The XChange Scotland annual report provides an overview of our key results and achievements during 2015/2016. You can click here to downland our report.
Nice to meet you all! My name is Michaela and, for a few more days, I’m 1/3 of our unique EVS squad responsible for coordination of European projects at Xchange Scotland.
Here is a story of my restless life in a nutshell. I grew up in a beautiful wee town surrounded by vineyards and sun on the borders of the Czech Republic and Austria, Mikulov, my first and always home. 19 years after, I chose Brno to be my second home of never-ending nights, university exams, best friends and fun. As a wee fidgety getting bored by my small summer volunteering and holiday getaways, straight after starting my masters in European studies in business and economics (yes, I love Europe!) in Brno I applied for an Erasmus programme to study abroad. And then came Crete, my third and sunniest home, where many friendships-for- life were sealed and where I finally understood I will always be atorn-heart wanderer. Chuffed to be selected as an Intern at Xchange Scotland, after 6 months in the azure Mediterranean I arrived to my coldest home number 4, Scotland, in July 2014. And here the Glasgow story starts for me.
Conceitedly thinking I have learnt much more in only 6 months as an intern then in 4 years as a university student (I’m sorry, my dear Mendel university, I now know it’s not that straightforward), I didn’t think twice when I was offered the chance to spend one more year with the Xchange Scotland’s dream team. Although for the same organisation and with a previous knowledge of the programme, my EVS experience at Xchange Scotland was very different to my internship. At start I was convinced nothing could surprise me but, unexpectedly, I was challenged in many ways. Not sure if it had to do with me getting older and emotional, internal changes within the organisation, hard times writing my dissertation, studying university and working at once, or just the fact that EVS experience really is VERY DIFFERENT. Need to say, my hard times have been balanced greatly by I-will- never-ever-forget times, professional experience I’ve gained, people I’ve met and places I’ve seen. I was given a great responsibility to coordinate European projects and it’s participants in Scotland and abroad, develop trainings and presentations, collaborate on promotion, set up and maintain new partnerships with local and international organisations and much more. I was part of an inspiring team that have always supported my talents and ideas and never put me down.
I love Scotland for giving me so many opportunities to progress, its people turning into shiny stars when the sun (finally, OMG!) peeps out from grey clouds, all the ‘cannaes’, ‘bonnies’ and ‘wees’, its nature, ceilidh & kilts. And I hate Scotland for its never-ending rain, long winters, ciders for £3 (Have you been ever boozing in Czech?) & missing my friends, family and my wee cat every day. Yeah, it’s gonna be difficult and challenging. And you’re gonna feel lonely, homesick and struggle sometimes. BUT. You’re gonna love yourself for taking up that challenge, grow up, develop and learn things you could never learn just hanging in in your comfort zone.
And if you feel like you cannae do it today, it’s a sign that you should have done it already tomorrow. Just for the fact that today would have been so much easier for you. Pilot your life the right way, don’t sit back and don’t relax. You don’t know yet, but there’s too much to lose.
“Spread the action!” it´s our new project where we’re aiming at supporting and inspiring practitioners and group / community leaders to tackle sectarianism and discriminations and to promote empathy in an appropriate and relevant way to their practice and the groups they’re working with. On the 14th June we host the first training event of this project at the Pearce Institute in Govan. A group of change makers from Police Scotland Youth Volunteers, Alternatives to Violence Project, YouthScotland, Scottish Fire&Rescue Service, Youth Link and Xchange Scotland gathered on the day to reflect on the topics of sectarianism and wider discriminations and to gain understanding about effective practice to break those barriers down with the groups they work / are part of.
We did that by using resources available on the Xchange Scotland Online Resource and on the Action on Sectarianism.
Our education work is about expanding people’s horizons and challenging barriers, real or perceived; barriers that can keep us apart and hold us back -as individuals and communities. Unfortunately, those barriers seem to be taking over reality: challenging our humanity and testing our empathy. That’s why for us, it seems especially important to keep communicating to build understanding, not to hurt. To communicate to exchange ideas, diverse ways of being and points of views, not to be right. To communicate to develop and to learn, not to punish. To communicate to share what we care about, not to escape of or to create fear. By doing this, building on the work done as part of the Tackling sectarianism programme part of the Scottish Government – CommunitySafety Unit, we hope to put the topic of sectarianism in context with other issues such as community development, identity and belonging, in order to raise awareness of the benefits of living in more supportive and inclusive communities.
Many possibilities to be explored and to reflect upon. From now till the end of the year, we’ll keep offering training sessions because the more we share, the more we grow and the more we learn! If you like what you read, keep in touch and join one of the next sessions:
NEXT TRAINING DATE: Wednesday
24th August, 10 – 4pm. In Glasgow
(venue to be confirmed).
TO APPLY / FIND OUT MORE: drop us a line at email@example.com
Who is Xchange Scotland?
We are charity set up by young people in 2007 and based in Glasgow, at the Kinning Park Complex. Our aims and objectives are related to personal and community development and the promotion of active global citizenship and intercultural understanding through non-formal education and international volunteering projects. Through these projects, people gain new skills, new learning and new connections!
