Creating a safe space in an online meeting

There are a number of way in which unit can stay connected digitally. Have a think about which way would best suit your unit:

  • By email, sending the girls activities to do. Always use a unit email account, not a personal one and never correspond one to one to a young member.
  • Through Facebook by setting up a closed group for your unit. You could post suggested activities on the page and invite the parents/ girls who are old enough to have an account to post pictures and messages about what they have done/created.
  • Run a virtual meeting via video conferencing, using platforms like Zoom or Skype. Similar to your regular meetings, you would introduce activities to the group on the call, with activities either completed on or following the call, as appropriate.

Girlguiding offers extensive advice on getting started with online guiding – scroll to the bottom and click ‘services for taking your guiding online’ for more info on video conferencing tools!

Keeping everyone safe

Here’s some things to remember when you’re getting started!

  • Every young member taking part in a virtual or online meeting must have a signed a virtual guiding consent form, a new resource available on Girlguiding’s website. Once this is signed it covers all your online or virtual meetings.
  • You also need to complete a risk assessment form. We have developed an example risk assessment example risk assessment form to use for virtual meetings, which you can tailor to reflect your own situation and the activities you plan to do with your girls.
  • Ahead of the meeting, only contact the girls or parents using your regular contact methods in line with Girlguiding’s Digital Communication policy.
  • You should send online meeting invitations to meetings directly to parents/carers.
  • Explain the role of the parents/carers in the meetings (Rainbows and Brownies should have them in the room, Guides and Rangers should have them nearby).
  • Invite the parents to take part in the meeting if they want, and siblings too if they wish.
  • You must have at least 2 adult volunteers on the call during the whole meeting, who should sign out last once all the girls have left the call. Please note that:
  1. At least one adult volunteer involved in the call will have their leadership qualification and a current PVG, as required for their role
  2. We recommend that at least one adult volunteer will hold a current Safe Space level three qualification, this can be the same person as above
  3. Any adult volunteer holding a role that does not require a PVG will always be supervised by someone with a PVG
  • If you plan to direct the girls to any links or videos, make sure you review these in advance to make sure they’re age appropriate.
  • Where the video chat settings allow it, you should use password protection.
  • Only do your video meetings from a communal living space and make sure there is nothing inappropriate in the background.
  • Brief any members of your household that you are having a virtual meeting with your girls and ensure that their behaviour and language is appropriate throughout the call.
  • At the start of the meeting check that you have an online and virtual meeting consent form for every young member at the meeting. If not, then ask them to leave the meeting.
  • Use appropriate language and behaviour during the call.
  • You should be careful about sharing images of the meeting on any shared forum e.g. Facebook in case it gives away details of the meeting that people could use.
  • Be aware that most video chat programmes will allow the girls to send private messages to others on the call without the meeting host being able to see them. If this becomes a problem, you (the host) have the ability to switch off the messaging.

We’ve also made this above list into a checklist format for you to download and print out, or just double click the boxes to check each task as completed on your chosen device!