Friday February 5th, 2016
How fast January has flown by! It’s the beginning of February now and at the end of this month we will go to Estonia for our annual meeting with all our international partners from the Alliance of European Voluntary Services or the Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service (CCIVS). This meeting is probably one of the largest of its kind, with usually about 120-150 representatives from 70-80 volunteer organisations involved. And the great thing is that each time we go, we come back incredibly inspired and refreshed by the energy, commitment and vision of our colleagues and friends overseas. We feel really lucky to be in such a fantastic network of people.
With them will talk about the new volunteer programmes for 2016 and prepare for the new summer season, and once back in the UK in mid-March we will publish more than 1500 new volunteer opportunities! So, watch this space and get ready to book your place!
On another note, how exciting and rewarding is meeting our volunteers in person! A couple of weeks ago, we spent a snowy day in Tamworth training one of the Girl Guiding groups who will volunteer in Italy this summer. It’s been great to see their enthusiasm and commitment to the experience and it’s also been good to meet the Girlguiding leaders who will support the young girls (all aged between 13-17) and answer all the questions from the parents. In April we will go to Rome and meet the host of the project to finalise the details of the project. Actually, if you want to know more about how the Group Volunteering programme works, read here the new information pack which is hot off the press.
Finally, Francesco, our International Programme Coordinator, celebrates this month his 10 years with Concordia! This is amazing if you think that, originally from Italy, he started as a summer volunteer and was supposed to stay only a few months in the UK. Have you thought in which new, unexpected directions could your volunteering abroad take your life?
“This was my third volunteer project through Concordia, and I loved it just as much (if not more) than the others I have been on. I LOVE meeting like-minded people from all over the world, trying new work, and more than anything experiencing a real escape from my day-to-day life. After all, who couldn’t benefit from a bit more adventure! I will continue to spend my summers at work camps for the foreseeable future and will continue to book through Concordia and to tell as many people as I can about my great experiences”
– Lorelei, volunteer in France, 2015
One of the rewarding parts of getting involved in Concordia is that when you join us as a UK Coordinator, you become part of the family – think ‘The Godfather’ style family – we are not connected in blood but by our shared interests, passion for learning and love of travel. Many volunteers who started by travelling abroad on an international project have gone on to Coordinate a UK project in the summer. With all the skills that this brings we then like to offer you additional training to Coordinate a group overseas and extend your experience and adventure to new horizons. Saying that, we also have volunteers who enjoy Coordinating a UK project year on year developing new skills and consolidating what you know but on different projects. If you want to join the family then Coordinate this year . We have only 4 places left on our annual training on 11th – 13th March so… we have managed to extend our application deadline until 23rd February.
One of the benefits of staying with one organisation is that you get to input ideas and add into the way we do things. It may even be that you know of a project locally in the UK that you think might work as a Concordia project. You can be instrumental in bringing together ideas and connecting with Aisha as the UK Volunteer Programme Coordinator to make that project happen. It is a special moment at the start of the two weeks when all the international volunteers arrive and bring all their big personalities and ideas to make the project such a success. Helping to shape and support a project come to fruition is a unique opportunity and a great thing to be able to say that you have done to future employers. Always good to use buzz words like ‘community engagement’ to illustrate and site examples of your enthusiasm for making good things happen locally. If you have a project in mind, we might like to build it into our programme for next year by starting those all-important planning discussions now.
Like hot cakes, our places on the Coordinator training are going fast with only four places left so contact us this week or next but definitely before 23rd February and we can bring you into the family. We will be staying at a vibrant youth hostel in Brighton for a packed evening of activities and then running the day sessions in the Concordia offices. As we mentioned in our article, we will be welcoming experienced trainers who started off with us as volunteers and have gone on to coordinate here and abroad. Without their ‘on the ground knowledge’ and motivation we couldn’t deliver such excellent and fun days of learning.
We feel that this is what happens at this time of year for us the hard work we are putting in we get back later with some really confident and engaged young people!!!
We have been busy, busy, busy this month contacting schools, venues and other local partners and getting our transport and accommodation booked up ready for NCS Summer 2016!!! Some more exciting news to bring you is that we have two new team members on board the NCS team! Welcome to Jeff & Martin who are helping with school visits, delivering assemblies with Hannah and inspiring young people to sign-up! J So we’re now ready and excited for the next few months and welcoming in all our new NCSers!!
Other news is that we have had a fantastic opportunity offer for the chance to be a media spokesperson if you are an NCS graduate! This is a unique chance to share your views and experiences on the radio and/or TV and it will look great on our CV.
Specifically we are looking for NCS graduates who are willing to talk about their NCS experience and how it made them feel more confident with new people and to any of those who learned how to conduct themselves in a wider variety of social situations. We are also looking for parents and carers that noticed a huge positive change in their young person after NCS and brought them into new friendship circles that they didn’t have before. Please email Karen as soon as possible at with the following;
- Current address:
- When did you take part in NCS?:
- What are you doing now? E.g. work, university:
- Previous media experience (not required):
- A short summary of how you feel NCS has evolved your skill of socialising with people from different backgrounds:
- A short summary of your experience on the NCS programme:
- Are your parents/carers interested in taking part?:
Feedback from parent of NCS Graduate 2015
Dear Concordia NCS Team,
Would you please pass on my thanks to your team who looked after my son so well.
It was so incredibly refreshing, exciting and insightful to see the success of what last night (graduation) meant to so many. I cannot thank you enough for the slice of success, pride and self worth this gave my son.
– Parent, Summer 2015