Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions, but if you can’t find the information that you are looking for then please contact us.
Who can volunteer?
Volunteers are accepted from the ages of 18 to 80+ from all backgrounds and areas of the UK and the USA.
Do I need to have experience?
Previous experience of voluntary work is valuable but by no means essential. All we ask is for people to be open minded, flexible, like a challenge and have a genuine interest in making a real difference.
What sort of voluntary work will I undertake?
You will get experience of being part of a local community project in New York Ciyt or London. Projects can include community clubs for the elderly, immigrant groups, at-risk teenagers or children; centres for people with HIV/AIDS, shelters for the homeless or environmental projects. Some placements are very structured, others are less so, and all require enthusiasm and flexibility.
How are placements allocated?
All placements have been carefully selected by the Winant Clayton Committee. They will use the information about you from your application and from a personal profile to match you to a suitable placement. You have the option upon applying to indicate which type of assignment you would prefer and why, but please note, it is not possible to guarantee that your preferences will be met. We try to match you to the placement which they feel will benefit from the skills you already have but will also challenge you and allow you to learn new skills.
Where would I live?
All volunteers live in university accommodation or with host families. This will depend on the placement you are matched to.
When does the programme run?
The programme runs from mid June for an 8 week period and then allows 2 weeks for independent travel. The trip is therefore a total of 10 weeks and volunteers travel to and from the States or the UK together.
How much will it cost?
As a charity Winant Clayton Volunteers asks each UK volunteer to help by trying their hardest to reach their fundraising target of £2400. Each US volunteer is expected to reach their target of $4100. For this sum volunteers are provided with flights, accommodation and travel expenses to cover the 8 week period of their placement. There is also a small cash contribution given, the amount depending on the placement you are assigned to. Volunteers must then have some extra funds for social time and for the two weeks of independent travel at the end of the placement. The basic cost of the programme is £1750/$2850 this is the minimum you must raise to take part in the programme. Please note that there is also a refundable deposit of £320 that is payable upon selection. The deposit will be refunded upon satisfactory completion of the volunteering programme.
Is there any financial assistance available?
Yes. We have a bursary awards scheme available for volunteers who otherwise might not be able to do the programme. Financial assistance is awarded based on an application process and at the Committee’s discretion.
How do volunteers get selected?
Anybody who is interested should fill out an application form that can be found on the website. Successful applicants are then invited to an interview.
What happens if I am selected?
A briefing weekend is held in the spring. This is a chance to get to know the other volunteers and find out all the essential information about your trip. You will then be kept up to date with important information in the lead up to departure from the UK and US Coordinators. This will include your allocated placement and accommodation.
Can I book my own flights?
No. The group departs for the USA/UK in late June on a flight booked by Winant Clayton Volunteers. All volunteers travel out together and will return on the same flight after the independent travel period.
Do I need my own travel insurance?
Yes. Winant Clayton Volunteers will be able to provide advice and suggestions for suitable travel insurance.
When would my placement start?
You will start work on the first Monday after you have arrived and placements last approximately 8 weeks. On arrival you will receive a full orientation and welcome from the US Coordinator or volunteer.
Can I extend my travel time at the end of my placement?
No. The group is booked on the same return flight at the end of the two weeks of independent travel, so you will have to be back in New York City/London by this time.
What do volunteers do during independent travel?
It's entirely up to you! Many volunteers in the US visit different states and chose to get out there and really explore. Some decide to take a short trip to Canada, while many choose to stay in New York. UK volunteers often visit mainland Europe. If this sounds a little daunting to you then we are happy to help you connect with alumni across the US/UK who often host volunteers when travelling. As long as you are back in New York/London to take your return flight, the choice is yours.
What happens when I return to the UK/USA?
Shortly after returning, an evaluation day is held at which you can meet the other volunteers again and share memories of the highlights of your summer. We also like to meet up with you and get feedback from your experiences.
Can I stay involved with Winant Clayton Volunteers?
Yes! We welcome past volunteers to stay involved and could not run without their support. There are many things that you can do regardless of where you live and how much time you have to give. Our past volunteers play a central role in the running and future of Winant Clayton Volunteers. You could help with recruitment of future volunteers, provide support to the American volunteers during their stay in London, raise vital funds for the charity, organise alumni events, contribute to newsletters or express an interest in becoming a charity Trustee.