Archive for the 'people and places in the news' Category

LOVE receiving volunteers’ questions … and answering them!

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

At people and places, we always encourage volunteers to ask questions

Some people find asking questions easier than others … but asking the questions and assessing the answers is VITAL when starting to think about options to volunteer abroad, and helps volunteers to make informed decisions.

Q&A may be in person, by phone or in writing …

So, to show what I mean, I’m going to share some recent email questions with you – AND – my answers !

ask the questions - get the answers

ask the questions – get the answers


volunteers: Go Overseas announces their “leave-a-review” contest !

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Now here’s an opportunity to write a review of your volunteer placement – this just in from Go Overseas:

volunteer experience? you may win a prize !

volunteer experience? you may win a prize !


thanks to everyone who voted for us in the people’s choice awards

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

As many as you will know, we have been lucky enough to be winners of The World Responsible Travel Awards twice – once for our campaigning and once as best volunteering organisationpeopleChoice-fbpost-peopleandplaces

We are so proud of the awards – we are with some very special company.

AND now this year we have been short listed for the People’s Choice award

We don’t expect to win – the competition is fierce and there are many very deserving potential winners. (a couple of our particular favourites are Village Ways and TUI)

BUT we do want to say a huge thankyou to each and every one of you who took the time to vote for us – we so appreciate it.

people and places interviewed in the Daily Telegraph – about responsible volunteering

Thursday, August 14th, 2014


Sallie was interviewed by the Daily Telegraph recently for this piece sallie headshotSMALL


“Volunteering placements abroad are a popular choice for gap years, but projects need to be chosen wisely or there is a danger participants may end up doing more harm than good.

Kristina is a friendly 19-year-old from the UK, who recently went on a volunteer placement in Cambodia.

“We were told it would involve a mixture of teaching and building water pumps for rural families,” she says. “However, during the placement, only two out of the 14 of us taught English. The rest of us literally dug a road. We moved piles of dirt for six weeks – and right at the end, a digger turned up and finished it in about half an hour, which was fairly infuriating.” The voluntary placement cost £3,500.

“Voluntourism” is big business these days, with well-meaning travellers like Kristina paying thousands of pounds to spend a short time working towards a cause in another country. But how can you be sure your money (and you) will be doing any good? And, more importantly, you won’t be doing any harm?

read the whole article here 

“orphanages … part of the well-trodden tourist trail” says BBC’s Fake Britain

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

well-meaning holiday-makers [and volunteers] are being conned and are fuelling a dark industry of fake orphanages and orphans”

watch the report, from about 35 minutes into the programme click here to watch 

people and places‘ Kate Stefanko speaks out during the Fake Britain expose about volunteers naively contributing to the abuse of it here


“a need for more orphans … so where are they coming from?”


“visiting orphanages and making a donation has become part of the well-trodden tourist trail … ”


“well-meaning holiday-makers are being conned and are fuelling a dark industry of fake orphanages and orphans”


people and places named in top 5 ethical volunteer programmes by National Geographic Traveler

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014


““Please, please ask questions,” says Sallie Grayson, programme director at volunteer tour operator People and Places,2014_APRIL_cover-cb1395178291

a winner at the 2013 World Responsible Tourism Awards. “There are still way too many unethical or poorly managed volunteer organisations operating. We believe volunteering can be a win-win for volunteers and the community they seek to serve — but people must be put in the right places. So there needs to be a lot of information shared by all parties. If you can reserve a place on a volunteer programme simply by providing contact details and your credit card number, and if you don’t know where exactly you’ll be working and what you’ll be doing, ask yourself: should I be volunteering with that organisation?”

The People and Places website has a section entitled ‘you need the answers’, highlighting some of the key questions a potential traveller should ask of their volunteer organisation. Among these are: ‘I’m only going to be there for a few weeks — how can my input be of any real use?’; ‘When, how and where is my money spent?’; and ‘Will you advise me about local culture and how I should behave?’ 1. Community development in Manú National Park, Peru: People and Places Work with communities in this Amazonian biodiversity hotspot and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Join GRO W, a sustainable initiative to boost local incomes, improve child and adult health and divert activity away from environmentally damaging sources of income.

Read the whole article here 

Volunteers with building, horticulture, organic and microculture skills are particularly welcome.

people and places – major changes to the way we work with our projects abroad

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Here at people and places we are constantly struggling to get enough volunteers for our programmes – there are other sending organisations that manage to attract thousands of volunteers every year – we don’t  and I now know we have got so much wrong – so here’s my proposal – I’m sending it off to our advisory board tonight: time for change

1. We’re going to start talking about our projects – after all, how could they possibly run without us?

2. Forget about getting informed consent from the projects that volunteers will be working with – we will save a huge amount of hassle for ourselves and volunteers if we just send them – and hey – the projects are poor so they’ll be grateful for anyone.

3. From now on, the most important skill any volunteer can possibly have is the ability to give us their credit card details

4. In future, all the expenses of travelling etc., incurred by those of us in the UK, will be allocated to “project development” – how would the projects develop without us – and all marketing will be called volunteer recruitment – and we need volunteers to develop projects so it’s project development – SIMPLE

5. We are discontinuing the bespoke screening and preparation process for volunteers – a one size fits all application form and a pre departure pack has  been developed – we caused too much confusion before – and we are the best ones to judge after all.

