Friday April 8th, 2016
We are officially live!
April is, and always has been, the month of activity. As the days are getting longer (and a little bit warmer!), we are working hard to ensure that volunteers, from the UK as well as overseas, are finding a volunteer project for this summer. I hope that it’s OK to use the words of NCS (make sure to read about their first #MeetUp late last month further down!), and state that we are in for a summer of a lifetime. Enjoy our April Newsletter!
Fiona, Aisha, Francesco, Hannah, Karen, Maxime, Suzi & Victor
Season starts, Volunteer abroad
March has been an intense month for our international team! Our international coordinator, Francesco, returned from the international meeting in Estonia. He brought back the new volunteer projects for the summer and it took a couple weeks of intense data inputting to get all of them online. We need to thank the incredible help of our amazing volunteers, who uploaded projects from home, but most of all we need to thank Maxime, our Medium Term Office Volunteer from France, who worked so hard and put most of the programme in. Thank you Maxime, you are a star!
So, now there are over 1500 projects online and if you are thinking of volunteering this summer, now is the best time to apply, as there is a bit of a gold rush in the initial few weeks to get the best projects.
On another note, we just refreshed our website: we made it easier to navigate, added more pictures from our volunteers on the main pages (we like pictures on websites!) and, most importantly we caught up with technology and made it compatible with mobile devices. We hope this will help all users to find information more easily and if you have any feedback about it, please let us know!
Currently, Francesco is away (again!) in Italy, to visit the hosts of a couple of projects for two of our groups this summer. The projects are based just 50 minutes away from Rome, up in the mountains. He contacted us to let us know that the projects are looking very exciting and he is looking forward to coming back to the UK and getting in touch with the groups for a final briefing, with detailed information about the work and activities. This group programme is going to be a great one and we are looking forward to it starting this summer!
“My overall experience was simply amazing. First of all, I was able to experience a completely different culture, taste different food and see different customs.Even though it was hard work at the end we felt satisfied because we were able to achieve something for the community. Finally, the most important thing that I gained from this project is new friends. I personally felt that all the volunteers had a good relationship and we had a lot of fun during the project and even after the project finished we met in different cities of Korea, and even when we left from Korea we had the chance to meet each other in different countries”.
– Lydia, Volunteer in Korea, 2015
Looking forward, Reflecting back
The UK team has also been a hive of activity during March. Firstly we’re happy to welcome new UK Volunteer Co-ordinator, Suzi Lamb to the team. Suzi is taking over from Aisha, while Aisha’s off to have a baby and enjoy her maternity leave. Of course we all wish Aisha well for this exciting time and we can’t wait to meet the new addition to the Concordia family!
Suzi and Maxime, our Medium Term Office Volunteer from France, both had the chance to get stuck in quickly to Concordia life by attending the UK Co-ordinator training that we ran in early March. The majority of projects that we run in the UK in the summer require a dedicated co-ordinator, who bridges the gap between the Concordia volunteers on the project and the partner organisations. This year we trained 12 enthusiastic potential co-ordinators from all over the UK.
The Co-ordinator training took place over a full and very active weekend and included a wide range of subjects. Fun and physical ice breaker sessions meant everyone got to know each other quickly and guarantees that all the participants have a range of ideas and games they can use with a volunteer group. Some exceptional skills were demonstrated in building a very tall tower out of paper while handcuffed to a fellow participant and in chasing ducks around the Concordia carpark while blindfolded!
Of course we also covered vital topics like leadership skills, conflict resolution, health & safety, budgeting for a group, cultural stereotypes and much more. The group also enjoyed cooking together on the Saturday night.
Finally, we ended March by launching our UK short-term summer programme. We’re now busy accepting applications from all over the world, including Spain, Finland, Turkey, Slovakia and even as far afield as Korea and Mexico!
‘The Coordinator training was informative, thorough and fun. I loved the leadership session. It built on and better articulated thoughts I already had – seeing the pros and cons of leadership skills was really helpful. At the end of the weekend I felt confident I could lead a project and deal with any problems that arose. I have learned more about myself and how to have more confidence in terms of how to run a group and new skills. It was a great training course with enthusiastic and committed trainers giving us all the tools we need to make the projects a success.’
Or to sum it up:
‘The whole weekend was awesome, thank you!’
Picking up, Building up!
Well we have been busy at NCS Concordia !!!
We had our first Meet Up a couple of weeks back and it was a fantastic turn out with activities and people creating a real buzz in the heart of Worthing! Numbers are building up by the day and when we are not signing young people up, we are engaging those that are and preparing everyone for the next #Meet Up!
During the Easter Break we have been spreading the message as far and wide as we can in the Worthing & Adur area and getting really excited about the fantastic timetable coming together, booking in inspirational workshops that we have planned for the second phase of our programme.
The other top event that happened was NCS Live hosted at Camden Roundhouse. Only a few people were lucky enough to catch the awesome Tinie Tempah and other artists such as Craig David! Photos are up on our Grad Hub. It was a crazy and fun day and night and our amazing chaperones and young graduates did an amazing job at making the most of it all!!
So we have also been coordinating some action days for the young people which is all coming together nicely and remember if you know of any project, opportunity or anything else accessible for our NCS young people to get involved in please get in touch! Email Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you know of anyone 15-17 years old who would like to take part in NCS this summer, there are many ways they can get involved. Check out www.ncsyes.co.uk, call us 01233 600138 or email Hannah@concordiavolunteers.org.uk. NCS is only available to young people under the age of 18 (unless they have a disability or an additional need, in which case we work with up to 25 years) so they need to take advantage of this opportunity NOW, before it’s too late.
Places are going fast, and we don’t want anyone to miss out!
Speaking of the Roundhouse in Camden, they are offering all sorts of opportunities for graduates to join their collectives so take a look at NCS Live News. And for our NCS graduates out there, we’re offering you an incredible opportunity to get involved with our next #MeetUp and we would like to involve you as much as possible so you can get a taste of what it is like to assist the leaders. Please email Hannah if you want to take part.
In case you hadn’t seen this before on our website of Grad Hub ……. We’re offering an exclusive offer to NCS graduates only: £40 DISCOUNT on our International volunteer projects. We have short term and long term projects available, there is something to suit everyone. Take advantage of this amazing opportunity, and click here for more info about the current projects we offering, or email us directly for further information.