Volunteering with Hope and Aid Direct

 

Everyone at Hope and Aid Direct is a volunteer. No-one takes a salary, so all the money we raise is used towards collection or acquisition of aid and the cost of us getting it to where it’s so badly needed, where we then aim to distribute it ourselves. Where this is not possible due to safety concerns or access restrictions for example we leave the aid with our partner agencies on the ground.

The current crisis in Ukraine is very different to past emergencies which means that the initial response is more centred around large trucks of bulk aid feeding warehouses rather than a model where people fly out to distribute the aid, however, that may change as we get further through this emergency.  Whichever model is appropriate at the time to ensure the needs of the refugees are met, the convoys or bulk deliveries can't be undertaken without volunteers giving up their time to help collect, sort and load supplies onto the trucks and then possibly drive or accompany drivers on the journey or flying out to help with the distribution where appropriate.

Currently our main focus is to support and assist those suffering from the troubles in Ukraine.  This help is for those who continue to remain within Ukraine and the massive exodus of refugees.  We will provide sustainable ongoing support in the immediate and for the months to come.

We will however also continue our work with the ongoing migration crisis in Europe.  With our partners we can help those in Greece, the Greek Islands and the volunteer groups in Calais, Serbia and Kosovo (thousands of families still rely on this type of humanitarian aid to survive almost 20 years after the Balkans war finished).

Humanitarian Aid convoys with Hope and Aid Direct are a hugely rewarding experience, particularly for new volunteers. Below are a few points to bear in mind when initially volunteering...

 

  • You will need to complete the detailed new convoyer application forms which will be sent to you from one of the membership team.
  • Because we work with vulnerable people, you will be required to provide a recent (last two years) CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) now replaced with DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) certificate. If you do not have one, the charity will provide an application and instructions to complete the process. This is a confidential process dealt with exclusively by a Hope and Aid Direct Trustee. Costs are around £10.
  • You will be expected to raise funds toward the central costs (fuel, tolls etc.) of getting aid to people who need it. This can be paid personally, through fund raising activities or from a sponsor. The contribution amount varies but is generally £250 per convoy and applies to all volunteers taking part in the convoys.
  • You will be expected to cover you own personal costs of a trip (food, hotel and travel etc.).
  • It is a more rewarding experience to help the group prepare for convoy. Where practical, you will be asked to support and assist with the collection and loading of aid in the UK prior to departure. The charity could not operate or provide the aid needed solely with Father Christmas or tourist volunteers delivering aid that has been acquired, loaded, driven and funded by others. Please be prepared to do your bit!
  • During convoy activities, it’s important that volunteers understand that they will be directed by convoy leaders(s) to ensure that the activities are conducted safely and effectively. Please be prepared for this.
  • Hotel accommodation both en-route and in-country is generally of a lower standard than you may expect in the UK. It is important to remember the objective of the convoy and accept that your accommodation is only for a few days.
  • When additional transportation is required in-country to move volunteers around (hired car or minibus), it will be necessary to share the costs between the non-driver volunteers.
  • You will need to have suitable footwear and clothing for the convoy activities. A gear packing list will be provided and Hope and Aid Direct branded clothing is also available to purchase.
  • We have an excellent track record in Health and Safety. Standards will be adhered to both within the UK and in-country. Please expect to be directed by the convoy leader(s) when necessary to ensure safety for all the volunteers. High visibility jackets must be worn at all times in a warehouse and when delivering aid, and shoes with toe protection always when working in the warehouse.
  • Finally, but very importantly, convoy activities can be a very emotional experience and you should be prepared to be affected both in-country and on your return to the UK. Experienced volunteers are always on hand to help.

 

We are always thrilled to welcome keen new ‘hands on’ volunteers, but we need volunteers to help run the charity here in the UK, just as much as we need volunteers to come with us and help us to distribute the aid or get involved in projects.

 

If you don’t like working with others and you’re not a team player, then I’m sorry to say that we’re probably not the charity you’re looking to volunteer for. However, if you want to do something to genuinely make a difference, if you feel enthusiastic but you’re somewhat housebound, or if you just love the thought of being directly involved in something practical and life-changing and you love adventure and a challenge, then please get in touch. We know its life changing, because so many past volunteers have told us so.

 

What sort of things could you do to help us? Well pretty much anything below, and much more if you wanted to:-

  • Admin – financial accounting, Gift Aid Claims, Annual returns, Trustee support
  • Communications – volunteer enquiries, offers of support, Social Media, Newsletters, Thank you’s, Web site updates, Photo library
  • Fundraising – Friends and relatives, Trusts and Foundations, cakes stalls to sponsored events, and everything in between
  • Aid gathering – from friends and family, local support networks, or from Corporates, it’s all wanted.
  • Aid sorting – it all has to be checked, and often repackaged – if it’s not good enough to give to your own Mother, it’s doesn’t meet our quality requirements.
  • Logistics – moving aid in the UK, in cars, vans, or trucks. From 7.5 ton on a normal car licence, to 40 ton on an HGV license.
  • Loading for the trips – Typically we drive the big rig 40 tonner around the UK collecting pallets of aid which then need to be shuffled about and securely strapped down for the journey. The smaller 7.5 tonners also need loading.
  • Driving the trucks to their destination and distribution of the aid – two weeks of hard work, exhausting, but thoroughly rewarding
  • Flying out to help with distributions – typically one week, the extra muscle power that we need to complete the job.

