Sunset at Ballyhough


Last night I finally got home from Coll (after a night in Oban and a day in Glasgow) and had a chance to catch up on some much needed sleep! The last week has been amazing. Incredibly useful, so much fun, and if it wasn’t for all the practical stuff (bank, doctors, antimalarials…) I could leave tomorrow.
It’s pretty much impossible to describe training in it’s entirety so it tends to be reduced down to “Ah it was amazing!!” because it was so intense. If you’ve been on training or are going soon then you’ll know! It was full on from the moment we got to the Hebridean Centre to the moment we left, we packed in 14 hours of teacher training, country sessions, safety and security seasons, health, cultural awareness, global citizenship and lots of official looking paperwork, not to mention trips to Ballyhough Beach and the end of course Ceilidh! Some of the sessions were quite hard hitting and others were kinda terrifying but despite all this, I came away from Coll even more excited and I cannot wait to go!

Training also meant meeting all the other Guyana vols and one of the best bits of the week was finally meeting my parter who I’ll be living with and we’ll both be teaching at the same school. I’d been really nervous about if we’d get on or not but we got on really well and both want to go travelling in our holidays.

My partner for the year :)


Guyana 14/15 vols!

Whilst in Guyana we will all be looked after by our rep, a lady called Kala, who lives in Georgetown. She sounds amazing and will be the first person we contact if anything goes wrong. As long as we’re doing our job properly she will do anything to help us.
We still don’t know our exact departure date but should be getting that soon, it’ll be around mid august we actually leave but until then it’s going to be full on list making and stuff sorting!

It’s going to be an amazing year and I can’t wait to go!

R x

Training time!


Tomorrow back on the Isle of Coll I start my training course, meet all the other Guyana volunteers (and slightly confusingly the Ghana vols who are on the same course!) and also meet my partner for the year!
After a very early first train at 5.30 this morning, I’ve made it to Glasgow and am just waiting for the next train, whilst keeping a watchful eye out for any other potential PT volunteers.
The course starts as soon as we get off the ferry tomorrow morning and I’ve heard it’s a very intense five days of pretty much everything we need to know along with the traditional end of course ceilidh.

But now time to get on the train…if I can find the right ticket amongst all the other tickets and bits of paper I seem to have!

R x

Edit: Made it onto the train! Spending the time pretending I’m on the Hogwarts Express (because of the scenery and mysterious stops in the middle of nowhere) and trying (with not much success) to work out how to pronounce the names of the passing stations without sounding like a total Southerner! Crianlarich anyone? I think my favourite stations have to be ‘Loch Awe’ followed by the ‘Falls of Cruachan’.

And that’s a wrap!

Just a quick post to say…


The ceilidh raised about £600 which means I’ve beaten my target of £5,600 (only by a small amount but still!)
A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed, in any form, to my fundraising. It’s been a huge challenge and definitely not something I could have achieved without all the help and support I’ve received.

Now to focus on exams (which have officially started now) and preparations for training and leaving!

R x

A Ceilidh!

Last weekend I held my biggest (and I think best) fundraising event, as the title might suggest… a ceilidh!

It may seem like a slightly strange event to hold in a not particularly Scottish sports hall in North West London but Ceilidhs are a big part of the social side of Project Trust and being a Scottish charity it seemed fitting. Not to mention they are soo much fun.

Quainton Hall kindly gave me the use of their sports hall, kitchen and dinning room and so after a morning (and afternoon) of setting up, decorating and prepping food the dancing began.
Our caller, Henry, was wonderful at getting everyone up and dancing. I think it’s fair to say the levels of skill varied greatly but the enthusiasm made up for this! After a break for haggis and trips to the bar the dancing continued in a slightly more ‘merry’ manner, culminating in a wonderfully confused rendition of Strip the Willow. The whole evening was a great success.

Of course this would not have been possible if it weren’t for all the help from my Mum, Dad and Cath who did most of the food and shopping and frankly most of the organising.
Henry the caller for getting everyone up and dancing.
Chris, Will, Matt, Kristjan and Rachael for coming down, helping set up the hall and running the bar.
And everyone who came and helped make the evening a success!
I will upload some photos as soon as I’ve sorted through the hundreds that were taken throughout the evening. I hope I have reached my fundraising target now but still counting the takings at the moment!


Money, money, money

I haven’t posted a blog post in a while and I think it’s time for some long overdue thank yous!

The past month or so has been my most successful ever in terms of fundraising. With events, donations from people and grants from organisations, I raised over £1,300 in a week!

Old Wymondhamians Travel Award 

Without a doubt this would not have been possible without being awarded the travel award from the Old Wymondhamians.

The OWs award a grant of £750 to a Year 13 student who is undertaking some sort of gap year or travel in between leaving Wymondham and starting further education or work. Those who wanted to apply had to fill out an application and we (all two of us!) were invited to interview. I tend to get quite nervous standing up and talking in front of a group of people so the presentation and interview itself was a challenge! Anyway it turned out all my stressing about the interview was unnecessary as they were all very friendly and it actually went quite well. At least I think it must have done, seeing as I found out a few days later that I had been chosen as the recipient.

Cheque it!!

Cheque it!!

A week or so ago, I had the pleasure of meeting more of the OW committee members at one of their meetings which I had been invited to talk at. Thankfully I wasn’t as nervous as the first time and it was slightly more relaxed and informal. It was really great to meet some more Old Wymondhamians and have a chance to talk more about what I will be doing (if it wasn’t already clear, I’m quite excited!). I’d just like to say a big thank you to all the OW members for this generous grant, and also a particular thank you to Phil for all his help circulating my information and leaflets. This award has really helped me towards my target and I will definitely keep in touch with you all whilst I’m in Guyana. Thank you.

