Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Where to volunteer this winter break

It’s almost the season of giving, and what better way to spend it than volunteering while experiencing a new place? These affordable week-long volunteer holidays in and near the UK during winter break will wrap up your 2018 and ring in your 2019 with extra cheer. They all include food and accommodation, all you have to take care of is the application process and transportation arrangements. Spots fill up fast, so apply as soon as possible.  

 

Angloville

In 2011, two graduates with Polish roots from the University of Kent and the University of Nottingham founded this linguistic and cultural exchange programme between international native English speakers and local students, most of whom are successful professionals or ambitious youth.

“On one hand, we wanted to show Central and Eastern Europe to international travellers who wanted something richer than a traditional trip with a guide,” says David Ryan, NS Recruiter. “On the other hand, we wanted to introduce local language learners to real conversational English, something that is hard to learn in a classroom.”

Join a group of 10 to 20 volunteers and spend your days — each one packed with activities, discussions, individual and group sessions, and games — conversing in English with new friends; traditional teaching is not required. You’ll also have the opportunity to become TEFL certified to teach English abroad through the Anglo-TEFL programme.

Dates and locations:

From December 7–15, volunteer at The Manor House in Moscibrody, located approximately 1.5 hours from Warsaw. Built in the 19th century, the hotel’s simple design fits in with surrounding fields and ponds.

From December 9–14, volunteer at the modern Hotel Chojnik, situated approximately two hours from Wroclaw in Zachelmie village. Nestled into the Giant Mountains, you may want to arrange an extended visit to hit the slopes.

Round-trip transportation via bus is provided from Warsaw and Wroclaw. The day before the start of each programme, you can take advantage of a free tour of these beautiful Polish cities. Throughout the year, the programme also runs in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Malta, the UK and Ireland.

Time investment:

12 hours minimum each day.

Accommodation and food costs:

A €69 deposit upon successful acceptance of the application covers shared, full-board accommodation. €59 is refundable once you complete the programme.

How and when to apply:

Apply online at: www.angloville.com at least two weeks before the expected arrival date.

 

Ukrainian Humanitarian Initiative

This charity cares for the orphaned, abandoned and impoverished children of Ukraine. The founders, a journalist for The Voice of Ukraine and a geography high school teacher, established the Ukrainian Humanitarian Initiative in 1995.

“The children require a lot of care, attention and, most importantly, companionship,” says Alexander Michael, Volunteer Coordinator. “Volunteers play a hugely significant part in the lives of these vulnerable children by simply showing they care and giving them hope.”

Each orphanage has between 100 to 200 children from the ages of six to 16. You’ll work with a local staff member in a playgroup of 30 to 35, helping with the children’s education. Play games and sports, dance, sing songs, teach English and cooking, make crafts, and during December, take part in concerts and talent shows to celebrate the holidays.

Location:

Programmes run in central Ukraine — from Cherkasy to Kaniv and Dnipro — where the largest number of orphanages are and sometimes in Western Ukraine. Placement locations vary depending on availability.  

Dates:

Applications for December placements for flexible dates are open. A one-week minimum stay is required.

Time investment:

Four to seven hours each day.

Accommodation and food costs:

A fee of £170-190 per week (depending on the type of homestay) covers accommodation, food, orientation, and in-country support staff during your stay. Host families speak English and you can practice Ukrainian or Russian with them. Accommodations are located 10 to 15 minutes from the orphanages via public buses.

How and when to apply:

Send your application form to: Ukraine.volunteer@gmail.com at least one month before the expected arrival date.

 

Sunseed Desert Technology

At this non-formal community-led educational centre inaugurated in 1987, you can volunteer with 15 to 25 people, learning how to communicate, research, develop and demonstrate accessible methods to decrease our environmental impact and transition towards sustainability. The departments — organic gardens, sustainable living, drylands, eco-maintenance and communication — coordinate different activities.

