Why choose to volunteer with United Playground?
United Playground is a small, low-cost company with strong connections in Africa. This allows us to be flexible and tailor the best volunteer placement for you at affordable prices. We are committed to offering genuine placements where you really can make a difference, and we place a high value on getting your feedback and making continuous improvements. We are also very friendly!
How much does volunteering cost?
Our fees are shown here[LINK]. United Playground works closely with our NGOs to keep costs low. When you book your placement, you pay a non-refundable admin fee of £200 to secure your place. All fees shown on this site INCLUDE the admin fee. The remainder of the program fee is required approximately six weeks before you travel.
Do I have to give a deposit?
Yes, we require a £200 deposit, (the administrative fee) to reserve your place at your chosen program.
Cancellations and refunds
If you cancel your trip after booking the admin fee will not be refunded. However, if you cancel after paying the full amount then you will be refunded the balance (i.e. the full amount minus the admin fee) unless it is one week or less before you travel in which case you will NOT be eligible for any refund.
If for some reason your trip is cancelled by United Playground or by the NGO in Africa, you will receive a full refund including the admin fee.
When I am on my placement, is there someone I can call in case of an emergency?
Yes, we will provide you with all the emergency contacts you need including a local coordinator who will be in the area.
What is a CRB check? And do I need one?
A CRB is a Criminal Records Bureau check. We require all UK volunteers to obtain this before they travel. However, as it can take a month or more to process a CRB, the volunteer may leave for their program before this has completed. If the check comes back proving a criminal background, United Playground and all of its affiliations have the right to ask the volunteer to leave their program. For more details on the CRB check please visit http://www.crb.gov.uk/.
What age do I have to be to be able to volunteer?
The minimum age is 18 years of age. As long as you are fit and healthy, there is no maximum age. We may ask for a doctor’s letter if you are over 60. However, if you are 17 and determined to volunteer, it may be possible to proceed as long as you have the full support of your parents or carers – get in touch and we can discuss this further.
If I am travelling with a friend, can we be placed at the same program?
Yes of course. When you apply, add in the note section your friend’s name or drop us an email and we can make the arrangements.
What skills do I need to be a volunteer?
The only essential requirement is that you speak good English. We are looking for people who are articulate, adventurous, love children (if you’re choosing to work with them), passionate about meeting new people and new places. You do not need to have a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language Certificate) although it would be to your advantage if you choose to work in a school.
Do the volunteers need to speak English?
Yes, all volunteers need to speak good English.
Do I need to have a British passport to volunteer?
No, most passports are welcome. Although we are a British company we welcome applications from around the world. Feel free to contact us with any queries. However, we do require that volunteers speak English well.
How long can I go out for?
Two weeks is the minimum stay, as we need to be sure you will benefit the program you are working with. However you can stay up to a couple of years, depending upon the visa.
How far in advance do I have to book my placement?
The sooner the better, in order to reserve your place and to organise visas, medical arrangements, travel insurance, getting the best price for your flight etc. For last minute volunteers, we still want you…but we would suggest around a month minimum. It will be a very busy month but it can be done!
Do you have any fundraising ideas to help me fund this trip?
Yes, please refer to section on the homepage. [UPDATE AND ADD LINK]
What injections and medications do I require for travelling?
Please consult your own doctor for up to date information and advice on the medical requirements for the country or region you are travelling to. You should do this at least a couple of months before you travel as you may need a series of vaccinations. They can be expensive too, and you need to allow for this in your travel budget.
Where can I get my visa from?
You will need to consult the relevant embassy (usually via their websites) for the latest information and advice on visas, as well as costs. Application forms are usually available online. You should do this at least a month or two before you intend to travel. Costs tend to be higher for last minute applications.
How do I apply to be a volunteer?
Once you have chosen a program, following the link at the top of the page and click on ‘Book my place now!’ [UPDATE THIS]
What about food and accommodation?
This will depend upon which program you have chosen to work with. If you are staying with a host family (most often the case), they will take care of everything. If you are staying in a guesthouse, you may have to cook your own food.
I am a vegetarian. Is this a problem?
Not at all. When you fill in the form to apply, simply mention this in a note at the bottom on the form.
Can I contact the program directly that I wish to volunteer at?
Once you have paid the admin fee, we will put you in touch with the co-ordinator who is responsible for the program you wish to visit.
Will there be internet access at my chosen destination?
You will find this information on the program pages. However, the internet will almost always be in the towns but not always in the villages. Internet availability is more unreliable than the UK and can be intermittent. You may also be affected by power cuts which can be frequent in many African countries.
Will I have time to sightsee?
Yes. Most, if not all, programs give you the evenings and weekends free to explore local attractions and places of interest. You may also wish to add time at the beginning or end of your trip for travelling. Please recognise that although you are a volunteer (i.e. giving your time for free), you are still making an important commitment to your chosen workplace. Therefore we ask that you do not suddenly announce that you are taking time out for travelling. Most places are happy to be flexible as long as you arrange things properly in advance, e.g. by letting them know if you plan to take time out for travelling mid-placement.
Is there orientation?
United Playground does not provide orientation. However, once in your chosen country, the co-ordinator will help you orient yourself into the local culture and activities. They will also introduce you to your workplace and hand you over to a nominated person who will supervise and help you. United Playground will try to provide you with all the information you need before you travel.
Do I need to speak the local language?
No. You just need to be fluent in English. However, you may enjoy learning a few phrases in the local language such as greetings or giving thanks. This is always appreciated and it will help you to make new friends more easily. Language and culture lessons are available with some programs.