So with finding out about the travel award and then coming home to find a £300 cheque from another charitable trust! I was having a good week to say the least, but that was not the only fundraising that week!


Tea Party Time!

A wonderful family friend, Jeanne-Marie, who’s known me for many years wanted to help me with fundraising and kindly hosted an elegant Ladies Tea Party on my behalf. It was a brilliant afternoon (and evening!) with cakes and sandwiches made by various friends and a raffle with lots of prizes, including cake stands made by yours truly!

Tea Party Time!!

Tea Party Time!!

It was a really lovely afternoon and in total we took just over £250! So a massive thank you to Jeanne-Marie for such a wonderful day and all her friends and family for their generosity. It was a wonderful way to end my best fundraising week so far!


I am now well and truly in exam season, 4 exams down, 7 to go, so even busier with revision and exams now but I’ve almost reached my fundraising target! More on that next time though, I can hear the stats revision calling me 🙁

R x

p.s. I will add more photos (including tea party pics) to the gallery page as soon as I can get it up and running! The gallery editor thing doesn’t seem to work when I’m at school.

As promised, the next post!

So as promised, the next blog post! A little later than anticipated but I have been super busy with college work and revision, not to mention fundraising. I thought, as this is the first real post, I would explain a bit about what I’ve been up to so far being a Project Trust volunteer.

This time last year, I knew I wanted to do something before uni but I didn’t know what, and after hearing about Project Trust through various friends and a talk at college (from a returned vol, Charlie who went to Botswana), I loved the sound of PT and it just seemed like the perfect thing for me to do. I signed up the same week Charlie gave the talk in assembly and booked straight onto a selection course! I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I was on the August 5th-9th 2013 selection course, with some amazing people, on the Isle of Coll where Project Trust is based. The journey to Coll took a few days (it’s a long way!) and after a train from London to Edinburgh, a lift from Edinburgh to Glasgow (thank you Dad!), and a train from Glasgow to Oban, I arrived in Oban where I stayed overnight at Backpackers in order to get a very early ferry to Coll the next morning…the journey there was an adventure in itself! I didn’t meet any other fellow PT volunteers till I was stood outside the station at Oban trying to determine where the hostel was and frankly, looking rather lost! But I soon found another lost looking volunteer and we found our way to the hostel together where we soon relaxed and an evening of card games and chatting with the other volunteers shortly ensued. The selection course itself was an intense few days of workshops, talks, presentations, paper work, lazy bed digging, walking, biscuit eating, tea drinking and ceilidh-ing, but I enjoyed it so so much and came back from Coll exhausted but even more excited about the prospect of a year abroad with PT.

All that we could do now though was wait for ‘The Letter’ saying if we’d been accepted or not and confirming our top three country choices…needless to say, I was selected and my country choices were;

  1. Guyana
  2. Uganda
  3. South Africa.

Almost all volunteers end up going to their first choice and fundraise for that country placement but we have the other two countries as a back up in effect, just in case anything goes wrong at the projects volunteers are sent to or within the country.

Now, for the fundraising…!

In order to get to Guyana, I need to raise £5,600 for Project Trust, which covers pretty much everything I need, except jabs and visas. I have to admit, £5,600 sounds like an awful lot to raise and it is! But with the help of friends, family and some very generous strangers, I’ve almost reached my target! So far I’ve held more bake sales than I can remember, packed bags at my local supermarket, did a sponsored dress for a month, been a ‘Personal Tailor’, altering clothes for family and friends, sold jewellery and other handmade bits and bobs at Christmas fairs, received numerous donations from various individuals (check out the thankyou page), been baby sitting for neighbours, held a Burns Night supper and written almost 100 letters to grant giving foundations! It has been tough to fit it all in between college and exams, whilst still maintaining that all important ‘balance’ everyone talks about, but it has been a wonderful experience (so far!) and has really helped build my organisation skills and confidence, asking people for money is a lot harder than you might think!

My ‘journey’ as a PT volunteer so far has been incredible and I have loved (just about) every minute of it! It was really important to me that whatever I did during my year out was with an organisation I liked and felt comfortable volunteering for. Project Trust is a small charity and, as cliché as it sounds, really does feel like a family. The levels of support they provide really help make the whole experience so much more enjoyable and getting to know the staff and other potential volunteers over the selection course just made me fall in love with the charity as a whole, the way they work, what they stand for and how they look after and value their volunteers. I promise they haven’t made me say any of this either!

In short, just in case it hasn’t been clear, I can’t wait to go to Guyana and I am so excited about what next year will hold!

Anyways thank you for taking the time to read all this but that’s all for now. I’ve got more news and a very very exciting update coming very very very soon so stay tuned!! And for all those who were on my selection course… stay pulchritudinous! 🙂


Finally the first post!

Finally, the first post! I’ve been working on this blog for a while now, trying to set it up properly in between fundraising and school work but have only just got round to actually posting the first entry!

I’ll be updating this as often as I can all through the rest of my fundraising and preparations for going to Guyana. Although at the moment it’s mainly going to be for fundraising, it’s also a place where I can thank all the wonderful people who have helped and supported me with my mad ideas! Hopefully I’ll be able to update it occasionally whilst I’m in Guyana, although I don’t know how regularly. I’ll still be updating my Facebook fundraising page but this will have more information and generally more stuff on it!

I promise another update soon but thats all for now!

R x

Also a huge thank you to John for his help setting this up!