This 40th national Volunteers’ Week (3-9 June 2024), a woman from Stroud is proving that would-be Girlguiding volunteers don’t need to have bags of spare time to sign up and help empower girls to know they can do anything.

For many are now thinking outside the box when it comes to making the logistics work and getting involved.

The UK’s largest organisation dedicated to girls is celebrating the flexible ways that people are finding to sign up and support their 300,000 young members.

Antisocial hours, long shifts and 48-hour working weeks were all part of the job for Jodie Sabin when she was training to be a doctor.

Spare time was a precious commodity, but she was still able to lead a Guide unit with some careful pre-planning.

Life may have been hectic for Jodie but she says knowing that she had one evening most weeks when she could switch off and do something different was important to her.

“I was welcomed with open arms and it was never an issue for anyone that I couldn't be there every week,” said Jodie, 38.

“As soon as I had my work rota, I let the rest of the team know which weeks I couldn't do and they planned around them.”

So when Jodie, who is now a hospital consultant, had her first child, Elliot, two years ago; she was confident she would once again find a way to make it work.

“So much of my life changed when I had a child, but guiding was my one constant,” she said. “It kept me going through the monotony of maternity leave and gave me something to think about apart from what my son was eating and how much he was sleeping.

“Being part of Girlguiding makes me feel like I am part of a huge extended family who are also friends and seeing the girls thrive is incredibly rewarding.”

At the time Jodie was leading her Guide unit solo, so the whole unit took a six-week break shortly before she gave birth.

The unit resumed when Jodie returned with her newborn son in tow. Her husband Rob, signed up as a unit helper for six months so he could help look after their son while Jodie led the sessions.

“The girls absolutely loved having Elliot there,” said Jodie. “My husband could hand him over if he needed feeding. It definitely wasn’t easy at times but I very much needed it.”

With almost 80,000 volunteers, Girlguiding has one of the largest volunteer networks in the UK.

A recent report found that Girlguiding volunteers are four times happier than the average UK adult*.

“I love being involved with Girlguiding and have always got a lot out of it,” said Jodie.

“Being part of the organisation makes me feel like I am part of a huge extended family who are also friends and seeing the girls thrive is incredibly rewarding.”

Jodie believes that many people might not realise that flexible volunteering is an option at Girlguiding.

“One of the hardest things is persuading people that it doesn’t matter how much time you can give – it’s all valuable,” said Jodie. “If you can find the right team, flexible volunteering is a great option.”

Volunteers Week takes place from Monday, June 3 to Sunday, June 9. 

For more information about Girlguiding, including flexible volunteering options, visit