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Five top voluntourism providers

By Sarah Barrell 26/04/2013

Thinking of volunteering?

Sarah Barrell shares some top destinations and providers for volunteering abroad and at home.

Projects Abroad (01903 708300, projects-abroad.co.uk): leading volunteering organisation serving 30 destinations worldwide. Placements (a week to six months and longer), in schools, care homes, hospitals and conservation and community projects. The Inca Project in Huryo, a remote village in Peru works on archaeology digs around Machu Picchu, to engage local communities with their Inca heritage. Two weeks is recommended, from £1,295.

Responsible Travel (01273 823 700, responsibletravel.com): Ethical holiday company (founder of the Responsible Tourism Awards), offering volunteer opportunities worldwide. Take a diving marine conservation trip to Belize, exploring remote Caribbean islands, monitoring the spawning patterns of fish and turtles and gathering data for the PADI Project AWARE Coral Watch and Whale Shark programmes. One week from £650.

National Trust (01793 817400, nationaltrust.org.uk/holidays/): Three hundred working holidays in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, from coastal conservation with kayaking or surfing thrown in, to wild camping and path repair in the Lakes; plus new Independent Holidays combining volunteering with luxurious National Trust holiday cottages. Go behind the scenes at Holy Island’s Lindisfarne Castle to fundraise and work as a guide. Two weeks from £210.

Global Vision International (01727 250 250, gvi.co.uk): Winners of the 2011 Responsible Tourism Award for best volunteering organisation, with high-impact projects in 40 destinations. For a good balance of volunteer work and pure holiday, its Seychelles trip is hard to beat. After one week of volunteering on construction-based projects, travellers take a four-day trip to exclusive eco-resort, Bird Island. From £1,370.

Camps International (0844 8001127, campsinternational.com): Known for its gap-year projects and placements for school-children, Camps also offers Health Care Outreach programmes for adults with experience in the sector; nurses, doctors, opticians, dieticians and anyone interested in providing free healthcare in Kenya and Cambodia. Two weeks from £695 in Kenya.

You might be planning for a short break but, when you start reading about the different opportunities you might be tempted by an extended trip!

Prices quoted are per person based on two sharing, including accommodation, volunteer programme and in most cases some meals. Unless stated otherwise, domestic and international travel is extra. Up-to-date travel advice can be found at the Foreign & Commonwealth website: www.fco.gov.uk.

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