Our latest volunteer social was held at people and places’ headquarters in Faversham at the beginning of November. This is also Kate’s home and we know volunteers always enjoy coming here to such a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. About 30 of us braved some fairly awful driving conditions to get there, and as always the journey was well worth the effort – an afternoon of stimulating conversation with past and future volunteers, all sharing their ideas, experiences and enthusiasm for volunteering.
Early November is always a good time to hold a social as some of our local partners are always in the country for the World Travel Market, and this year we were joined by Adama from the Gambia and Quinn from Peru. This was a great chance for those of us who have volunteered in these countries to catch up on the news from the projects there, as well as being a wonderful opportunity for new volunteers to meet the people who will be looking after them on their coming trips. For those of you who weren’t there, they both agreed to do video interviews – take a look at them here, http://www.youtube.com/user/salliegrayson along with other volunteer videos recorded at the social.
Most of the countries where we have volunteer projects were represented by volunteers in Faversham, but there was a particularly strong contingent of people who have worked in The Gambia this year, and this was a good opportunity for them to meet each other and share their experiences, as well as working with Adama to plan for future developments. There were also groups of volunteers planning to go in the New Year to Cambodia and Saint Lucia, able to meet each other and make plans for their volunteering experiences.
This year we had particular reason to celebrate as people and places had just won an award for ‘Best for Responsible Tourism Campaigning’ at the World Travel Market. http://www.responsibletravel.com/awards/categories/campaigning.htm This is a well-deserved accolade for Sallie and Kate, who set up people and places partly in order to campaign to improve the volunteering experience and make sure it is genuine and useful for all concerned, and it was great to be able to share in the celebrations.
So where next? We know you enjoy the homely atmosphere in Faversham, and volunteer socials there are always the best attended. However we do like to move around the country if possible, as it’s not always easy for everyone to get to Kent. So I am inviting you to my home for the next social, which will be held on June 14th 2014.
I live in West Dorset – not exactly the centre of the UK I know but should be fairly easily accessible for any of you living in the south or the west – and there are quite a few of you who do! It is about an hour from the M5, an hour from Taunton or Bournemouth, 90 minutes from Southampton or Bath and two hours from Bristol – maybe you have friends in one of these places where you could stay for the weekend? Or perhaps you would like to book a weekend trip – there are many local hotels and B+Bs. I live about 10 minutes from the beach, on the beautiful World Heritage Jurassic Coast so I’m sure you would enjoy a visit here! Just trying to do my bit for local tourism but it is genuinely beautiful (think of the beaches in ‘Broadchurch’ – it was filmed here).
Put it in your diary – hope to see you all here in June!
Please do let Kate know if you would like to come firstname.lastname@example.org