Council Chair hosts reception to mark centenary of Girlguiding

22nd April 2022

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The Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Errol Thompson, recently hosted a reception in the Grange for representatives of Girlguiding in Fermanagh and Omagh to mark the centenary of the Girlguiding movement. See below, the full text of Councillor Thompson’s address.

“Distinguished guests and Ladies

I am delighted to welcome you all to the Council Offices here in Omagh this evening for this reception to celebrate 100 years of Girlguiding and to recognise that Girlguiding Tyrone is hosting one of the 70 Girlguiding UK Platinum Jubilee Beacons.

I would like to extend a particularly warm welcome to the President of Girlguiding Ulster, Karen McAllister, and I understand you are a native of Fermanagh; Ivy Turner, President of Girlguiding Tyrone; Caroline Neville, County Commissioner Fermanagh and Helen McCullough, County Commissioner Tyrone.  I would also like to welcome Jackie Moore MBE and the District Commissioners, past and present, and the Leaders from Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers Units across our District.

Girlguiding is a global, volunteer-led organization for girls aged 4 years and over and I understand that in the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council area there are over 300 girls and 85 volunteers who belong to various units.  Girlguiding offers girls a range of opportunities to learn new skills, develop new friendships, grow their self-esteem and confidence whilst also having fun in a safe and welcoming environment.  The girls have the opportunity to participate in weekly activities and meetings as well as camps both locally and internationally.  The girls also make a valuable contribution to the community through visiting nursing home, litter picks and taking part in the annual Remembrance Day Services and parades.

As with many aspects of our lives, unfortunately the Covid-19 pandemic impacted on your activities, but I am delighted to hear that, with the easing of restrictions, some face to face activities are returning which is important for our young people.

I was particularly delighted to learn of the programme of activities which you have planned to recognise the Platinum Jubilee so our young people can be a part of this significant event in our lifetime.

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is the lead partner in the Fermanagh and Omagh Community Plan 2030 and one of the outcomes of the plan is to ensure that our people have the best start in life with lifelong opportunities to fulfil their potential.  I believe that Girlguiding is the epitome of this because, as your mission says, through fun, friendship, challenge and adventure you empower girls to find their voice, inspire them to discover the best in themselves and to make a positive difference in their community. From a young age you are instilling these attributes in our young people which they will be able to carry forward into the future in so many aspects of their lives enabling them to achieve their aspirations.

The achievement of this mission and the delivery of the balanced and varied programme of activities throughout the year would not be possible without you, the volunteers.  Each of you, along with your fellow Commissioners and Leaders, have been volunteering in Girlguiding for many years, and I understand that some have been volunteering for as many as 50 years.  I would like to commend and thank each of you for your dedication and giving of your time to enable the young people of our District to experience Girlguiding and gain various valuable life skills which will benefit them not only now but into the future.

William James, an American Philosopher, once said “Act as if what you do makes a difference…it does”.  Your acts of leadership and commitment within Girlguiding have inspired and made a difference to the lives of so many of our young people and will continue to do and this is something you can be proud of.

On behalf of the Council, and on my own behalf, I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate you on your 100th anniversary and, once again, thank you for your many years of volunteering.  You should know that this has not gone unnoticed, and our District will benefit from this for many years to come as our young people will continue to make a positive difference in our communities and beyond.

I would like to wish you and Girlguiding every success for the future.”