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Friday December 16th, 2016

NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 2016

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It is the most wonderful time of the year… or at least it’s the time where we stop to reflect and consider how brilliant 2016 has been for us all here at Concordia. It’s also the moment where we get a short chance to breathe and pause before the planning for 2017 kicks off fully in January. 2017 is full of new opportunities for you too, join us as a leader on NCS, volunteer abroad or co-ordinate on our UK programme. 2017 – we are ready for you!

 Fiona , Francesco, Jess, Karen, Suzi & Victor

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OVERSEAS VOLUNTEERING

Thank you, we have a winner!

2016 is almost gone and a few “thank yous” are in order! First of all, thank you to all the volunteers who sent their reports about their experiences this year with Concordia: we loved to read how much each of them learned and experienced during their time abroad. We will also take on all your ideas and make sure that next year will be an even more successful one!

A big thank you goes also to all volunteers who sent us their pictures for our Photo Competition! We published the finalists’ entries on Facebook last week and left it to a public vote to decide who would get the prize. So, drum roll…first place goes to Barney with the picture above: he led one of our projects in the UK and sent us a group photo of his international team. He wins a choice between a free registration with Concordia in 2017, worth £225, or a voucher for £50.  Second place…

… goes to Annika, who volunteered in Romania through the EVS programme, and third place to Jack, who volunteered on a short term project in Germany early in 2016. They both win a discount to register next year with Concordia (40% and 20% respectively).

We would also like to thank all the volunteers that helped us this year in uploading our programmes online, who led our Group Volunteering projects overseas and trained our volunteers going overseas. Thank you so much! Concordia relies on enthusiastic returned volunteers like you to run our programmes and it’s great to have such a nice community supporting us.

Finally, a little teaser for you: we are now very busy planning for next year and we are currently working on creating a new improved database search for our projects online. We are very excited about these changes and will keep you updated in the coming issues of our newsletter.

“This was a life changing, eye opening experience” (Kirby, Estonia 2016)

“Had a great time meeting new people and sharing some fun experiences. A perfect way to mingle with people from other cultures. Would recommend to anyone” (Nora, France 2016)

“I had the best time. And would love to return to Iceland next year for more volunteering. People were so friendly and the landscape is amazing” (Tina, Iceland 2016)

“My experience volunteering in a small village in the mountains in India was truly unforgettable” (Alix, India 2016)

 

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UK VOLUNTEERING

2016 – a busy and successful year

“Many thanks” is also a phrase frequently used by the UK programme team at this time of the year, as we’re in touch with our brilliant project hosts and amazing volunteer group co-ordinators. As Christmas fast approaches our thoughts are rapidly turning to 2017 and we’re already busy starting to confirm projects for next summer. If you’re interested in hosting an international group of volunteers and have some work a group of about 5 – 12 volunteers could help you with, do get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.

As one of our host partners explained, “volunteers are a great asset to our charity. They are able to give their attention to the children that need it most, and are of a great support to our permanent staff. The children get to meet people of different cultures are given new horizons and ideas.”

Find out about hosting a project in 2017 here.

The end of another year is also the time to reflect upon and celebrate the achievements of the past 12 months. 2016 has been a busy and successful year for the UK programme.

  • We ran 19 projects over the year, with 16 of them running at some point over the summer period.
  • We welcomed over 100 volunteers onto our UK projects, from an incredible 19 different countries. This meant that we had a brilliantly diverse mix of people from different cultures and nationalities on our 2016 projects.
  • We received the most volunteers from Italy, Spain, France and Germany, however, we also welcomed volunteers from as far afield as Taiwan, Kenya, Japan and Russia.
  • We had the support of 12 amazing volunteer group co-ordinators who managed the budget, planned meals and arranged weekend activities from barbecues on the beach to hilly hikes in the rain!

If you’ve previously volunteered and would like to gain some new skills and experience, you could consider joining one of the UK projects as a Volunteer Group Co-ordinator. Most of our UK projects need one or two experienced volunteers to help the project run smoothly as well as representing Concordia. You’ll act as a link between the international volunteers, Concordia and the hosting organisation. You’ll still be joining in with the regular volunteer work, as well as arranging activities for the weekends and free time. Co-ordinators are also responsible for the budget (for social activities and food).

Our next Co-ordinator training weekend is on the 11/12th March 2017, and we’re recruiting now!

Read more about the Co-ordinator role and how to apply here.

 

NATIONAL CITIZEN SERVICE

NCS –  what a year!

It’s been a busy 2016 on NCS. We have had over 200 graduates, who completed over 5500 hours of volunteering and raised over £3200 for local charities. It’s been a pleasure to work with such motivated and dedicated people. NCS graduates have made a difference to some great charities such as RNLI, The Dogs Trust, Guild Care, Shoreham Mental Health Association, Chestnut Tree House, Marine Conservation Society, PDSA, The Springboard Charity, Safe in Sussex, Young Minds, Anthony Nolan Trust, just to mention a few.

What an amazing achievement, thank you to all of you who took part.

 When asked what did you enjoy most? This is what some of the answers were:

 Living independently with my friends

  • Making new friends!
  • Organising an event in my community, meeting new people
  • Meeting new people, gaining some amazing frineds. Trying new things and doing new things I never thought I could do.

So, what is planned for 2017?

Well we have already started to plan for another great year for NCS. We have just started recruiting for staff 2017. If you are an NCS graduate and over 18 you could apply to be a Team Assistant or if you have residential experience and have worked with young people you could become a Team Leader.  Our seasonal staff are at the heart of NCS and we’re proud of the many people who motivate, lead and inspire young people on their NCS journey. It’s a great opportunity to learn new skills, have a great summer and get paid. If you would like to find out more and apply for a job please visit our leader page here  or email Fiona@concordiavolunteers.org.uk for an application pack.

In other news, Karen, our amazing NCS Delivery Co-ordinator, is sadly leaving the NCS team to take on new adventures. Karen has been with the team since 2015 and has been at the heart of planning and preparing for our great NCS programmes.

She is pursuing her dream of setting up her own business. We wish Karen all the best and the Concordia team will really miss her, especially her bubbly and uplifting spirit.

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If you are an NCS graduate you are just at the beginning of your graduate journey. There are lots of opportunities to volunteer in your local community, become an NCS Ambassador and even take part on an NCS overseas volunteering programme, just check out our volunteering hub on Facebook.

Just one last thing, if you know of anyone who is going to be 16 – 17 this summer make sure that you tell them about NCS. They can find out more at www.ncsyes.co.uk

Have a great Christmas holiday and thanks again for all your support.

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