Growth in demand
We have seen considerable growth in demand for both our short and our medium term volunteer opportunities. There is growing demand from hosts overseas for volunteers and a steady increase in the numbers of candidates. We will continue to be creative in encouraging this growth by providing even more high quality placements for volunteers and continuing to provide excellent pre-departure information and support. Growth in volunteer numbers is limited only by finance. We subsidise each volunteer placement, on average by £2000, and this means the more successful we are in placing volunteers the more difficult our year end figures look. We will aim to develop our income streams so that increased volunteer numbers will be positive rather than challenging. This could be achieved by Churches and Government Agencies identifying placements which they would be willing to fund, allowing measured growth in line with shared strategic objectives. We are also seeing significant growth in short term visits and exchanges and have responded by providing training and logistical support for private visits to community projects. We foresee significant increase in this area of work and will dedicate more staff time as required. Through partnerships with companies and government we anticipate being able to increase numbers steadily without damaging our robust budget.
Building and connecting networks
St Colm’s is the place where our international work comes home. Encounters between our volunteers, our residents and our visitors are among the most exciting and rewarding moments of our year. We will work to increase these “events” and broaden the net to involve as many people as possible in this refreshing exchange of stories. The Institute for Contemporary Scotland, the Community Action Network and our own database of 1000 returned volunteers make a powerful resource for thinking and action. The renewal of society, nationally and internationally, will be driven partly by the work our volunteers do, by the encounters that take place at St Colm’s, and by the creativity of all those involved in World Exchange website proving particularly useful..
Audited accounts, financial forecasts and reports on our work in the fields described above are available from the World Exchange Office and on our website.