Go Ape

Project Trust has been working in partnership with Teach First for the past five years to host teachers on their summer project. Project Trust is excited about the ongoing partnership with Teach First, contributing towards our mission of ensuring our volunteering experience is open to and supportive of all young people with the desire, motivation and aptitudes required to succeed.

This year we were joined by Lucy Mason, Head of Geography at Our Lady and St Bede Catholic Academy. Lucy’s focus of her research on how we can develop our relationships with schools in the North East of England.

Project Trust is a fantastic charity and Debriefing provided me with an opportunity to hear about the amazing experiences the young people have had on their time abroad, the impacts they have had on communities and the impacts communities have had on them.

Throughout my time on Coll I was able to attend two Debriefing courses and the Isle of Coll provides the perfect location for the young people to reflect on the past year and return to where it all began. I was fortunate enough to give a toast at a Debriefing ceilidh and I provided an overview what I had learnt about Project Trust and the impact it has had on the young people who have returned:

P- Perseverance (As individuals you have made it through some tough times, kept going and now have some amazing stories to tell and advice to give)

R- Resilience (Through those hard times and the day to day struggles you have shown resilience and supported each other)

O- Outstanding (Each and everyone of you is outstanding)

J-  Justice (From the work you have done on international days to working individually with local people, you understand the importance of behaviour and the way you treat others)

E- Equality (Your Project Trust journey has focused on equality. From the way you have treated others, to the work you have done in your communities, working towards equality has been at the forefront of all you have done)

C- Community (You are now part of so many communities, your project community, local community the Project Trust community and the global community- you are a global citizen)

T- Team work (Without your fellow volunteers to get you through the highs and the lows your experience would not have been what it was- team work has been at the heart of your Project Trust journey- never forget that)

T- Together (None of this would have been possible without the Project Trust Team, the host families on Coll, those that have sponsored you, your host countries and many other people- never forget that and say thank you)

R- Reality (You will have been struck by reality, whether that be culture shock in your host country or culture shock coming home, that is the reality of the experience you have had)

U- Unique (Project Trust is a unique experience, each of you has had a unique experience, savour that)

S- Service (You have given up your time, volunteered for others and offered them your skills)

T- Thank you (Thank you for all you have done for communities and people around the world)

Go Ape

Throughout my time with Project Trust over the summer I have focused on widening the diversity of participants from low socio-economic backgrounds, specifically in the North East of England. This comes at an exciting time as Project Trust develop their Diversity Strategy in which socio-economic context is a major factor.

My focus has been looking at how Teach First and Project Trust can work collaboratively to increase the diversity of Project Trust volunteers. It was really beneficial to spend a day in the Glasgow office before going to Coll to get a full understanding of the charity and the impact it has on young people. The three proposal ideas focusing on Global Citizenship, Fundraising and Mentoring and I am really excited to take these proposals back to the North East and develop the collaboration further using Teach First Action Networks.

Project Trust have a brilliant team who make the whole process personal to every volunteer. I have admiration for the time and commitment they give to make each young persons experience unique, safe and unforgettable.

In my presentation at the end of my time in Coll I focused on the positive impact I believe it would have on young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. As the new school term approaches, the links I have made with Project Trust will be at the forefront of my teaching and lessons with the hope of inspiring at least one young person from my school to apply and many more in my local area.

I want to thank the Project Trust Team and Return Volunteers for welcoming me into the Project Trust community. My time on Coll has been much more than just an internship and spending a week exploring the beauty of Coll with like-minded individuals has been educational, powerful and inspirational.