mindthegap is a small (but perfectly formed!) company specialising in responsible volunteer experiences for the gap year, career break, CSR and sabbatical traveller. We are proud to offer a number of sustainable community, conservation and education projects in Asia, the Americas and Africa that will match your good intentions and expectations, whilst remaining excellent value for you.

Our emphasis is to provide gap year and career break placements on responsible and sustainable volunteer projects that benefit communities in need of long-term, sustainable initiatives to sensitively equip their people with the ability to exist in the 21st Century and with the hope of improving the lives of future generations.

mindthegap is not one of the many companies sending thousands of volunteers to a choice of 200 projects in 30 countries. We focus on a handful of communities and are in it for the long-term, the right reasons and the benefit of all involved. We will also focus on every volunteer ensuring that you are as equipped as possible with the necessary skills before departure and that you have a thorough and reliable support system whilst travelling.

In fact these projects aren’t just any old projects that we have plucked from a database of destinations, as we do not act as a travel or marketing agents for third parties. All of our responsible volunteer programmes have been developed by us and with people we know and trust. We have personally traveled to all of the destinations to establish unique gap year programmes and volunteer experiences in which we are emotionally and financially involved. These are gap year projects that deliver sustainable development and have very real and positive impacts on the communities involved.

We personally know everyone involved with each volunteer programme as we have invested our time with each community, and will continue to do so in the future to maintain the closeness required to have a hope of delivering the very important objectives that we have set ourselves. We will continue to strengthen our ties over time by volunteering ourselves on each programme. This also has the benefit of helping to maintain the high standards of experience we expect for you, our volunteers and ensure that we remain in touch with what reasonable requests can be made of you as you benefit others with your knowledge.

So, who are we and why are we doing this?

We began as two, now we number eight. Initially the company was established around a kitchen table (as these things always are!) by Anna and Hamish who have been together for 20 years. mindthegap travel was borne out of a desire to help financially poor communities actually develop  and develop faster than perhaps normal, whilst providing genuine and responsible volunteer experiences that have a positive impact. We had heard stories of volunteers good work being torn down at the end of the placement, so that the next group could come in and rebuild the same! Others of schools being built, but no provision made for teacher salaries, so that potential classrooms lay empty and opportunities wasted. And the list goes on…but not with mindthegap.

Anna has been a brilliant teacher for the last 14 years and has extensive worldwide travel experience. She is notoriously superb at networking, and it is she really who is responsible for providing the inspiration for getting this whole thing off the ground in the first place.

A mother of three amazing children, with a total belief in the possibility of making the world a better place, she is a whirlwind-get-things-done sort of person – who more could you wish for to be taking care of preparation for your volunteer experience! She is involved with the training of teaching practices and sourcing placements in schools nationwide pre-departure to equip volunteers with necessary skills (see our Responsible Volunteering section)

Hamish has a first hand knowledge of over 35 countries world-wide, and is a speaker of 5 languages. With 15 year’s experience in the travel business, working as a tour guide originally before moving to the operations and the crisis management side of the industry, Hamish is well placed for organising every detail of your travel itinerary. He is adept at finding travel solutions and has a thorough knowledge of each countries travel logistics. Calm in a crisis, Hamish is able to resolve the problems that inevitably arise whilst abroad and as a consequence will ensure that your time away runs as smoothly as possible. It is Hamish who has been lucky enough to visit each of the project countries to set up and develop each of the programmes that offered here by mindthegap travel, meticulously ensuring all aspects of the volunteer experience are realistic, safe, beneficial and rewarding. He has already done what you are about to do, so relax and enjoy yourself!