Are you volunteering? Want to gain a nationally recognised qualification that is done inyour own time with support from Xchange Scotland?
As part of Xchange Scotland’s summer programme, we are offering anybody connected to our summer projects the chance to be supported through the Community Achievement Award created by Kelvin College, it an award that recognises your achievement as a volunteer and allows you to gain 4 levels and a HNC in Community Achievement.
The Community Achievement Award is widely recognised by employers, universities and colleges around Scotland. The qualification is a form of recognition for your volunteering. It is great for volunteers who are hoping to achieve a qualification as part of their volunteer journey, great for the next steps in volunteer management, community work and a perfect stepping stone for building your confidence and meeting new people.
Chat with us first or attend an Info session at the Kinning Park Complex community meal, every Thursday evening 5-7pm. Or alternatively we can come to you by meeting for a coffee ,by skype or by phone. We speak with you about the time it will take to complete your award, what is involved and assess your current volunteering role to see what level you can start at.
Want to do it in Groups?
If you are doing it as a group or in pairs, then we can meet up with you all so you are all completing at the same time. You need to fill in an enrolment form and reflection log for every level; we go through this with you!
Commitment: As long as YOU need it get through the level your on!
We want to then celebrate with you!
We will invite you to our celebratory event in the Scottish Parliament in December 2016 to present you with your qualification and give you the chance to meet others who have been doing it too!
You should expect Xchange Scotland to keep in touch with you and support you in gaining as many levels of the qualification as you and we see fit. You should also expect us to keep in contact with you and send your qualification off to be assessed. You should also expect us to keep you motivated and to keep you volunteering in the local opportunities! All we need from you is motivation and to get excited about gaining a qualification for you’re volunteering!
For more info Contact info: Shelley Talbot- Project Coordinator: Shelley@xchangescotland.org or call us on 0141 237 2430
On the 6th of October, Xchange Scotland is organising a Gathering Event in the Pearce Institute, Govan and you’re invited!
The Xchange Scotland Gathering is an event for the volunteers who have been away on projects overseas; volunteers who have helped with the projects here in Scotland and those interested in getting involved in Xchange Scotland. This year is an extra special Gathering, as it is our 5th anniversary as an organisation!
So, the plan is to get everyone together in the afternoon to share their volunteer experiences and stories. We have been making some short films about what volunteers have been involved with too – which will be shown. It will be a chance to meet other volunteers, celebrate the achievements and look at further opportunities with Xchange Scotland.
In the evening, we plan to have some food and a Ceilidh to celebrate our 5th anniversary. For sure, there will be cake, music and lots of fun. Be sure to put the date in your diary, see you there!
Xchange Scotland will be hosting a very special, residential training event this May. The course is focused on leadership and training volunteers up to be team leaders on international volunteer projects in Scotland this summer…
The leader’s training will be a fun, informal and, hopefully, really engaging and interesting 3 days. It is particularly relevant for folks who have done an international volunteer project before. But it is also open to those that haven’t. The training is for those who may be interested in getting more involved with Xchange Scotland and being involved helping out as a team leader on one of our international volunteer projects in Scotland and beyond. We would love to invite you along to this event.
As a contribution to some of your accommodation and food costs for the weekend, we will be asking for £30 from each participant. Participant will have to organise their own travel to the training, but you will be able to get your travel costs refunded at the training 🙂
If you are wanting to apply to be a part of the training course, please complete the form here by following this link. Any questions, comments or suggestions, do not hesitate to get in touch.
Congratulations to those that took part in the Xchange Scotland sponsored abseil – on a gorgeous sunny summer afternoon in Clydebank! To the brave who took on the might of the Titan Crane and won 🙂 We salute you! The money you raised will make an important difference towards supporting Xchange Scotland’s activities in the future. To all those who put their hands in their pockets – a big THANK YOU 🙂
Xchange Scotland are pleased to offer 5 places on a Youth Exchange this March on the topic of Creative Activism. The exchange will bring 6 groups from different countries around Europe together for 9 days of creativity in Berlin. The goal of the exchange will be to create content for the 6th edition of Masta magazine. The exchange is open to any 16-28 year olds…
Xchange Scotland has been involved in previous editions of the magazine. ‘Masta’ is the serbo-croat word for ‘imagination’ – and each magazine is made up of material (photos, designs, articles, reports, posters) produced by groups around Europe. The magazine is then edited in Berlin, published and distributed throughout Europe and further afield.
The exchange is funded by the Youth In Action programme, so the expenses for food and accommodation will be covered, as will 70% of the airfare. The participants only need to contribute the further 30%.
Thanks to all who came to the exhibition to celebrate 1 year of Loesje Scotland and 25 years of Loesje International.
For those unable to make it, there was a celebration of the work made possible by the Youth In Action programme. The event exhibited the work of Loesje Scotland done through Youth In Action projects in posters, magazines and books. It also featured the 25 year history of Loesje…
Also, there was an opportunity to find out more about the Youth In Action programme and how you can get involved. On top of this, Loesje International is celebrating its 25th birthday. So, there was also a poster-writing workshop at the exhibition – open to anyone (see posters attached).
If you want any more information about Loesje or the Youth in Action programme please do not hesitate to contact us.