Fun and kindness at Girls’ Brigade

In the Southampton Methodist District, the 8th Portsmouth Girls’ Brigade is a beacon of kindness, acceptance and fun. There are 22 girls, aged from 4 to 17, who regularly come to the Monday meetings where they learn and play together.

30 May 2024

In the quiet room, the Girls’ Brigade volunteers prepare for the girls to come through the door. Tables, chairs, games and crafts are in place and, as soon as the clock marks 6.30 pm, the girls start to arrive.
Jemimah, 8 years old, likes “Learning about God and all the fun activities we do together! My favourite game is dodgeball. I have a lot of fun here.”  Paige, also 8 years old, is also very fond of dodgeball – much less of the occasional spider that can be spotted on the ceiling!

Started in Ireland in 1893, the Girls’ Brigade was launched in England in 1902. It now has 400 groups and 6,000 girls in England and Wales. The 8th Portsmouth group in the Southampton Methodist District has 22 girls coming regularly from 4 to 17 years old. They are split into age groups to tailor the activities to their age and needs. It also allows teenagers and young adults to build their leadership skills by letting them work with younger girls to run games and activities.

The Girls’ Brigade is faith-based with Christian values being shared with the children and young people. “We are teaching them values that everyone can agree on regardless of if they are believers or not, such as honesty, respect and courage,” explains Catherine, the team leader of the 8th Portsmouth group.

Fun, kindness and learning new skills are at the heart of Girls’ Brigade. For Amy, 12 years old, “It's a nice and enjoyable community. We can share our feelings safely, play games and talk about religion. Girls’ Brigade helped me with my social skills, I was struggling to communicate and reach out to people.”

GB Portsmouth
GB Portsmouth

Once you start Girls’ Brigade, it stays with you for life. Catherine and Sue are two good examples. They both joined the uniformed group as children and then stayed as volunteers as they grew up. For Catherine, “It’s been a continuation of my journey. Girls’ Brigade introduced me to faith, gave me new skills and built my confidence.”

Sue was the team leader of the 8th Portsmouth group until Covid, when she retired from her position but stayed as a volunteer. Despite her family not being religious, she felt a sense of community at Girls’ Brigade and never left, “The kindness of the leaders and the joy that they brought to their role gave me an example of what life could be.”

Amy started volunteering eight years ago when her daughter joined aged 4. “We teach them a lot of skills that some schools don't, such as cooking, crafts, discussion and people skills. We offer a broader learning than school,” she adds.

More than faith and skills, what Girls’ Brigade bring to girls and young women is a community and the strength that comes from being part of a group that understands and accepts you.

“With us, you can be good at everything or nothing, it does not matter and we will still accept you. In Girls’ Brigade, you are accepted as who you are,” concludes Sue.

Are you part of a team leading a uniformed group?

Are you a church that would love to find an achievable and appropriate way to support children's and youth ministry?

We're really pleased to be partnering with the Girls' Brigade and Boys' Brigade to bring you two exciting events...


Monday 10 June 2024, 7 pm to 8.30 pm

How can churches better support the uniform groups that meet in their buildings or in their communities? How can uniform groups develop positive relationships with local churches? By exploring these questions together, we hope that we can all flourish - young people, leaders, groups and communities. Book here to be a part of the conversation.


Monday 8 July 2024, 7.30 pm to 8 pm

Uniform organisations provide vital children's and youth work across our country. Please join us for half an hour to pray for their leaders and the young people who attend the groups each week. Sign-up here.