Friday September 9th, 2016
During the summer we’ve seen volunteers out in good and bad weather, making a real impact in their community and taking a leading role within the groups they are in. We’ve seen groups taking shape, going from strangers to best friends and seen the real impact volunteering can have, both in the volunteers themselves and the surroundings they’re in.
We’ve said it before and don’t mind saying it again – we can’t do what we do without the great engagement of our volunteers, coordinators, NCS leaders & assistants & MTV’s. Thank you!
Fiona, Suzi, Francesco, Hannah, Karen, Maxime & Victor
In our volunteers words…
Summer is almost over, and most of our volunteers are now coming back from their volunteer projects abroad, bringing back with them lots of memories, enthusiasm and friends from all over the world. Without saying more, I leave the floor to their words and comments, which are for us the best reward of our job!
“I 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, volunteer in France).
“I had the best time. And I would love to return to Iceland next year for more volunteering. It was really interesting meeting people from so many different countries and it was great to hear about their homes eg, Taiwan, Russia, Italy, France, Germany and Kazakhstan. The whole world in one little group of volunteers! It’s the chance of a lifetime” (Tina, volunteer in Iceland)
“I really enjoyed working with children and speaking to them in German, who were very forgiving of my mistakes and seemed to enjoy teaching me new words! Although my spoken German has definitely improved because of the project, I think the most valuable thing that I will take away from this experience is a greater confidence in myself because of the independence of travelling alone and meeting new people” (Jennifer, volunteer in Germany).
We also welcome back our groups of Girlguides and students who joined our group volunteering programme this year. Here are a couple of comments from them:
“It was a great opportunity to visit new places and try new things with your friends. It’s also a good way to improve confidence as you meet new people along the way”and “It was a unique, once in a lifetime experience and I loved every second. I’m glad I took the opportunity” (Girlguides volunteering in Italy)
“Life changing. Opened my eyes to what I can achieve and what I can help others achieve. Experienced the true Vietnamese culture, this hit home when we saw the tourist areas that were nothing like what we had seen. See a side of the country no-one else could experience without the Concordia set up” (Girlguide volunteers in Vietnam)
“Concordia has organised four fantastic trips for our students over the last few years, with destinations as diverse as India, Vietnam and Iceland. I continue to be impressed with the dedication and organisation of Concordia. They have a genuine commitment to ensuring that students have a unique volunteering experience and undertake meaningful work.
On all of the trips and projects that we have worked with Concordia, their support prior, and also during the trip, has been outstanding. The leaders that Concordia sends to accompany the group have been excellent, and any issues have been dealt with swiftly and professionally.”
– Michelle McGrath, Teacher Esher College
Summer successes 2016
As we approach the end of our short-term summer programme in the UK, it’s a good time to reflect on the successes and the statistics of summer 2016!
Since June we’ve welcomed 82 volunteers from 19 different countries onto 16 short and medium-term volunteer projects. The volunteers have been supported by 12 Concordia Coordinators hailing originally from as far afield as Venezuela, as well as Sweden, France, Wales and England.
The volunteers have contributed well over 6,700 hours of work to a wide range of projects, including working with disabled and disadvantaged children as well as environmental and conservation work. From the coast of Cornwall to the mountains of the Lake District, the volunteers have worked alongside communities stretching right across England.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to all the volunteers, coordinators, hosts and partners that make the projects possible. We couldn’t do it without you 🙂
One project that’s still taking place is our second visit of the summer to Manjushri KMC, an internationally renowned centre for meditation on the edge of the Lake District.
Coordinators Maxime and Amy are currently enjoying the work at this project along with 7 volunteers from Germany, Japan, France and Spain.
Maxime tells us “Coordinating this project is a great opportunity for us and the volunteers to learn more about Buddhism and other cultures, and is a chance to discover the Lake District. Work at Manjushri ranges from gardening, working in the café, art studio, publishing house and more.” Amy adds “Manjushri has given us all the chance to meet other people, walk on the beach, enjoy our free time and learn more about ourselves and human nature.”
If this sounds good to you and you’d like to join us as a Coordinator next year then read a bit more about the role and get in touch!
As summer comes to an end it’s a good time to remember that we don’t just run short-term summer projects. One of our long-term volunteer projects is Volcare, based in Kent.
Volunteers join Volcare for 12 months to provide a respite service to carers of people with disabilities or long-term health needs. The volunteers are introduced to the carers and their families, and visit over several weeks to get to know the daily care routine, and establish a relationship of friendship and trust. When the carers need a break the volunteers can then take over the carer’s role completely.
Irina Kamneva from Russia, joined the project in July, she told us, “I have 7 families now and I enjoy visiting them. I passed 3 training courses – First Aid, Medication, and, Moving and Handling. I’m so pleased about it! On my days off I’ve visited local sites including Canterbury Cathedral and Dover Castle.”
NATIONAL CITIZEN SERVICE
NCS teams made their mark
And… breathe! NCS summer season is over and wow what a summer it has been! There’s so much to tell, we’re very excited to be able to give you a snippet of some of the highlights from our groups across Worthing and Adur, making their mark in their local community.
In July, we told you a little about the impact that some of our young people had already been making and that was just the start. In August, our groups teamed up with lots of other organisations and charities to complete their social action projects. Just some of the partnerships formed were with Safe in Sussex, Shoreham Port and Young Minds UK. On NCS, young people are encouraged to seek out a project that is close to their hearts and the results speak for themselves.
One NCS team, ‘The Chargers’ had very personal reasons for supporting their chosen charity, Guildcare, because some members of the team had relatives who had suffered from the debilitating disease of dementia. Passionate about raising awareness, the team pitched their idea to a panel of judges (Dragon’s Den style), who could see their enthusiasm and determination shine throughout their presentation. In just 30 hours, The Chargers went on to create a fantastic piece of artwork in consultation with the community and Shoreham Port Authority (who funded the artwork). The piece is due to be displayed at Southwick railway station for one year, alongside two other fantastic pieces also created by NCS groups; so keep an eye out when you’re on the train.
Graduation is scheduled for 15th September this year, and we have almost 170 new NCS graduates to celebrate with! Each participant receives a signed certificate, as well as having the opportunity to share their story. Thank you to everyone who has made NCS summer 2016 so successful, we could not be doing it without you!
We’re looking for graduates to spread the NCS word in your school or college- and inspire other young people to sign-up. Are you passionate about your NCS experience? Did it have a positive impact on your life? Did you achieve things you never thought possible? If so, we’d love you to join us! You’ll be required to support us at assemblies (you don’t have to speak out, unless you want to of course!), workshops and other promotional events. We don’t need a huge amount of your time, but we do need your enthusiasm and love of NCS.
Looks great on your CV, acts as work experience and you’ll get to talk to new people about NCS- what’s not to like! Contact Hannah to become an NCS ambassador today.