“There is much to be learned from living as part of an international group of sustainability enthusiasts in an off-grid, low environmental impact way,” says Agnes Sobon, Communication Coordinator. “Volunteers take away the experience of how this can work as well as improving their skills.”

Activities can range from wild edible plants conservation to building water catchment structures and preparing natural cosmetics and probiotics. One-week stays follow a structured programme and require a minimum of four volunteers.

Location:

Sunseed is located on the Karst en Yesos de Sorbas nature reserve in the village of Los Molinos del Rio Aguas in Andalusia, Spain. Its approximately 50 residents live off-the-grid, using solar panels to generate electricity and water for daily use from a nearby water source. During your spare time, don’t miss the hiking trails located in the valley.

Time investment:

Six hours each day.

Accommodation and food costs:

€150 per week covers basic dorm-style accommodation and food. Bring a sleeping bag — bedding is provided, but it can get chilly during this time of year.  

Dates:

Volunteer during the weeks of December 2–9 and December 9–16. The organisation hosts longer internships throughout the year.

How and when to apply:

Send your application form to: admin.coordinator@sunseed.org.uk at least two weeks before the expected arrival date.

 

Revitalise

Around for over 50 years, Revitalise is a national charity that provides holiday-style short breaks with care for disabled people and carers.

We firmly believe that disabled people should have the same rights, freedoms, responsibilities and quality of life as those without disabilities,” says Yvonne Meehan, Volunteers Administrator.

As a residential volunteer, you’ll take on a social role, offering companionship and conversation, assisting at meal times, and helping organise activities, entertainment and excursions. With a group of between 29 to 40 volunteers, meeting new people is one of the programme’s many benefits. Most importantly, you’ll enrich the guests’ holiday experiences, learning valuable skills. During December, you can enjoy the festive season with guests throughout themed breaks like “Winter in Hampshire” and “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.”

Locations:

The charity has three centres in England: Jubilee Lodge, located near Epping Forest in the town of Chigwell, Sandpipers, situated close to Marine Lake in Southport, and Netley Waterside House in Southampton, which overlooks the estuary.

Time investment:

Approximately 13 hours each day.

Dates:

The programme runs for seven nights from Saturday to Saturday. Applications for December and 2019 placements are open.

Accommodation and food costs:

Shared accommodation and three meals a day are FREE —you can even get reimbursed for travel expenses within the UK up to the value of £50.

How and when to apply:

Apply online at: www.revitalise.org.uk at least one month in advance volunteers must complete a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check.

 

Animal Rescue Algarve

A new association that opened this year, Animal Rescue Algarve is setting a new standard for shelters in Portugal. Its first one holds around 50 dogs but is under construction to double its capacity, plus bring in over 30 cats.

“With over 10,000 abandoned animals in the Algarve region alone, Portugal has a big problem,” says Chloe Rainbow, Shelter Manager. We aim to help with this, not only through taking in abandoned animals but also to educate the local communities about animal welfare and to be involved in sterilisation campaigns.”  

While volunteering, you can give the dogs the best life possible: socialise with them, clean their kennels, and walk them to the park, beach or into town for a cup of coffee.

We want the dogs to meet many people and to see and experience new situations outside of the shelter environment,” Rainbow says.

Location:

Situated on the hills above the town of Loule in the Algarve region, the shelter is a 20-minute drive to the beach and a 15-minute walk to Loule’s cobblestone streets lined with quaint cafes and restaurants.

Dates:

Applications for December and January placements for flexible dates are open. A one-week minimum stay is required.

Time investment:

Six hours maximum each day.

Accommodation and food costs:

Accommodation and food are FREE (feel free to bring dog toys for your new furry friends as a thank you). Up to 13 volunteers stay in either a wooden house or one of two mobile homes. ARA staff take care of the groceries and can tailor the menu to your dietary requirements (you can cook on your own or as a group).

How and when to apply:

Send an email to: info@animalrescuealgarve.com asap (December spots are almost full) to receive an application form and an information package.

Related Posts

Comments

Comments are closed here.