Leading Group Projects

How long: Mostly two weeks
When: Summer July-October; Winter January-April
Destinations: Across Wales
Activities: Social, Environmental, Youth Work, Arts/Cultural
Who can apply: Anyone 18+
Cost: None

Each International Volunteer Project (IVP) in Wales requires a leader/co-ordinator to be responsible for the group and act as the main point of contact for UNA Exchange, the volunteers and the local host organisation.

Leading an IVP is a big challenge for which you need lots of energy and enthusiasm! You are responsible for building a strong team, supporting intercultural exchange, ensuring the domestic arrangements are running smoothly, helping the group to make good use of its free time, making contacts between the volunteers and local people and dealing with any problems that might arise. At the same time as testing your skills, leading is an incredibly good opportunity for you to develop your skills and confidence and to take a big step forward in your volunteering career.

To support volunteers to become good leaders, UNA Exchange runs a four-day Leaders Training course over the Easter Weekend each year. The course takes place at the Amelia Trust Farm, an educational project outside Cardiff which has hosted many UNA Exchange volunteers, and is packed full of important, stimulating, useful and fun content from the moment you wake up until you fall into bed at the end of each day! The course aims to look at the range of skills you need to manage a group for two weeks, to support you to find those skills in yourself and to build up your confidence.

The Leaders Training course runs from the Thursday evening until the afternoon of Easter Monday and costs £30, which covers all food and accommodation. For more information on leading IVPs or the Leaders Training, contact Vicky, Wales Programme Co-ordinator.


Case Study - being a leader

"Think you could lead a volunteer project in Wales? Come along to UNA Exchange's Leaders Training!”, the letter said. I thought “yeah right, me, lead a project? Don't be silly! I'm not the right sort of person for that!” I decided to go along anyway, just to see what it was like. And I ended up realising that anyone can be a leader, just as long as you like having fun and you have resourcefulness and stamina in plentiful supply! The training was pretty intense, learning about all kinds of stuff like resolving conflicts, communicating without language, bits of Welsh history, how to dance like a shark, and some great ideas for drinking games….

Me and Jon, who I’d met on Leaders’ Training, were asked to lead a project at the Amelia Trust Farm, which just happens to be where we did the training. So we were really pleased, because we knew the Farm would be a great place to volunteer (and had comfy beds!). Before we went, we chatted to the people at the Farm, found out about places to get food, how we'd get around, and researched some places to take the volunteers in our spare time.  
Our task was to build a fence and pathway for a new memorial garden at the Farm.  It was quite tough work; we all developed matching sore patches on our thumbs from shovelling and hammering all day! But when we'd finished we could look at the garden and be able to say we'd made it all ourselves, which was a great feeling. The work we did will be a part of the Farm for years to come! When we weren't working we sampled many delights of Welsh life, including being chased by angry bees in the Brecon Beacons, shivering in the sea at Southerndown, and eating a 'Welsh picnic' in the rain in the car park at St Fagan's Museum of Welsh Life. Although it feels like a big responsibility, being a leader is incredibly rewarding and great fun and I’d do it again in a flash!"

Jenna Wilcox, 2006