News from the staff team and Trustees

Aug 27, 2019

Finally, 7 months after launch, we’re noticing that less of our conversations and communications are about the new website. We’re taking this to mean that either our members have got used to it, or that the new system has now bedded down and is working reasonably well. We’re happy to come to this realisation because it’s taken a lot out of the staff team and the info@wwoof.org.uk main inbox was always overflowing. Through the trying times we’ve always tried to remember this change is for the greater good, to promote a common world-wide WWOOF look and feel, with greater collaboration opportunities for the future.

There’s been a change in the staff team; Amanda Pearson has left us to work almost full-time for an equine therapy stables she already knew and loved. She hasn’t been directly replaced; rather her hours (two days a week) and tasks have been taken on by three of the remaining members of the team.

We’ve made a big decision around our newsletter and the way we communicate with members. Elaine, our editor for a number of years, did not want to continue in the role, feeling that the work-life balance had tipped in favour of work. Trustees had been wondering for a while whether we could justify continuing on with a paper newsletter, given that it was was costly to produce and sent only to our hosts and certain honorary members. Plus of course it used the physical resources of paper and ink. Elaine’s decision seemed to precipitate our thinking on this and we have taken the decision to discontinue the paper newsletter. We will continue on with a quarterly electronic newsletter, like this one. Do you think this is a good development? Is one electronic newsletter every quarter enough? Is there something particular in terms of content that you as members would like to see? We’d love to hear back from you – editor@wwoof.org.uk

Speaking of communications, we continue to get complaints from WWOOFers about hosts not responding to applications…and from host about WWOOFers not responding to their questions! So dear members, please do try and remember good communications are the key to a good WWOOFing visit and send timely messages to each other, because you both get frustrated when that doesn’t happen!

As some of you may know, WWOOF UK together with WWOOF Germany are offering the Christiane Schmidt Bursary in 2019 and 2020 to young German people, in memory of our beloved colleague Christiane. Christiane had such a passion for WWOOF and would be thrilled to know that these young people will have a similar amazing experience to hers. Merlin, Hannah and Judith have been awarded this year’s bursary, and have already started their adventures. We will be sharing their stories with you in the coming months and you can also follow #WWOOFUKbursary2019 on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with their experiences. Also, don’t forget to tag #WWOOFUK with your own pictures and experiences!

It’s been a very quiet summer for reports of immigration problems – especially in comparison to the relatively large number reported last year (9 incidents in 2018, and only 3 so far in 2019).  This is heartening, especially given the uncertainty around what might happen in the future for non-UK WWOOFers with the UK still proposing to leave the EU, and is perhaps a result of the work we’ve done to make sure border officials know what WWOOFing is.  We don’t want to be complacent though, and we continue to get advice and support from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (of which WWOOF UK is newly a member) about how to deal with immigration issues if they do become more of a problem.  We’d also encourage members to contact us if they hear of anyone receiving anything other than a welcoming nod when they enter the country, or if they themselves have been questioned or otherwise challenged at the UK border.

Lastly we have to remind you that our Terms and Conditions have altered slightly and they can be reviewed here https://wwoof.org.uk/how-it-works/terms-and-conditions

 

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