 

As you will have already read elsewhere on this website, our convoys are usually great fun with all sorts of obstacles to overcome but when you see for yourself the faces of those you have helped, you’ll understand why we say confidently that it’s a life-changing experience. If you would like to volunteer to become part of our team, please contact us by phone or via the message box on the contact us page.

 

Volunteering with Hope and Aid Direct

 

Everyone at Hope and Aid Direct is a volunteer. No-one takes a salary, so all the money we raise is used towards collection or acquisition of aid and the cost of us getting it to where it’s so badly needed, where we then aim to distribute it ourselves. Where this is not possible due to camp restrictions for example we leave the aid with our partner agencies on the ground.

 

The convoys themselves can’t be undertaken without more volunteers giving up their time to help collect, sort and load supplies onto the trucks and then drive or accompany drivers on the journey or flying out to help with the distribution. Currently our main focus is the ongoing migration crisis in Europe and we are spending a lot of time in Greece, the Greek Islands, in particular Lesvos and Chios and have a working relationship with the volunteer groups in Calais as well as Serbia where many thousands of refugees are now trapped. Another ad-hoc destination is Kosovo, where thousands of families still rely on this type of humanitarian aid to survive almost 20 years after the Balkans war finished.

 

Humanitarian Aid convoys with Hope and Aid Direct are a hugely rewarding experience, particularly for new volunteers. Below are a few points to bear in mind when initially volunteering…...

 

  • You will need to complete the detailed new convoyer application forms which will be sent to you from one of the membership team.
  • Because we work with vulnerable people, you will be required to provide a recent (last two years) CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) now replaced with DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) certificate. If you do not have one, the charity will provide an application and instructions to complete the process. This is a confidential process dealt with exclusively by a Hope and Aid Direct Trustee. Costs are around £10.
  • You will be expected to raise funds toward the central costs (fuel, tolls etc.) of getting aid to people who need it. This can be paid personally, through fund raising activities or from a sponsor. The contribution amount varies but is generally £250 per convoy and applies to all volunteers taking part in the convoys.
  • You will be expected to cover you own personal costs of a trip (food, hotel and travel etc.).
  • It is a more rewarding experience to help the group prepare for convoy. Where practical, you will be asked to support and assist with the collection and loading of aid in the UK prior to departure. The charity could not operate or provide the aid needed solely with Father Christmas or tourist volunteers delivering aid that has been acquired, loaded, driven and funded by others. Please be prepared to do your bit!
  • During convoy activities, it’s important that volunteers understand that they will be directed by convoy leaders(s) to ensure that the activities are conducted safely and effectively. Please be prepared for this.
  • Hotel accommodation both en-route and in-country is generally of a lower standard than you may expect in the UK. It is important to remember the objective of the convoy and accept that your accommodation is only for a few days.
  • When additional transportation is required in-country to move volunteers around (hired car or minibus), it will be necessary to share the costs between the non-driver volunteers.
  • You will need to have suitable footwear and clothing for the convoy activities. A gear packing list will be provided and Hope and Aid Direct branded clothing is also available to purchase.
  • We have an excellent track record in Health and Safety. Standards will be adhered to both within the UK and in-country. Please expect to be directed by the convoy leader(s) when necessary to ensure safety for all the volunteers. High visibility jackets must be worn at all times in a warehouse and when delivering aid, and shoes with toe protection always when working in the warehouse.
  • Finally, but very importantly, convoy activities can be a very emotional experience and you should be prepared to be affected both in-country and on your return to the UK. Experienced volunteers are always on hand to help.

 

We are always thrilled to welcome keen new ‘hands on’ volunteers, but we need volunteers to help run the charity here in the UK, just as much as we need volunteers to come with us and help us to distribute the aid or get involved in projects.

 

If you don’t like working with others and you’re not a team player, then I’m sorry to say that we’re probably not the charity you’re looking to volunteer for. However, if you want to do something to genuinely make a difference, if you feel enthusiastic but you’re somewhat housebound, or if you just love the thought of being directly involved in something practical and life-changing and you love adventure and a challenge, then please get in touch. We know its life changing, because so many past volunteers have told us so.

 

What sort of things could you do to help us? Well pretty much anything below, and much more if you wanted to:-

  • Admin – financial accounting, Gift Aid Claims, Annual returns, Trustee support
  • Communications – volunteer enquiries, offers of support, Social Media, Newsletters, Thank you’s, Web site updates, Photo library
  • Fundraising – Friends and relatives, Trusts and Foundations, cakes stalls to sponsored events, and everything in between
  • Aid gathering – from friends and family, local support networks, or from Corporates, it’s all wanted.
  • Aid sorting – it all has to be checked, and often repackaged – if it’s not good enough to give to your own Mother, it’s doesn’t meet our quality requirements.
  • Logistics – moving aid in the UK, in cars, vans, or trucks. From 7.5 ton on a normal car licence, to 40 ton on an HGV license.
  • Loading for the trips – Typically we drive the big rig 40 tonner around the UK collecting pallets of aid which then need to be shuffled about and securely strapped down for the journey. The smaller 7.5 tonners also need loading.
  • Driving the trucks to their destination and distribution of the aid – two weeks of hard work, exhausting, but thoroughly rewarding
  • Flying out to help with distributions – typically one week, the extra muscle power that we need to complete the job.

 

As you will have already read elsewhere on this website, our convoys are usually great fun with all sorts of obstacles to overcome but when you see for yourself the faces of those you have helped, you’ll understand why we say confidently that it’s a life-changing experience. If you would like to volunteer to become part of our team, please contact us by phone or via the message box on the contact us page.