Girls can do anything given the chance, Girlguide’s new Chief Guide believes

Girl Guide's new national leader Valerie le Vaillant

Girl Guide's new national leader Valerie le Vaillant - Credit: Girl Guide Movement

The Girl Guides’ new national Chief Guide Valerie le Vaillant has her roots in London’s deprived East End.

She currently chairs east London’s Swan social housing organisation which is one of the main partners in Tower Hamlets council’s £300m Blackwall Reach regeneration scheme at Poplar.

But her career in property goes back to the days of the London Docklands Development Corporation as Canary Wharf was being built in the 1980s, when she was east London’s Girlguiding District Commissioner.

She undertook a major education outreach project to help build social cohesion between the-then existing Dockland and the emerging Docklands communities.

Valerie also ran a Girlguides outreach programme in the 1990s targeting Muslim girls when she set up 22 new units in the East End’s most disadvantaged areas.

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“I firmly believe that girls can do anything,” she tells you.

“Guiding can help them do anything, given the right confidence, self-belief and support and the opportunity to have incredible adventures along the way.

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“That, for me, is what makes Girlguiding so special.”

Valerie is using the long-established charity movement to help girls and young women “develop into strong, assured and happy women who have the confidence to succeed in life”.

She has dedicated most of her adult life in leadership roles opening up Girlguiding opportunities to youngsters from diverse backgrounds, doing what she can to remove the barriers to getting involved.

Valerie, who is also runs her own consultancy specialising in sustainable development and community regeneration, was awarded the OBE in 2001 for service to architecture and to the east London community.

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