It is important for families to know that GFS groups are a safe place to leave their children. We work hard to make our groups safe and accessible for girls, and constantly review and discuss how we can do an even better job.
If you have any feedback on how GFS as a whole, or a specific group, could improve, please get in touch here.
How we foster an inclusive environment
Physical access and additional needs
While GFS is not a specialist service, we are committed to including girls wherever possible.
That’s why we require all venues for new GFS groups to be wheelchair accessible. While we are still working to make all groups accessible, we are happy to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.
As well as wheelchair accessibility, groups are also supported to include girls with additional social or learning needs. And each GFS group has a leader or Group Coordinator available to talk about your girl’s access needs.
Parents can let us know about their child’s needs when signing up. From there, a volunteer will call to discuss this with you, ahead of attending the group.
This process is in place so we can be sure your child is receiving the correct support and considerations from the moment she arrives with us.
GFS is a registered charity, and does not operate to make a profit. Weekly session fees, or ‘subs’ help to pay for costs such as insurance, venue hire and resources.
While we do collect fees from those who are able to pay for them, these Weekly fees are low and set-up to make them as easy as possible to manage. You won’t need to pay for the term up front (although some groups do provide this as an option), or pay for any sessions you don’t attend .
The cost of sessions should not be a barrier to attendance. If fees are a barrier, any parent can self-refer their child to attend sessions free of charge through our “fee waiver” system. This can either be done when you register, or by talking with your Group Leader.
GFS does not have a costly official uniform. Girls can come straight to their groups after school in their school uniforms, while others may choose to go home and change their clothes first.
Both options are welcome!
Every group has the opportunity to apply for one funded trip per year, so all girls can have access to the same opportunities.
There are times when the GFS programme introduces girls to inspiring women. These sessions help girls realise that their potential is unlimited, and that others like them have succeeded before.
This is only effective if the women we showcase are diverse, and that all girls have an opportunity to see themselves reflected in the programme. With this in mind, GFS has a commitment to ensure that our activities consistently celebrate women from all walks of life.
All girls and women welcome
GFS strives to play a part in building a fair society for everyone. This requires an intersectional approach that sees and respects the rights of all people. We will never discriminate against any protected characteristics.
We are proud to say that at GFS, trans women and girls will always be welcome, valued and supported.
How we make sure the groups are safe
Local staff support
Each GFS group is led by a team of women volunteers and many groups are now supported by paid Group Coordinators recruited from within each group’s local community. We are adding Group Coordinators to existing groups wherever needed and possible.
Volunteer vetting and training
Every volunteer at GFS provides references and undergoes an online DBS check, Volunteers are not sent to work with the girls before we contact their references and the DBS is complete.
From there, they will receive mandatory training on the organisation, safeguarding awareness, engaging with girls and young women, running sessions and planning their programme.
Each group will always have two volunteers who are First Aid and Food Hygiene trained.
All GFS staff and volunteers complete formal safeguarding training when they join GFS, and then again every year to ensure best practice.
The GFS full time Operations Team are always on hand to support the women delivering groups, with any safeguarding or health and safety issues that arise. We have on call Safeguarding Officers, as required by law and you can see our full Safeguarding Policy here.
GFS’s Head Office team supports groups to meet essential health and safety, risk assessments, data protection and other legal requirements. Policies are in place to help groups remain safe and compliant. To ensure the safety of girls and parents, groups are temporarily paused if there is a lapse in compliance.