Supported Volunteering / Step by Step

With more than forty years’ experience of supporting people (mostly but not only young people) to volunteer internationally, we know the huge potential gains in terms of personal development that can be achieved. UNA Exchange believes that opportunities to be challenged and to grow should be available to as many people as possible. Our own activities in Wales mostly take place in disadvantaged communities where young people are struggling to move forward, to find employment and who face many difficulties in their everyday lives. We would like to see more of the young people local to our own work taking part in volunteering abroad as we believe it can help to address some of the issues they are facing.

The Step by Step programme was created as a way of increasing the participation in international volunteering of young people with fewer opportunities. The programme is targeted towards anyone aged 18-25 and resident in Wales who faces one or more of the following obstacles:

·                Disability

·                Educational difficulties

·                Economic obstacles

·                Cultural differences

·                Health problems

·                Social obstacles

·                Geographical obstacles


It is also essential that Step by Step participants meet the following criteria:

·                Recommended and supported by a local support worker (eg. youth worker)

·                Currently involved in some form of volunteering/engagement;

·                Ready for the experience and open to be challenged, to discover, to encounter and deal with difficulties;

·                Able to attend one of the (compulsory) Pre Departure Training dates (16 June, 14 July or 18 August) in Cardiff;

·                Able to fundraise £150 towards participation (£100 of which must be passed on to UNA Exchange before taking part).


Through the Step by Step programme we try to manage and reduce the barriers that such young people might be facing by providing additional support (ourselves and via the Local Partners), training and follow-up. And, importantly, the programme is almost fully funded (travel, insurance, training costs and a small personal allowance are all provided). We are able to cover the costs of participation with the generous support of GwirVol (the Welsh Government’s youth volunteering initiative) and the Erasmus+ programme.

The opportunities offered through our Step by Step programme are all run by trusted and long-established partners of UNA Exchange in other countries. They are existing projects/activities, into which Step by step volunteers are invited and integrated; they are not treated differently to any other volunteers, except that they are given more support to get there (practically and personally). Most of the opportunities are for 2-3 weeks, but each year we have a handful of two month projects on offer to those who have already completed a shorter international project. We also offer two or three small projects (youth exchanges) for groups of young people who are not yet ready for an independent experience. Towards the end of 2015 we hope to have a small winter/spring programme on offer, in addition to the mainstream summer programme of volunteering.

For more information on the programme and activities offered please have a look at the 2015 Programme  and also check out the Frequently Asked Questions .

If you are a young person interested in the Step by Step programme, please note that you will need to come to us via a local organisation with which you are already involved.

If you are a local organisation and would like to talk about Step by Step and a possible partnership, please contact [email protected] or call 029 2022 3088. We’d love to hear from you!