More than twenty young girl guides are saying goodbye to their local town and ‘bonjour’ to Paris as they embark on a four-day guiding adventure thanks to a year-long fundraising effort.

The 2nd Pontllanfraith Guides will be heading on the first international guiding trip to be organised in many years and, for many of the young girls, it will be the first time they will have left Wales. And now thanks to a kind-hearted donation from gas emergency and pipeline service, Wales & West Utilities, the 22-strong team will represent Pontllanfraith in the smartest possible way by donning matching uniform.

The trip, which takes place during August, will provide a valuable opportunity for the girls, aged 10-14, to gain new experiences, develop their teamwork skills and make lifelong memories. The trip has been made possible after a year-long rally to raise vitals funds.

Jodie Carpenter, who is a volunteer full time leader at the guide group, also works as a Gas Quality Assistant Engineer for Wales & West Utilities, explains:

“Girl guiding is a fantastic opportunity for young women across the UK to discover their full potential and our girls in Pontllanfraith are no different.

“We meet weekly and, as leaders, we were keen to organise our first ever international trip to give our youngsters further opportunities but the cost of doing this for local families was a big ask and so we set about raising the money to make the trip as accessible as possible.”

The group has spent a year fundraising, collecting donations of £650 through a number of means including carol singing, raffles, an Easter bonnet parade and packing bags in supermarkets.  The £300 donation by Wales & West Utilities has been the icing on the cake, ensuring the guide group are well-represented and visible as they tour Paris.

Jodie continued:

For many of our girls it will be the first time they will set foot outside of Wales and we are extremely grateful to all who have played a part in our fundraising journey. I approached my employer, Wales & West Utilities, about the trip and we are absolutely thrilled that the donation has allowed us to buy matching uniforms for everyone going on the tour to Paris – we will be proud to represent Pontllanfraith.”

Jaime Falarcyzk, Corporate Affairs Manager at Wales & West Utilities, added:

“We are committed to supporting the fundraising efforts of our colleagues and Jodie and her fellow guide volunteers are doing a sterling job of giving youngsters opportunities to realise their potential. The group has done a fantastic job in raising money to further the life experiences of local Pontllanfraith youngsters.

“Our donation seeks to make the money raised go further and we wish the group a great trip.”

Girl guiding is the leading charity for girls and young women in the UK. Thanks to the dedication and support of 100,000 amazing volunteers, it is active in every part of the UK, giving girls and young women a space where they can be themselves, have fun, build friendships, gain valuable life skills and make a positive difference to their own lives and communities.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, takes pride in serving Wales and the south west of England. If anyone smells gas, thinks they have a gas leak, or suspects carbon monoxide poisoning, they should call us on 0800 111 999 and our engineers will be there to help, day or night. 

The company also has a multi-million pound, 30-year gas pipe investment programme which began in 2002. Old metal pipes within 30 metres of buildings are being replaced with new long-lasting plastic pipes with a lifespan of more than 80 years, to make sure homes and businesses continue to receive a safe and reliable gas supply now and in the future.