Raleigh is a youth and education charity established in 1984 and runs adventure and challenge expeditions for 17-24 year olds (venturers) from a wide range of backgrounds, nationalities and life stages with the aim of increasing the leadership skills of young people and their awareness of their role as active global citizens.

Since 1984, more than 30,000 people have taken part in Raleigh’s expeditions, approximately 700 venturers and 200 volunteer managers each year. Expeditions are made-up of a diverse mix of participants.

Raleigh also recruits ‘volunteer managers’ aged 25 and above – with no upper age limit – who are selected on the basis of their specialist skills, as well as their energy, enthusiasm, leadership, team working and motivational skills.

Where do Raleigh’s expeditions take place?
Raleigh runs approximately 12 expeditions a year – to Borneo (Malaysian), Costa Rica & Nicaragua and India.

How long does an individual expedition last with Raleigh?
Raleigh’s full expeditions last 10 weeks for venturers and 13 weeks for volunteer managers who receive an additional period of in-country training.  

For those short on time but not enthusiasm, there is also the option for venturers to take part in a five week expedition during the summer, which lasts eight weeks for volunteer managers.

What is involved in an expedition with Raleigh?
During a full 10-week expedition venturers will work on three projects: community, environmental and adventure. At certain times of the year young people can opt to do just one (3 ½ weeks) or two (7 weeks) of the project phases. On the five week expedition venturers will have the option of choosing either a community or environmental project, as well as taking part in a week’s team-based adventure challenge.

The community phase includes projects such as installing gravity-feed water systems in remote Nicaraguan villages, constructing eco-sanitation units in Indian villages or building kindergartens in Borneo; the environmental phase could include working to transform a former prison island off the coast of Costa Rica into a wildlife refuge or building elephant trenches in India; and the adventure phase sees participants trekking through diverse landscapes such as rainforests, tea plantations, climbing volcanoes or perhaps learning to dive and conserving coral reefs in Borneo.

Raleigh has a permanent field base and permanent staff in each of its expedition countries which means that we can build relationships with host government ministries, local NGO’s and communities to ensure that the projects are genuinely needed, worthwhile and sustainable.

Volunteer managers will either work as project managers facilitating groups of venturers to carry out the projects, usually on one project for the entire 10 weeks, or at field base in a variety of roles supporting the smooth running of the expedition. eg. In administration, finance, logistics, communications, medicine, photography.

All venturers and volunteer managers receive comprehensive training both in the UK and once out in country.

How do young people benefit from undertaking an expedition with Raleigh?
As a youth and education charity Raleigh’s emphasis is on helping young people realise their potential, and taking part in an expedition facilitates an increase in self-confidence, the building of skills such as team working, leadership, planning and problem-solving, as well as a pride and satisfaction from helping others through immersing young people in new and challenging situations.

Education and career prospects are enhanced through taking part in an expedition, as well as  giving young people a chance to become more socially, environmentally and globally aware. Young people interact and work in groups with team members from diverse backgrounds, making lifelong friends in the process. Plus, participants get a rare opportunity to experience remote off-the-beaten locations, which very few tourists get to see – opening their minds to new opportunities in their future.

Both venturers and volunteer managers taking part in Raleigh’s structured expeditions get the opportunity to take part in tangible and meaningful projects benefitting others, whilst having a challenging adventure of a lifetime in remote destinations well and truly off the tourist routes.  

Raleigh works with many employers who recognise the benefits of a Raleigh core expedition or bespoke expedition for their employees eg. UBS offers their interns a 5-week expedition with Raleigh as part of their UBS Horizons scheme. The Ministry of Defence has a secondment programme which involves some of their employees undertaking a Raleigh expedition each year, and we run graduate training programmes for Cap Gemini in the UK.