What is SKIP SOS?
SKIP Summer Overseas Support (SOS) is a service provided by the National Committee & Trustees of SKIP to ensure the safety of volunteers on project.
We work as a team to help make each volunteer’s experience as seamless and enjoyable as possible. Branches prepare volunteers for summer projects excellently but the nature of the countries we visit means the unexpected can always happen. We are prepared for any eventuality and work as a team to support the volunteers.
All SKIP SOS members receive training and follow set reporting procedures, working as team to support our volunteers.
What does it involve?
We have created a rota which ensures a member of the SKIP National Committee and one of the Trustees will be on call 24 hours a day throughout the summer period. This means there will be a specified person who is the first point of contact for volunteers on project.
Before they go on project, the SOS team will provide volunteers with all the contact numbers they need to get in touch with the SOS service directly. We also provide volunteers with colour-coded flow diagrams to help them decide who best to contact, for example project based issues are often best solved by the branch, tensions within a group may benefit from a member of the National Committee acting as a mediator whereas child protection issues are dealt with by the trustees. In summary, SOS acts as a liaison between volunteers, branches and next of kin to provide support to volunteers on project.
NC hotline number 05603641231
Trustee hotline number 05603641543
Project Coordinators should ensure that ALL volunteers know how to contact the SOS team during project! Remember, any child protection concerns go straight to the trustee hotline!
What issues can we deal with?
We are there to provide support in any situation which may arise. Between us we have years of experience; we have all been on project so understand how volunteers feel being away from home for the first time and can support them through the initial transition period.
We can provide an external perspective if tensions develop between volunteers or provide an ear if they just need someone to talk to. We are trained in child protection and can provide immediate advice if an incident arises.
We are also available if any health and safety concerns surrounding the project or individuals arise for example volunteer illness, theft or crime.
In the unlikely event that a serious incident does occur we have clear contingency plans for the SOS team to follow which, depending on the situation, may include:
- Facilitating and advising volunteers seeking medical advice or support from emergency services
- Liaising with in-country embassies and other officials
- Liaising with volunteers’ next of kin
- Evacuating a group if necessary eg development of civil unrest
- Utilising the SKIP Contingency Fund (see below)
Volunteers are also trained in these plans in their branch training sessions.
How can we help next of kin?
We have access to all the volunteer’s next of kin details therefore if any issues arise we inform the next of kin immediately with the volunteer’s consent. We can also act as a liaison between volunteers and families, ensuring everyone is kept informed and safe. We are available for both volunteers and next of kin to contact us about any issues that concern them throughout the summer period. For any concerns before summer, we are always contactable via email@example.com
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