There are five of us. Between us we have decades of experience in volunteering, travel and tourism, education and business. Our skills and experience are complemented by those of our local partners – together we offer truly responsible and ethical volunteer opportunities.
Kate is placement director, matching the skills and abilities of volunteers to project needs.
With over 20 years’ experience in the travel industry, including the development of cultural immersion tours for specialist UK travel companies, Kate has always placed particular emphasis on matching travellers' cultural experience to the need for rewarding and empowering experiences for their hosts.
Kate holds a firm belief in the inherent ability of individual people to achieve great things through working together. She is repeatedly humbled and inspired by what individual volunteers achieve in their work, and gains great rewards through past, present and future volunteers sharing their experiences and knowledge.
Kate is also responsible for updating the information on the website - the technical challenges involved make this Kate's least favourite part of the job!
Sallie is programme director. She works on an ongoing basis with local people to build meaningful volunteer programmes.
Sallie‘s volunteer experience includes work in The Gambia, coincidentally at the same time as Harold was working there on national tourism guidelines. (meet Harold below). Their fortunate meeting and subsequent discussions led them to pursue a better way to serve local communities and volunteers.
Sallie ran a niche marketing company for 20 years, and has served as a non-executive director and consultant in industries as varied as retail, finance, health and tourism. She has a proven record in direct marketing and business development. She has worked with communities in Africa to improve their economic welfare.
Sallie’s own experience in volunteer work, as well as the shared experiences of other volunteers and the communities in which they worked, left her frustrated and cynical - but also inspired by the potential benefits of skill share for volunteers and local communities … and determined to do something!
Sallie is also responsible for the marketing of people and places and liaison with TravelPledge. Her least favourite part of the job is doing the accounts!
Dianne is volunteer programme advisor. She has many years of experience in education management, planning, training and monitoring.
Dianne’s first experience with people and places was in skill share volunteer work - in The Gambia and in India - where she worked with local teachers to help develop their own skills and abilities.
Then, in 2011, Dianne proposed a different volunteer role – that of working with local staff in education volunteer projects to build a picture of the projects’ needs. Needless to say, we were all delighted and accepted her proposal with alacrity!
She started travelling for us to specifically assess school needs - she now travels the world as an important member of the team, visiting all of the projects. Her work ensures that we fully understand the needs, strengths and weaknesses of the projects we work with and that we provide volunteers with the information they need to make meaningful contributions through their volunteer work abroad.
Dianne also works with Kate in briefing volunteers for any of the projects she has visited.
Nigel is known to many of you, by name at least, as editor of our newsletter.
Before Nigel took on this particular volunteer role, he travelled with people and places as a skill share volunteer in rural South Africa, where his practical skills were fundamental in setting up a bicycle project. Nigel has also volunteered in The Gambia – again putting his practical skills to use in working with local people - and will be volunteering in Peru in 2014.
Nigel readily admits that his overseas volunteer experiences have changed his life.
When he first volunteered in South Africa, Nigel was caretaker of a high school and is now site manager of both the high school and primary school. In his spare time, he gives talks and presentations about his volunteer experiences. To say that he achieved employment promotion and greater self confidence solely through volunteering may be an exaggeration ... but it certainly helped!
As well as working on the newsletter, Nigel provides practical help and technical support for all our volunteer meetings and ‘road shows’ – and is planning to volunteer overseas again as soon as he can ... and is already talking with Kate about his next skill share opportunity being in Peru ...
Harold is Chair of our non-executive advisory committee, the committee that we report to and that keeps us on our toes in being responsible and accountable in all that we do.
Professor Harold Goodwin is an acknowledged world leader in responsible and sustainable tourism. He works with communities, governments, international funding agencies, and within the tourism industry to advance responsible tourism. Harold is Professor of Responsible Tourism at Manchester Metropolitan University where he directs the Centre for Responsible Tourism and was founder, in 2002 of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism.
Harold is committed to enabling local communities and economically poor people to conserve their natural and cultural heritage through careful linking with responsible travellers. He firmly believes that economically poor communities and volunteers should be better served than is the case with the majority of existing volunteer recruitment organisations.
What a team ... people skills, business experience, professional skills, practical expereince ... and academic gravitas ! and we all share a passion for the importance of travelling to make a difference.