6. We aren’t going to allocate any of the fees to pay our local partners on the ground to care for the volunteers – we have 24/7 cover with our UK mobile numbers.

7. In fact we are going to do away with local partners – who needs  ’em? We know all our projects are “community driven” and we got local consent years ago.

8. We are not going to insist that volunteers sign up to and comply with child protection policies  – of course we have the best interests of children at heart – so why complicate things?

9. work permits – don’t worry – you can slip in under the radar on a tourist visa – who will know?

10. talking about work, who cares whether volunteers have the right insurance or not? Insurance is only a problem when there’s a problem.

11. What a time waster all that work we put into ensuring that volunteers are contributing skills the projects needs – so what if the 1000th volunteer is singing “head, shoulders, knees and toes” for the unmpteenth time with the children? They’re all having fun aren’t they? And building programmes – we are going to start those – obviously local people don’t know how to rebuild a bridge or a toilet block over and over again.

12. And most important of all – all children should be loved and hugged – by anyone

13. and finally – perhaps our biggest mistake – none of our volunteers get a T-shirt that says “I saved the world” … well I’ve just put an order for 2000 in – so come on down!

(and I must do a hat tip to Justin Francis at who wrote a piece many years ago explaining why he was turning his back on responsible travel – sorry Justin can’t find it – if you do Im happy to link to it here!)

Manchester – 30th January – people and places ‘on the road again’!

Friday, January 10th, 2014

well, technically, back on the rails again as Kate will be travelling to Manchester by train …

We had such a good trip to Manchester last year, that we thought we’d do it again, although this year it will just be Kate presenting people and places volunteer opportunities in Manchester at the MMU Global Volunteering Fair, 11.00 to 14.00  in the atrium of the Geoffrey Manton Building …

I'll be there !

I’ll be there !



Will you be in the neighbourhood? Do you fancy a trip to Manchester? If so, please do come and say ‘hello’ …

Here’s the link that will show you exact location on campus

We shall be in interesting company !

Bragging rights – some nice stuff people have recently said about us

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

We have to provide references for the World Responsible Travel Awards ( and in case you didn’t know we won! read more here ) – thanks everyone for all your support! and here are some excerpts:

From Local Partners

“people and places have been leader in this area (child protection) for some time.They personally visit all projects for a lengthy assessment before accepting the project as a partner.  They’re particularly demanding about child protection practices and actively work with projects to help them improve their policies and practices ensuring that the children, (and the volunteers), are kept safe. ”

“people & places constantly reinforce their standards and approach, while evolving to keep at the cutting edge of responsible volunteering – indeed they tend to be the organisation that defines in practise what is responsible volunteering.They listen to the aspirations and concerns of the beneficiary community and adapt to ensure that this is paramount in developing the volunteering assignment.”

“people & places are not an NGO that preaches from the rooftops – they are a frontline organisation developing best practice by mixed channels of communication, discussion, sensitive listening, and, most of all by practical application of the concepts in the field.”

“P&P also assisted us in developing an understanding of child protection, from a sending organisation’s point of view. It assisted us in realising that we needed to be more aware in terms of some of the potential negative impacts of volunteering. We collectively started to understand that the best way we could serve children was not to necessarily work directly with them, but to also build capacity in the local community, be it teachers or home care workers. So while our volunteers teach (if qualified) they always do so with local teachers – building capacity. If we work with Orphans and Vulnerable children, it’s about building capacity of local carers. This approach speaks strongly to understanding Child Protection.”

From a Project

“We feel confident that the children in the community in which we work and our volunteers will be safe in the hands of people and places.”

From Corporate Partners

“After several meetings with people and places, I felt very comfortable about co-operation. How the projects were delivered on the ground gave me comfort from a practical ethical level, but also they were driving through long term sustainable change, rather than ripping off a gap year volunteer for extortionate amounts of money whilst delivering dubious benefits on the ground.”

“Apart from running a sound ship, they have upped the ante within the industry (raising awareness about pertinent  issues which, unchecked, damage all stakeholders) and in how they  inform and select potential volunteers (and host communities).”

From  a Volunteer

“The strength of people & places is to match volunteer’s skills with the projects’ needs, which is absolutely true for my placement. They deliver what they say, thus contributing to Responsible and Ethical Tourism practices in the industry. The support has been great from the initial contact until after my return. Before, during and after my placement, I felt informed via their website, social media, print and e-mail and could communicate easily via all those sources. “

We won!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 8th, 2013

5. Best for Responsible Tourism Campaigning – sponsored by the _SJH6517_c0dd8Caribbean Tourism Association


Winner: people and places, UK –

 read the full story here 

Judges’ reasons for winning: “Highly commended in 2007 in the Best Volunteering category, they won this same category in 2009. The judges were impressed by their campaign for responsible volunteering; they have also been active in campaigning for child protection whilst running their small business. Their campaign has been funded entirely through their business. Making extensive use of the social media the two directors have given their time freely to fight for change. Over the last few years, practice in volunteering has improved, although there is still much to be done – people and places have been at the heart of that movement to raise awareness and demand action, working with many partners in the UK and abroad”.