Quite a lot ... professionalism, partnerships, transparency, matching, support
Our local heroes are our partners - not our employees - and many of them are also award-winners in ethical and responsible travel. They have years of experience in travel and tourism - as well as being in and of their communities, where they work year round, knowing them well and understanding their needs.
They are the people who work with the projects in helping them to identify needs and priorities - they understand what their communities really want. Our job at people and places is to find the right volunteers to answer those needs.
people and places volunteers never replace local workers, or do jobs they can do for themselves. Our volunteers work with them - sharing skills, experience and expertise - helping local people to build the futures that they want for themselves.
This partnership approach also applies to the relationship between people and places and our volunteers. We don't just pay lip service to our principles - we act accordingly, maintaining full transparency in all that we do. Ask us anything about your volunteering and we'll give you an honest answer ... and if we don't immediately have the answer to your question, we'll find out and let you know!
Our transparency also applies in financial matters - you'll be spending your hard-earned money, not ours, and we'll make sure that you know how and where it's being spent.
the right people in the right places
Also important is the way in which we match volunteers with projects. Because we're working so closely with our local partners, we can target each volunteer's abilities and experience to the specific needs of the project. Your placement is therefore as close as it comes to being 'tailor-made'...
Last, but by no means least, is the level of support provided to volunteers - not just by us in preparing you for your placement, but also by our local partners who give you full-time support while you're there.
(Want some advice on how to check out all the volunteer organisations you are researching?
Take a look at Questions you should ask.)
Safety is an important issue for all of us - people and places, volunteers and local communities.
We have carried out a full risk assessment in each of the places where we work, and our local partners work closely with us in making all reasonable efforts to ensure your safety and that of the community, but you must also take some responsibility for your own safety. As with all societies there will be risks or dangers, and safety standards may well be different to those we are used to at home, but if you follow the advice of your local hosts, there is no reason for your safety to be at any risk. Our partners are responsible and professional people, and are there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Each placement varies slightly as to exactly how your money is spent, but we guarantee that at least 80% of what you pay - for placements of 4 weeks or more - is spent in the host country, where it is needed most.
An example for each project is given on individual project pages, and the specific details will be fully explained to you when your placement is confirmed. In each case your payment will be divided into four categories, covering direct costs in-country such as transport and accommodation, payment to our local partner for project management, liaison and supervision in-country, a contribution to the project where your placement takes place, and payment to people and places for recruitment, matching and project development.
We believe that part of our responsibility to volunteers and communities is that we take all reasonable steps to ensure their safety. We therefore require 2 references for each volunteer as well as an appropriate criminal records screening for all placements. Volunteers will be in contact with vulnerable adults and children during their placements.
In the UK, such screening is carried out by the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS - formerly known as the CRB). The DBS will check their own computer, and those of individual police forces, to check for relevant criminal records.
There is a cost attached to this process - currently £68 - covering administration and tracking. We will send you details of how to apply for DBS screening and your completed check with be sent to you not to us so you remain in control of the whole process - you will then need to send us a copy.
We will not be able to offer a placement without this document (or its equivalent in the case of other nationalities - where costs may differ).
Read our disclosure policy
To learn more about CRB Disclosure go to www.homeoffice.gov.uk/dbs
We will furnish you with full instructions for DBS screening during the matching and placement process.
The principles of responsible volunteering are fundamental in all that we do, and there is plenty of information throughout the site about how we achieve it.
If you take the time to read the 'about' section, you will appreciate that we do all we can to enable you to be a responsible volunteer, and that this also entails a level of commitment on your part.
When you register with people and places, you agree to abide by our terms and conditions.
In addition, you will enter into a contractural agreement with the relevant local team - Read More.
We provide you with lots of information and documentation - as do our local partners, and we encourage you to read this thoroughly. You will get this well in advance of your trip. You will also be encouraged to contact previous volunteers who will be able to add yet more information. The more time yo spend preparing for your placement the more likely it is that your volunteering experience will be a useful and fulfilling one, both for yourself and for the people with whom you will work. Of course you can contact us at any time if you are unsure of anything.
Please contact us at any time. Even when your placement is confirmed, and you are in direct contact with our local partners, you should email us if you are unclear about anything. email us
You will need to do this yourself, but we can offer suggestions for international travel. For our own travels we always book our flights wiith Round the World Flights (roundtheworldflights.com), and they always provide a fast and reliable service.
Our local partners will be able to help with any travel arrangements you may want to make once in your host country.
At this early stage, we can't really help you - every country has different visa requirements for different nationals.
Once we are further along in the process of creating a match between you and a project, then we shall be able to give you advice according to where you're from and where you'll be going.
This will vary depending on the destination and the nature of the project: you may share a local family home, you may be in a local guesthouse or bed and breakfast ... you may even be in a tent for some of the time ... or if there's a conveniently located 5-star hotel, you could choose that option if that's what you really want!
Wherever possible we offer a choice of accommodation according to local availability, and will discuss your options with our local partners and with you. If you have any special requirements - ground floor room, city centre hotel, middle of nowhere, under canvas, self-catering to full board - please let us know. We will always do our best to meet your genuine needs and requests.
Simply complete our registration form - which neither commits you to anything, nor costs you anything (other than a few minutes of your time!)
We'll then contact you by email so that we can begin working with you to discuss a project and placement ...
And a few points to bear in mind when you fill in youir registration:
* please tell us as much as you can about your skills, work experience etc.
* completing the registration doesn't commit you to anything
* information you provide will be treated confidentially
Providing volunteers with what they need costs money - a safe environment, 24-hour emergency contacts, a place to stay, food to eat, tools or equipment to complete their roles - all this has to be paid for, and neither people and places nor the projects are funded through government or a big NGO. Without volunteers being self-funding, the projects themselves would not have sufficient resources to run a volunteer programme.
Each project is individually costed - the breakdown of these costs and how your money is spent is detailed on the individual project pages.
If you return for a second placement at the same project your payments will be reduced, but there will still be costs involved - any responsible project will still ask for background checks, and you will need updated information about the project so you know how things have progressed in the time between your placements.
If you've any questions about the costs, please don't hesitate to ask! people and places commits to economic transparency and that at least 80% of your money will reach the host country.
We don't produce glossy brochures - we want to ensure that as much as possible of your hard earned cash reaches and stays in your host county.
For a pdf of our introductory leaflet download here
We have also produced a leaflet with web resources and questions to ask volunteer sending organisations download here
Not at all – we can arrange volunteer placements for any nationality!
Some destinations or projects may have specific visa or language requirements ... but we can talk with you about all of that, as well as help you to identify the best project for you, once we have your registration.
It’s as important for you and the project as it is us that we put the right people in the right places – at the right time!
Every volunteer has individual experiences and skills – whether professional or non-professional.
There are so many ways in which you can help – you may have professional qualifications in health or social care, education, finance; perhaps you have skills in IT, small business, horticulture; maybe you have experience of sports, drama, arts & crafts, music, cookery, music …
We work with each volunteer as an individual - your placement will be as close to being 'tailor-made' as possible. We will ensure the best possible match between your own strengths and a project's needs.
We don't know yet what you will be doing - but once we have your registration, we will discuss ideas with you, as well as with our local partners and projects. We'll make sure you and the project are thoroughly prepared for your placement . Working together, we can create a 'win'win' situation - a mutually rewarding experience for you and your project.
Take a look at the "about" pages and you can read more about how we put the right people in the right places!
Then talk with us - we'll help you find the placement that is right for you.