For over a decade UNA Exchange has delivered a supported volunteering programme: begun as ‘Step by Step’ in 2008 and developing into ’10 Steps to Volunteering’ in 2016 and now simply ‘Supported Volunteering’. Committed to ensuring that local and international volunteering is made accessible to more young people in Wales, our aim throughout, and continues to be, to support young people with fewer opportunities to participate in life-changing international exchanges. Access to funding from Welsh Government through a Volunteering Wales grant and the European Commission’s Erasmus+ scheme enables us to remove the financial barriers to participation that exist for many young people, and to provide extra support in preparation and follow up. This means we are able to cover all travel, accommodation, food and insurance costs and subsidise the administration fee we normally charge.
Who is Supported Volunteering for?
This programme is for young people aged 16-25 who have fewer opportunities to participate in international volunteering. This may be due to financial and/or social challenges, e.g. young people who are NEET, have disabilities and/or health issues, or are socially or culturally isolated.
You need to be involved with a local youth or community organisation, either as a volunteer, a trainee or participant. Your local organisation plays an important role in supporting you and we need their involvement from the beginning.
What are the benefits?
- Open the door to new opportunities.
- Change your perspective on the world.
- Develop skills that employers want like independence, teamwork, leadership, intercultural understanding.
- Make new friends from all over the world.
- Make a contribution to the host community.
- Have an amazing time.
Local Youth Partnerships
The UNA Exchange Supported Volunteering programme is structured in a way that provides maximum support for participants, to ensure they are safe and will get the most from their experiences. We work through a network of local youth partners, usually youth/community organisations, because we believe:
- local workers have existing relationships with young people so are best placed to recommend participants into the programme;
- this helps to ensure young people are ready for the challenge, and ready to get the most from it;
- there will be a local layer of support for participants, especially important in the preparation and follow-up phases;
- it provides a valuable support to the communication and relationship building between UNA Exchange and new young people.
We are always looking out for new local youth partners to help ensure the programme is accessible to as many young people as possible, and especially in North Wales.
Want to get involved?
You can find out more about what’s on offer this summer by downloadling our 2018 programme booklet.
Get in touch with Leila Usmani, our Programme Officer running Supported Volunteering.
Telephone: 029 2022 3088
Read about the experiences of previous participants: visit our blog.