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Frequently Asked Questions for Groups

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  1. What sort of experience should we expect from a Group Volunteering project with Concordia?
  2. What are the requirements for a group to join the Group Volunteering Programme?
  3. When is the best time to approach Concordia if I’m interested in sending a group overseas??
  4. How long does it take to receive detailed information about the project for my group?
  5. The fees for Group Volunteering are higher than our other programmes, why?
  6. If a group of volunteers under 18 years old already has adults going with them who are responsible for the young people, why does Concordia send their leader to accompany them?
  7. Are the Concordia Leaders members of staff or volunteers? If volunteers, do they pay the same fee as the group to go on the project?
  8. How does Concordia select their leaders for the projects?
  9. As contact person for the group and adults going on the project with them, what role do I have in the run up to the start of the project?
  10. What sort of support does Concordia provide before, during and after the project?
  11. How do we know that a project is safe for the group?
  12. Do you have any testimonials about the previous groups and their experience?

What sort of experience should we expect from a Group Volunteering project with Concordia?

Concordia is part of a network that prides itself on intercultural exchange through volunteering. Your contribution is not only made by the actual work you do, but also by just you being there. In many of our projects, the local host and communities don’t have the chance to meet people from abroad. The fact that a group of international volunteers decides to spend their time supporting a local cause helps the local organisations that are promoting these activities tremendously. You can expect to be taking part in lots of intercultural activities with local young people, visiting the local area and learning about the local culture. Finally, Concordia is happy to organise trips to nearby major cities or attractions during your free time.

What are the requirements for a group to join the Group Volunteering Programme?

We take groups aged 14 years upwards. With the group there should be at least 2 adults that will act as leaders accompanying the young people. We expect the leaders, or the organisation that is behind them, to select the participants according to their criteria and to make sure that the volunteers are motivated and ready for the trip overseas.

When is the best time to approach Concordia if I’m interested in sending a group overseas?

We normally ask groups to allow a 12 month build up period, so that we can contact our international partners and select the best destinations/projects for
you. Depending on the brief you give us, it usually takes time to identify the best project for each group. Please note that due to the way our overseas partners work we cannot always confirm your precise project details until a few months before the project starts. These projects are not off-the-shelf projects, but tailored to the needs, composition and interests of the group as well as trying to meet a real need in the local community..

How long does it take to receive detailed information about the project for my group?

If you are going on a project in the summer, normally by the September of the year before we would send you a project proposal with an outline of the project, which includes the country, information on the international partner organisation hosting the project, location of the project, approximate dates, general background information about why a project is being proposed there, outline of work and intercultural activities, accommodation, leisure activities, budget/costs per volunteer.
Final details of the project usually are given 2-3 months before the actual start of the project, after Concordia has visited and risk assessed the project. Generally our partner organisations overseas don’t define the final details of their project 2-3 months before the actual project starts. This may be because the project is hosted by local municipalities who have long bureaucratic procedures to give their permission to carry out specific tasks (for example, renovation of local heritage, etc.). Alternatively, it may be supporting local charities/institutions whose projects are not ongoing, but are specifically planned each year for each group. Therefore the work is finalised only a few months before the summer season starts. There are several elements of the project that can’t be defined until closer to the project start: local transport timetables, recruitment of local volunteers, dates of local events to be confirmed and organised meeting with local youth groups, to name a few. Finally, there is a cultural element to this as well. Many of our partners simply are not used to finalising their work in advance as would be normal in the UK. Nonetheless, the volunteers’ contribution would always fit within the mission of the host organisations and ethos, and within the outline of the project provided earlier in the year.

The fees for Group Volunteering are higher than our other programmes, why?

IThe fee charged for group volunteering projects not only includes a registration fee, but also includes the costs for travel (international and
local), food and accommodation during the project, leisure activities, intercultural activities, recruitment and training of Concordia leaders, risk assessment of the project by Concordia, training sessions for the group leaders and participants, visas and admin costs of both Concordia and our partner organisation. Also, Concordia has a 24 hour emergency contact available while the project is running.

If a group of volunteers under 18 years old already has adults going with them who are responsible for the young people, why does Concordia send their leader to accompany them?

The Concordia leader and the group’s adults/leaders accompanying the group (group leaders) have different roles: the Concordia leader is there to make sure that all logistics of projects are running smoothly, liaise with Concordia, the local host and local leaders and act in case of emergency following Concordia emergency procedures. The adults/leaders accompanying the group provide pastoral care and personal support to the young people, supervise them closely during their project, make sure that the group respects rules and regulations and don’t put themselves or others at risk. However, we do ask for the group leaders to work in partnership with the Concordia leaders to ensure the trip is a success.

Are the Concordia Leaders members of staff or volunteers? If volunteers, do they pay the same fee as the group to go on the project?

Concordia leaders are volunteers with experience in leading groups of young people in residential projects. Their food, travel and accommodation costs are covered by the fees paid by the group as part of Concordia’s costs.

How does Concordia select their leaders for the projects?

Our leaders are selected mostly among our pool of experienced leaders of UK international projects who’ve been supporting our organisation for several years. We also recruit volunteers who have a proven track record of successfully leading residential projects for young people, preferably overseas. We organise a training/selection weekend for all our leaders where we assess their skills and potential and make sure that they are the best leaders for each group. Each group leader will be subjected to a DBS check.

As contact person for the group and adults going on the
project with them, what role do I have in the run up to the start
of the project?

Your role will be selecting your group participants, giving us the brief of what project/experience you are looking for, working with Concordia to fine tune the project details as the preparation goes along, passing on the information provided by Concordia to the volunteers, meeting Concordia for a briefing/ training, organising training for the group in cooperation with Concordia and according to the needs of the group, providing Concordia with all the information needed about the group (consent forms, visa documents, passports), liaising with Concordia at the end of the project for a final evaluation.

What sort of support does Concordia provide before,
during and after the project?

Concordia is available for you on the phone and email throughout the whole preparation for the project. We will also discuss with you your training needs and arrange training sessions for you and your group. We will help you with sorting out your flights, visas and we will provide you with a Concordia Leader to support you during the project, as well as a 24hr emergency number while you are overseas.

How do we know that a project is safe for the group?

A representative from Concordia will visit the projects to carry out a full risk assessment of the accommodation, work, transport and leisure activities. We also liaise with our overseas partner to get up to date information about the projects. Concordia also check with FCO advice on the country.

Do you have any testimonials about the previous groups
and their experience?

Yes, and here is what Girlguiding CYMRU says about their experience with Concordia:

“Working with Concordia and their international partners on projects overseas, has given our girls the opportunity to ‘discover and grow’ by helping make a difference to communities around the world whilst gaining valuable life skills and promoting cross cultural learning. Girlguiding’s values empower girls through fun, friendship, challenge and adventure to find their voice, inspiring them to discover the best in themselves and make a positive difference in their community and working with Concordia has certainly provided the help and support to accomplish these values and I would without doubt warmly recommend working with them to accomplish your goals!!”

 

 

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