Friday July 8th, 2016
July is an intense month for Concordia. Many volunteers have gone to their projects overseas, many more are preparing to go and we also have several last minute opportunities not to miss. Our UK programme is in full swing and lots of international volunteers are arriving to the UK. Finally NCS has started! And lots of young people in the UK are now engaging with this life changing programme.
So lots going on for Concordia this month! And we will tell you all about it in this new newsletter, starting with a few thoughts about the results of the latest referendum, which make our work all the more important.
Fiona, Suzi, Francesco, Hannah, Karen, Maxime & Victor
UK-Europe volunteering, EU and EVS
The 23rd June was a very decisive day for the UK, with the EU referendum won by the “Leave” campaign and many of us trying to understand what the future will hold. We wanted to take the opportunity to say that here at Concordia we will keep promoting cooperation with our European partners and friends, as we’ve done for the past 73 years, and we are even more determined to work with the Alliance of European Voluntary Service Organisations towards a world where friendship and understanding amongst cultures thrives and enriches all of us, both as individuals and in our societies.
On a practical level, we would like to reassure all our volunteers that there won’t be any immediate changes for anyone who wants to volunteer and travel in Europe: UK citizens are still able to enter the EU freely, and conversely, EU citizens can join our projects in the UK with no changes in the entry requirements.
In particular, the European Voluntary Service (EVS) scheme is going on as normal and, if you want to volunteer 6-12 months in any country in Europe, you are welcome to apply for this programme, which is fully funded by the EU.
Currently we have several EVS volunteers in Romania, France, Poland, Sweden, Belgium, Spain and Czech Republic, who are enjoying their experience and learning through their volunteering. In particular we have just received this article from Sam about his EVS project in Spain, which is a great testimony of how powerful this EVS programme (and volunteering in Europe and overseas) can be.
Finally, on a practical note, if you are interested in EVS and feel you want to start a project soon, we do have a few 6-12 month projects starting in September in Germany and Czech Republic, for which we are urgently looking for volunteers. If you want to apply for any of these projects please contact us as soon as possible. Or if instead you want to volunteer just for a few weeks, our short term programme has over 1000 projects still looking for volunteers.
EVS last Minute Places in Germany and Czech Republic!
EVS (European Voluntary Service) is a great opportunity to volunteer fully funded for 6-12 months in a European country. We currently have some last minute projects urgently looking for volunteers in Germany and Czech Republic. Read here for more information and if you are interested in applying please contact us ASAP on firstname.lastname@example.org
Recruiting groups for 2017.
Are you a group of motivated people that looking for the next big adventure together? We are currently looking for more motivated groups for the next year’s Group Volunteering programme! What to know more? Please contact us via email, and we will be happy to see if we can get the ball rolling for next year. You can also read more information about our Group Volunteering programme
Welcome to the UK, to all our international volunteers!
Here in the UK we’re well into the summer programme, with three of our short-term projects completed already. Our partner projects located from the Lake District to the south coast of Sussex have welcomed our volunteers from all around the world.
At Oak Grove College in West Sussex, a group of 7 volunteers worked hard on creating a woodland meadow area within the grounds of the college, as well as joining lessons with the children, gardening and many other tasks. Group coordinator, Clara Thierry told us:
“I feel so lucky to have had a chance to volunteer and coordinate the group at Oak Grove College, it was an amazing project and so fun working with the children out in the garden. The hosts were always very helpful and went out of their way to welcome us. I wish I was available in September so I could coordinate the project a second time!”
There are still a couple of places left on the Oak Grove project running in September, so get in touch fast, if you’d like to join us!
Moving forwards, I can’t believe it’s July already! July is our busiest month, with six new short-term projects starting, including our long-running programme with Moulsecoomb Primary School, located on the edge of Brighton. This project is one of the closest to the Concordia office, which is great in terms of being able to visit them easily and a chance for me to put some faces to the names of many of the volunteers I’ve been in touch with over the last few months.
Moulsecoomb Project Coordinator, Josh Christy and myself met and welcomed the 8 volunteers on this project at Brighton station last week. They enjoyed their first weekend exploring Brighton before starting work at the school this week.
Project Spotlight – Madhurst
Mid-August sees the small town of Midhurst in the heart of the South Downs host a unique community festival bringing together creative, artistic and musical talent from the local community and beyond. This ten day series of events includes all genres of the arts and involves community groups, charities, societies, individuals and local businesses. The festival climaxes in a carnival procession and musical theatre spectacular.
NATIONAL CITIZEN SERVICE
10/10 would do it again
Wave 1 has begun and we’re very happy to announce we had 78 excitable (and nervous) young people arrive in Devon on Saturday after one very long coach trip! They’ve now embarked on their NCS journey; an incredible opportunity and unforgettable experience lies ahead of them! Now, I know what you’re thinking… ‘you would say that, you work for NCS!’, which is partly true. However, Concordia has been delivering NCS for four years now and every year we continue to be amazed at how incredible young people are! Each year, we see them transform as young adults, growing in confidence levels, communication skills and self-acceptance. We see young people conquer fears, and accomplish things they never thought possible and when you achieve what you thought was impossible, you start to believe in yourself and pursue your dreams. That’s why we LOVE NCS and want to shout it from the rooftops!
This week, our wave 1 NCSers will be facing fears and pushing themselves to the limit with a jam-packed programme of activities at PGL Barton Hall. They’ll be abseiling, rock climbing, zipping down zip-wires and building rafts, amongst lots of other exciting activities! Each of these challenges is designed to encourage one or more of the NCS ethos, the values that underpin the work we do. At the heart of NCS, we believe that young people have the ability to change the world, if given the tools and opportunities to do so. That’s why, throughout NCS, young people are encouraged out of their ‘comfort zone’ to see what it feels like to be in their ‘stretch zone’. This continues during week two, where young people have a taste of independent living at Brighton University. We can’t wait to see what transformations occur this year!
Don’t just take our word for it! NCS Graduate from Summer 2015, Andrew Shakespeare, recently featured in the Shoreham Herald (23rd June), recommending NCS to everyone “NCS gave me the best summer yet! From NCS I gained vital skills that school has not been able to provide- communication, teamwork and more importantly confidence. This is an experience I look back on quite often so I’d recommend young people take advantage of this opportunity.”