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Our Responsible Approach

Empowering communities

We created our charitable trust, the 'Be the change Foundation', so that we could do more to support the work of our Create the Change Foundation partners and the surrounding communities. We want to help each community we work with to stand on their own two feet, so that in years to come they will no longer need our volunteer support and we can move on to help another charity in need. We empower local people in a number of ways: 

We use our volunteer programme to fundraise for sustainable futures

Many of the volunteers who have taken part in one of our experiences want to continue to support the people they have met on their return home. We want to facilitate as much support for our community partners as possible and we want to ensure that the additional funds volunteers may provide are spent in a way that achieves maximum benefit for the community. Because of this, we create a fundraising initiative for each new community partner we work with that focus on helping the community to learn new skills and develop a sustainable income, allowing them to lead independent, healthy and prosperous lives.  

Two examples of our fundraising efforts for communities in Gambia:



There are very few opportunities available in the Wellingara community in Gambia. Most adults living there cannot read or write, and many do not speak English, which is the primary language in Gambia. Because of this, jobs are limited and families often struggle to get by. To help the people of Wellingara, Holiday with a Heart is fundraising to enable 157 women develop new skills and provide them with the equipment and materials required to set up their own micro business, making and selling soap. The money raised through the micro business then goes back into the community, funding children’s education and healthcare. By being a volunteer in Gambia you will be able to help us raise valuable funds for this and other worthwhile projects.


During the hot season fruit is plentiful in Gambia, so much so that great swathes of mangos and other fruits are wasted. But when the rainy season comes, the people often barely have enough food to eat. Because of this we are fundraising to help the Balabu community learn new skills and acquire the equipment necessary for them to create a micro business, drying and packaging fruit for sale. We will also provide the community with guidance and support to help them develop local partnerships to sell their produce. If you are keen to volunteer in Africa, these projects and many more like them will benefit greatly from your support.

“Empowering both people and our planet is at the heart of what we stand for and we will never forget our purpose: to empower positive change and enrich lives.” Claire Atkinson, CEO of Holiday with a Heart

Step into Work programme

At each of our worldwide volunteer travel locations we offer the Step into Work apprenticeship programme, which provides training and employment to a local person who, due to social prejudice or circumstance, has previously lacked opportunity. The Step into Work apprentice will be trained by the local Holiday with a Heart representative for a period of six months to one year, learning everything they need to know about the role. At the end of their placement, the apprentice can either chose to stay on with us as a representative or use their experience to get a job in the tourism industry with our full support.

Meet Bakary:


Bakary is 29 years old and has 8 brothers and sisters. He is the sole breadwinner following the early death of his father, supporting the family on the equivalent of just £4 per day. Bakary dreams of going to college to learn IT and receiving a further education and the Holiday with a Heart apprentice scheme will allow him to achieve his dreams.

“I’m delighted to be given this opportunity and to work for a company that does so much good for my country.”

How we support our Create the Change Foundation partners

Respecting local people

Holiday with a Heart has a deep respect and understanding of the culture and customs of the places we work. We endeavour to protect the heritage, uphold local traditions and treat people with the respect they deserve. Because of this, we brief all our participants who are volunteering abroad both before and during their trip. This not only ensures they are aware of the unique characteristics of their destination, but also to help them sustain its unique character and broaden their volunteer travel experience. We ask each of our volunteers to agree to our volunteer code before taking part in one of our experiences, so that they understand what behavior and attitude is expected of them throughout the day.


Holiday with a Heart has a strict policy against participants giving money, gifts or sweets when contributing to a project. We strongly believe in empowering the local community to work themselves to a better lifestyle, so hand outs are not a sustainable solution. If participants really want to support the people they have met during their experience, Holiday with a Heart will communicate how they can support the sustainable fundraising project which will enable the Create the Change Foundation and its people to become more independent.


We also ask people not to take photos when visiting our projects. However, we do understand our volunteering abroad participants would like a record of their experience, so our representative will be sure to take plenty of photographs each day. Each Holiday with a Heart representative has been trained to ask the permission of the local people before taking a picture, which we do to ensure that the rights of the local people are upheld, as not everyone wishes to have their photo taken. As well as this, it will leave your hands free to get on with enjoying your volunteering abroad experience.

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