteran (100+ posts)
Where I grew up there was a scout and guide hall, it was run by a committee and were separate from either the scout or guide movements. They kept accounts, ran bookings, organised the maintenance of the building and organised fund-raising and other social events. They got quite rich renting out the hall to dance teachers, birthday parties and the like, and thats without renting it to a nursery during the day. Also with a hall at their disposal you can hold many fundraising events and fairs.

The hall used to be a small methodist chapel, which was built when the village was first established (mining village so this was about 1850 I think) and they had to build a larger church a while after so this became vacant. I am not sure how it was given to the scouts and guides or if it was bought but it was decades ago so no one could remember.

Anyway we had other scouts and guides in the same village as this hall, they met in a different part of the village and met in a church hall. Their rent was free and our hall was free most evenings so I think it was more a different location to add variety to our guiding locations locally as well as meeting on different nights. If things changed, such as they got charged rent, then they could easily move to our hall as they meet on a different night anyway.

Parents were happy for the travel if the alternative night was better for them.

But travel and locations are all subject to your local situation, in this situation we were quite rural so you would expect most people to have cars and be happy to travel to the location, however by our hall there was a large council estate so many children were less well off and less likely to have a car but it was fine as they could walk to us.
I live in London now and you expect very few parents to have cars just due to how central we are. This means our locations all have to be accessible from public transport, and parents are much less happy travelling to locations (even just a few miles apart) due to the extra time taken to travel.


Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member
We have a jointly owned Scout & Guide HQ in our village. It is run by a management committee of current leaders (few) and former parents and leaders (more). The hall is about 40 years old and purpose built, funds were raised by units and parents long ago and the land donated by a local farmer. I heard the other day there is a covenant on the land that part should not be built on so he could drive his cattle from the field to the main road. Well, I don't think he has cattle anymore and the field is now a housing estate...

It is used five nights a week by Scouting and Guiding units and during the day by an organisation running activities for adults with disabilities. This is quite recent but the rent is paying for significant upgrades to the building which has been showing its age. It's one of those things that if we were starting with a blank piece of paper now we'd do several things differently but we still consider ourselves very fortunate to have a building to call our own, storage for unit and camp equipment and a garden for outside activities.

We are in a village and have a large rural catchment with R,B and G. There are other units not too far away but round here most people drive, there is little public transport so village and local units are the norm.


Brownie Leader
We meet in Guide Hall, which I believe was donated to Girlguiding donkeys years ago. It is run by a commitee of current and former leaders and the Div Comm. It is used by Brownies, Rainbows and Rangers (Guides meet elsewhere) but we also have other units meeting elsewhere in the town and surroundind villages. It also houses the Division camp store etc. We pay termly rent and it is also rented to external organisations on both long term and casual basis (think you can now rent for kids birthday parties). It's a pretty old building that requires quite a lot of maintainance, so renting out to others is essential to keep it going.


Veteran (100+ posts)
we have a church centre which rainbows, brownies and guides use on different nights throughout the week but all at the same times.

beavers, cubs and scouts have a separate hut up the road


Veteran (100+ posts)
I believe our hall technically belongs to the local council, but has been rented to Guiding on a long-term (probably 30-50yrs) agreement, probably for little/no cost.As such, Guiding is in control of the hall and its use, though the council are consulted & partly fund repairs & renovations (we just got new floors!).

There is one unit each of rainbow, brownie and guides, as well as the new mixed section unit that only meets fortnightly. Additionally the hall is rented out to community groups including yoga, seniors dancing, a cultural group, a Bonsi club and a tutoring group. The cost of the hall hire is dramatically more affordable then any of the halls operated by the local council, and the tutoring group in particular makes use of this!

All the units that meet in the hall sell biscuits for fundraising and these earnings go into a central "Hall account" along with proceeds from community group rental. These funds are used to keep hall in order, and also to purchase equipment or pay for events used/attended by all the units in the hall. If it was ever required, funds for the hall could come out of unit fees/subs- but this has never been an issue

The hall is by one significant bus route, but apart from myself, and my junior leader who comes straight from school, everyone else arrives by car, except a few brownies & guides who might cycle or walk in good weather. Travel is significant for some families, but there aren't a lot of other options. The other units closest to use meet in either a Guide or Scout hall. To be honest I don't know why the units at the scout hall have chosen to remain there over moving to out guide hall, except perhaps for historical reasons or may be closer for families, but not by much.