Volunteer in Portugal renovating homes

Travel Team

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
US pricing:
The currency converter above works on todays exchange rate. We do take bookings in USD but the price is set at a rate confirmed months in advance and is typically above the current exchange rate. Please enquire for details.
We are committed to taking care of the environment, both in our office in the UK and on our projects around the world. We are proud to say that we are working hard to eliminate the use of single use plastics on our conservation projects in Portugal.
Food is bought directly from the suppliers, and transported in cardboard boxes or reusable crates. The accommodation also where possible use vegetables and plants from their garden to produce the food on offer. All their plates, cutlery and cups are glass or ceramic. They store produce from our kitchens in glass jars, including tea, coffee, sugar, etc.
Cloth bags are provided for any shopping required, although all food is provided by the project. Volunteers are told where they can shop sustainably, such as markets and ethical shops in the local area.
The furniture in the accommodation’s rooms is made from upcycled old furniture and wooden waste. By law, in Portugal, they can't provide bar soaps at the toilets, for hygiene reasons. They do however refill the liquid soap dispensers with ecological biodegradable soap that they buy in big containers. They do not provide plastic bottles, cups or anything like that. All the toilet paper is recycled.
Volunteers can purchase re-useable bottles at the accommodation, however we do urge them to bring a bottle with them. We sell Chilly’s bottles to our volunteers before departure so that they can refill water bottles in the airport whilst travelling. Lisbon airport has free water dispensers so that volunteers can top up their water bottle on arrival, and they are briefed about this before departure. At the accommodation, drinking water is provided 24/7. Volunteers refill their water bottles before they go out on their projects. They can top up their water bottles whilst they are on their projects, so no plastic is required.
Cleaning products are sourced from all over Portugal to ensure that there is no single use plastic in the chain. Cleaning products are bought in bulk containers and refilled. On the marine conservation project, volunteers will come into contact with single use plastic as they may end up removing it from the sea. Any plastic collected is responsibly recycled. At the accommodation, they help visitors to transform plastic waste into new products like plates, cups or bottles which will then be used again by clients on their stay closing the plastic waste cycle.
The volunteer projects are all about reducing waste – particularly plastic. Education is a big part of what they do at the eco accommodation too and skill/tip sharing is part of the group activities they run. Each month they implement a new environmental project which helps us to idea share and keep things innovative.
Accessible overview:
There are challenges associated with volunteer travel, and these can make accessible travel difficult. However, we are very keen to chat with travellers with specific needs to see if we can make a trip possible.
Low carbon:
We are able to advise customers on train travel to Portugal, we can tailor advice for individuals. For Lisbon, there are two options: getting the bus from London to Paris to Lisbon (duration 32 hours) or the train from St Pancras Paris to Paris to Hendaye to Lisbon (duration 24 hours). There is a £50 discount for people that travel overland. The accommodation used on these trips is powered by solar energy. In addition, electric cars and public transport are used during the duration of the project.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Your accommodation
The accommodation that you will stay in is very sustainable. All furnishings are made out of recycled produce such as pallets. Fresh produce is purchased from a company that sells plastic free items that have been rejected by supermarkets because they don't look quite perfect. Domestic essentials such as washing up liquid and toilet rolls are purchased from Portuguese suppliers who do not use plastic. Any products that unavoidably contain plastic will be shredded so that they can be used in making further produce. The accommodation sells plastic-free deodorant, plastic-free toothbrushes and other plastic-free items. There are solar panels on the accommodation.

Protecting the world
We are passionate about encouraging our travellers to be kind to the environment as they travel. Each participant receives advice about how to care for the environment whilst they are away. This includes water usage, how to avoid single use plastic, and electricity usage.

We insist that all participants bring their own water bottles when they travel with us, and clean free water is always available. We have even created a water bottle that can be purchased before departure and encourage people to use it at all stages of their journey including at the airport, on flights and whilst on their project. We are striving for all of our projects to be free of single use plastic.

The Impacts of this Trip

The project
Most importantly, this project helps people in the local community who are living below the poverty line. Many of them are unable to maintain their homes to a good level, and this project is all about renovating their space to give them basic amenities - warmth, running water and comfort.

Supporting the local economy
Our participants spend money on food and leisure; rent is paid to the local landlord. Contractors who help with maintenance of the property have often come from life on the streets. They have been helped by charities to train them up in DIY and subsequently gain employment. Where possible, all maintenance is done by people who have lived on the streets or suffered hardships. Where possible, money is invested in the local economy and local staff are employed. We are passionate about supporting the local community, as without them, our projects could not run.

Cultural sensitivity
Our pre-departure briefing includes a special session entitled ‘Responsible Tourism’ where we discuss cultural differences and sensitivities as well as advising volunteers on appropriate conduct. People a briefed on what is considered polite in terms of eating, greeting and dressing. It is encouraged that all volunteers learn some Portuguese prior to departure, and they get a helping hand whilst out there as well.


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