We caught up with Natalie Bateman, one of the newest additions to our Region Volunteer team, to find out about her new role for Communication & Engagement.

What does the role of Lead Volunteer for Communication & Engagement involve?

It's really a role to support the Region to engage its members, so includes planning communications such as social media and emails and supoorting the delivery of events such as Adviser Days. Some of my role will be working with Commissioners and Advisers at a County level, and some will be directly supporting members to get the most out of their guiding experience, wherever they are. On July 21 I supported the launch of the new programme by doing a radio interview, promoting the change on social media and being on hand at one of our events to showcase the fabulous new materials! There will be more to shout about with our new programme in September, as units start trying it out for real. We've also got another Social Action project coming up next year and after the success of Macmillan, it's a hard act to follow. It's fair to say it's a big role, so I have a very capable assistant in Rebecca.

What  do you hope to achieve as part of this role?

Success for me would be an increase in the number of members who are inspired to try out new experiences and an increase in the awareness of what Girlguiding can offer for young women in the Midlands. Shouting about all the amazing things we get up to and making our achievements visible to the public is a big part of that. 

What other roles do you have in guiding?

I'm currently a Unit Leader of a Guide unit in Pedmore, and I'm on the event team for INSPIRE (our conference for 18-35s in November) and Megamix, which will be a fantastic opportunity for Guides in August 2019.

What relevant previous experiences have you had which led you to this Region role?

I've been a Division Marketing and Communications Adviser, and this year led the Alton Towers sleepover events for Guides. I've been on the event team at West Midland Safari Park Brownie sleepovers too. I 'm also an Online Marketing Manager, so I've got plenty of experience from my job. 

What is your favourite thing you have done, or your greatest achievement, as a member of Girlguiding?

My favourite guiding experience is still running Carnival Fever, the Midlands Senior Section Spectacular camp, back in 2015. I've formed lifelong friendships with the two ladies who were also planning it with me and we just had a ball the whole weekend, despite the rain. Standing on a hill, watching fireworks to 'Reach' in the rain was a real mountaintop moment.
A close second is climbing the O2 in celebration of achieving my Queen's Guide Award - we were certainly on a high with that one! 

What do you enjoy outside guiding?

Getting out in the great outdoors! I love a long walk or a mountain climb, and getting away from it all (even better if the phone signal's nonexistent).

What is your favourite biscuit and why?

This is probably the hardest question! I love pretty much any biscuits, but I guess it would have to be a Jammie Dodger - the jam in the middle makes it.

What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?

Honest, hard-working and approachable.