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Local community celebrates growth of international charity

29 June 2012

An island based charity in Argyll is continuing to make a difference at home and abroad with a new extension allowing the recruitment of more staff.

Project Trust is an educational charity which sends school leavers aged 17-19 overseas on eight to twelve month volunteer placements in Africa, the Americas and Asia.

Based at the Hebridean Centre on the island of Coll, Project Trust employs 22 people but since opening its new extension is recruiting for an additional two desk officers.

Supported by £135,000 funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), the £388,000 expansion and refurbishment of the Centre was completed in mid-June. A Community Open Day was held last week (22 June) and gave the local school children, Coll residents and visitors the opportunity to look around and find out more about the charity's work.

Project Trust was founded in 1967 as an educational charity on Coll in North West Scotland. Since then it has sent over 6,000 volunteers overseas. Every year, the Project Trust sends about 300 volunteers from all across the UK to 23 countries and is widely respected as one of the most experienced and professional gap year organisations in Britain.

The Hebridean Centre was established by Project Trust in 1988 to provide residential accommodation for volunteers whilst on the island being trained prior to placement overseas. In 1990, phase two of the development saw some office space being added and staff being located in cabins on site. By 1993 office accommodation was completed and 10 members of Project Trust staff were based on Coll. In autumn 2008 Project Trust relocated the London-based recruitment team of six to the island.

Ingrid Emerson, the Chief Executive of Project Trust is delighted with the new facilities.

"We now have enough space not only for all of our staff to be located together, which was impossible before, but we are now recruiting to add to the team. All of our staff are based on Coll, and many of the staff are Project Trust Returned Volunteers. We have an extensive network of overseas contacts, all working together to give unrivalled support to our volunteers."

Douglas Cowan, HIE's Area Manager for Argyll and the Islands, said: "We are delighted to have been able to support Project Trust with the expansion and renovation of the Hebridean Centre. This building now provides the space for 24 members of Project Trust staff to be based on Coll, living in and contributing to the community.

"Not only does Project Trust provide young people with the opportunity to help in some of the most disadvantaged parts of the world, it also contributes a huge amount to the lives of those volunteers which the staff support so well, providing them with skills which are valuable in their further education and future careers. The two new staff will find themselves working for an innovative and inspiring organisation and we look forward to supporting Project Trust well into the future."

For further information on Project Trust and the two current vacancies, please visit: www.projecttrust.org.uk.
 


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