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Guides try to widen appeal

THE Guides are trying to shed their white, middle-class, Christian image in a drive to recruit more girls from ethnic minorities. A Lottery grant of £1.2 million will be used to encourage the setting up of groups in disadvantaged areas.

It didn't help the movement's image that many Guide units met in church halls, said Neill Young, spokesman for Girlguiding UK, on Tuesday. "What the organisation is and what it's perceived to be are two different things. What some people perceive is that because we meet in church halls, we're not available to people outside the Christian groups."

The Guide Promise was changed many years ago to "Love my God", and church parades have long been entirely optional. "We certainly have a spirituality side, but we are a multifaith organisation, and would encourage girls to develop their own thinking on that," said Mr Young.

Those at the grass roots of the UK organisation, which has 600,000 Guides and a waiting list of 50,000, say the profile of any Guide unit simply reflects the area in which it operates. "It's difficult to generalise. We do our best to embrace everyone within Guiding," said John Finney, spokesman for Nottinghamshire Girlguiding.

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Keeping the faith under fire

Keeping the faith under fire

Large numbers of clergy volunteered to be military chaplains during the Great War. Peter Street tells some of their stories  Subscribe to read more

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Can Catholics back women bishops?

Christopher Hill asks whether Catholics can back women bishops  Subscribe to read more

Mon 28 Jul 14 @ 16:42
"A sense that in some way the disappearance of the sacred is a huge wound" Rowan Williams @BBCRadio4's The Waste Land http://t.co/90PxbPopjr

Mon 28 Jul 14 @ 15:16
Outing: is it ever right? @lucy25 is responding to comments made by @PeterTatchell here: http://t.co/NRkJS73PAX