Gap Year Parents Information

A successful and honest relationship between volunteer, parent and Project Trust is integral. It enables all parties to stay up to date on progress overseas or developments in the UK. It allows us to work together to help our volunteers have the most productive and valuable Gap Year possible.

Our Commitment

Project Trust has been in existence for nearly fifty years and we now have a considerable amount of knowledge about sending young people abroad. Our commitment is to offer volunteers an environment, advice and support to flourish in an overseas scenario. Our commitment to parents and guardians is to work with you to enable your son or daughter has the necessary support while participating in our programme.

Useful Information for Parents

Interhealth are our health advisors. We obtain all information on inoculations and health hazards from them, including the most up to date information on anti-malarial prophylactics.

We provide all our volunteers with a comprehensive useful guide to health overseas bought from Interhealth. This is given out on training courses, together with suggested lists of medicine and equipment needed for health purposes.

All overseas projects are assessed for risk by either staff members or our local Representatives. The current volunteers also check out hazards at their accommodation and workplace in preparation for the new group coming in. We provide guidelines about how to do this and what to do if there are problems or defects.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has a very comprehensive section on personal security and the latest update on country-specific hazards. We use their risk assessment to judge the suitability for countries to which we can send volunteers. We also follow the guidelines for Know Before You Go, their ongoing travel safety campaign.

Hazards overseas are something parents must expect their sons or daughters to face. Some hazards will be the same as in the UK and others are specific to the country. We try our best to ensure that our volunteers understand what these are and give advice on how to overcome them, but the volunteers cannot totally rely on us: they must use their commonsense and initiative to help them to spend their year overseas as safely as possible.

In an emergency please call the office on 01879 230444. Office hours are from 9-5 Monday to Friday. If you are calling outside of office hours, please listen to the answerphone message which will give you instructions of which number to call.
While volunteers are overseas we have a support system to ensure that we can deal with issues and any emergencies effectively.

  1. Overseas representatives: We have a Representative in every country where we have volunteers. The Representative is there to meet the volunteers as they arrive, ensure they get to their projects safely, keep in contact with them throughout the year and help them in the case of an emergency. Project Trust Desk Officers liaise regularly with representatives to ensure the smooth running of the programme in each country.
  2. Overseas hosts: Each “host” (the organisation which receives volunteers) agrees to provide the volunteers with secure accommodation and food throughout the year. They agree to abide by our “Host’s Charter” which outlines as one of their responsibilities, the expectation that they will look after the basic health and safety of volunteers.
  3. Desk Officers: Based back in the UK, it is the main job of the full-time Desk Officer to coordinate the programme in each country. They liaise regularly with volunteers and with each representative, and also with each host. Once a year the Desk Officer usually visits the projects and volunteers in each country to ensure that the programme is running smoothly and to discuss ways to develop and improve each project. All volunteers know that in the case of an emergency, they can contact Desk Officers at any time of the day or night.
The aim of this network is to match the parents of Current Volunteers to those of Returned Volunteers. This is to help answer questions about your son/daughter’s placement and hear about the experience from a parent’s perspective. This is in addition to the support our staff team can offer and is an extra layer of support for the parents of volunteers going overseas. If you would like to be put in touch with a parent of a returned volunteer, please email the office.
Project Trust organises regional parents meetings, usually in March prior to departure… These meetings run alongside regional fundraising meetings and are an opportunity for parents to meet Project Trust staff face to face to talk through any concerns they may have.

For more comprehensive Gap year Parents Information, please download the Parents’ Handbook or take a look at our FAQs Page

Parents’ Journies

Mark Goldring (Chief Executive for Oxfam), talks about value of volunteering overseas.  His son Rory volunteered with Project Trust in Nepal in 2014/15.

In 2012/13 Sam volunteered with Project Trust in Botswana. Here his mum, Sally, describes the journey she went through whilst her son was a volunteer.

“Thanks for giving Ellie such a wonderful experience last year. We had a chance to go and visit her project and some of the country at the end of her time in Namibia. Ellie planned the itinerary and showed us some of the places she had the chance to visit. As she prepares to go to university it struck me how well Project Trust prepared the volunteers. Ellie felt supported and secure when she went. Project Trust put in many layers of support: her partner Mel, a desk officer for her country in Coll, a host in the country she stayed in, project host and the other volunteers. She got stressed but the support structure held her. Thanks again for giving her such a rich and positive experience.”

Alice, Project Trust Volunteer in Kenya, 1980-81

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