Before volunteers partake in our projects they must undertake a few legal requirements, as well as be given training by our committee or external trainers.
DBS Checks and References
These are required of all our volunteers abroad, and are quite simple to get hold of:
To get a DBS check (formerly CRB check) you need a BOD card (or university card if from outside Oxford), another form of ID (passport, drivers' licence etc.) and proof of address from the last three months, such as a battels/college bill. If you don't have a battels bill, you can print off an enrolment certificate for you from the Oxford network or your university instead. You need to take these to the student union OUSU 2 Worcester Street (next to the bus station and Gloucester Green).
You are required to provide us with a valid DBS form to be allowed to go on one of our trips. As these can take up to ten weeks to process, we ask that you apply for one as early on as possible (DBS checks are free and very easy to apply for, so it's worth going ahead with this before your project has been confirmed).
You must be able to present either a DBS check or a certificate stating that you are in the process of obtaining one (available from OUSU) before interviews (we will advise you about how to do this).
We also require each volunteer application to be backed by at least one character reference (for child protection purposes). Further details will be provided once you submit an initial application. For more information about references, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Child Protection Training
We also require all volunteers to complete an online child protection training course. This is a legal requirement and sessions will be organised through OSCB (Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board).
Language Lesson/Culture Introduction
All our volunteers will be expected to attend at least one language lesson in either Albanian, Bulgarian, or Serbo-Croat (Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin are effectively the same language and are mutually understandable). This will be arranged closer to your departure and will be run by someone from the country you are visiting, giving you time to ask questions and build an understanding of Balkan culture. How much language preparation volunteers do is a personal choice. We require all volunteers to attend at least one hour long session, however will be able to facilitate additional lessons for those who wish to learn more before they leave.
This is just a short session to run through some ideas for activities to do with the children on whichever project you go on. Arts and crafts are always well received. If, however, you have any particular interest in drama, music or sports, these can also prove to be very popular activity ideas. Please be aware that volunteers participating the Bulgaria or Albania trips will be expected to prepare a brief (and flexible) plan of suggested activities for in-country coordinators prior to departure.
For each of our projects we charge a one off admin fee of £25 to cover the costs of our contacts in the respective countries or to help financially support projects that our volunteers work on. £5 of this fee will be returned to volunteers if they complete
a feedback form after their trip. We also encourage fundraising by
groups before they go out to the Balkans - however, unlike other volunteer
charities, we do not have any requirements for a fundraising minimum!
If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to email us at email@example.com
For country-specific enquiries, you can also send a message to one of our country reps:
- Albania: Natalie Clarke (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Bosnia: Filip Muncan (email@example.com)
- Bulgaria (Gorna and Veliko Tarnovo): Dylan Vignola (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Bulgaria (Refugee Programmes): Stacy Topouzova (email@example.com)