Update: 12th September
All students overseas on the Kilimanjaro trek have now returned to the UK safely after completing their climb and extended travel accompanied by Jamie Oliver from the universities team at Practical Action.
We continue the process of working with our students to complete the CAA/ATOL claim procedure and are hopeful for a positive conclusion to this for everyone affected in the coming months. If you are an affected student and have any questions regarding the claims process please contact Jonny Randall from the universities team on 01926 634517 or firstname.lastname@example.org
We want to offer our sincerest gratitude to everyone who has offered kind words and support through this process and for the patience and understanding shown as we work to ensure the most positive outcome for everyone involved.
Update: 4th September
We have today received an update from the CAA regarding the claims process for affected participants. You can download and print the claim form (with guidance notes) by following this link: http://www.caa.co.uk/default.aspx?pageid=16371.
This claim form will enable you to recover funds paid to Student Adventures such as initial registration fees and payments for extension trips.
Please fill out the form electronically and email it to Practical Action so that we can complete section 15 and pass on to the CAA.
It is vitally important that claim forms come directly to us, as if we don’t receive the form before it goes to the CAA we will be unable to recover costs ourselves and will not be able to rearrange your trip in the future if this is what you wish. You will need to complete this claim form even if you are claiming back from your credit card provider.
Please can you return your form to us at the earliest possible opportunity, but no later than 12th September 2014. If you are unable to complete it in that time frame then please get in touch with Jonny on 01926 634 517.
All claims to the CAA HAVE to be approved and signed by Practical Action before a refund claim will be processed. Please email your completed forms and supporting documents to email@example.com and cc firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you again for your patience and support during this time, we truly appreciate it.
Update: 2nd September 2014
A representative from Practical Action’s Universities team (Jamie Oliver) arrived yesterday in Arusha and is meeting with extension trip providers to ensure that any extension trips for students in country go ahead.
We shall be contacting all next of kin again today to update them on the current situation.
In addition, we also have staff on standby in neighbouring Kenya ready to travel to provide additional support if it’s required.
The CAA has confirmed that all bookings made with Student Adventures are ATOL protected and they will not lose any money paid directly to the company.
We would encourage all students whose trips have been cancelled to contact the CAA/ ATOL for refunds of money paid directly to Student Adventures. Details are available via their website or by calling 020 7453 6700. This will apply to registration fees and any booked extension trips. The CAA have confirmed that they will be remunerating students for these losses.
We are now looking at the possibility of arranging alternative trips for students who have been unable to travel because of this. Please monitor this site for further updates.
There is a contact number for relatives and students who have questions and concerns about any fundraisers on the trip which will be answered by one of our UK fundraising team. The number is 01926 634416.
Any media enquiries should be directed to Abbie Wells on 07714 205342.
Update: 30 August 2014, 9pm
Below is an update from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on the situation regarding ATOL protection for student fundraisers travelling with Student Adventures.
To reiterate; Practical Action will be sending out staff from Kenya and the UK to ensure there is adequate support, accommodation and transport for all its student fundraisers in Tanzania. They are due to arrive before the fundraisers descend from Kilimanjaro and will remain with them throughout their time in Africa.
There is a contact number for relatives and students who have questions and concerns about any fundraisers on the trip which will be answered by one of our UK fundraising team throughout this weekend. The number is 01926 634416.
Any media enquiries should be directed to Andrew Heath on 07800 884267 .
Updated statement 29 August 2014, 5pm
Practical Action has confirmed that all 11 of its fundraising students in Tanzania who are about to climb Kilimanjaro will get accommodation tonight, during the climb and for their first night back after that. We understand that extension trip bookings made with Student Adventures in addition to the Kilimanjaro trip will not be honoured by the company.
Consequently, Practical Action has arranged for a member of our Kenyan staff and our universities fundraising team to meet the students following their descent from Kilimanjaro. They will be on hand to provide support and advice and to help with accommodation and travel arrangements. This will be provided for both Practical Action fundraisers and Meningitis Research Foundation fundraisers on the same trip.
There is currently one student fundraising for us in Peru. We have been assured that all accommodation and transport bookings for the trip will be honoured and we will continue to monitor this situation.
We have also been asked about refunds and compensation for the trip. Our understanding is that any fundraiser who received their ATOL certificate prior to March 2014 is fully protected. We are working with ATOL to understand the process and the amount that participants can claim back. ATOL’s crisis incident team are discussing the case and will advise us.
There is a contact number for relatives and students who have questions and concerns about any fundraisers on the trip which will be answered by one of our UK fundraising team throughout the weekend. The number is 01926 634416.
Any media enquiries should be directed to Andrew Heath on 07800 884267.
Statement issued 29 August 2014 at 10am
Following on from yesterday’s announcement that Student Adventures t/a GBCE Ltd have ceased to trade, we are working hard to discover more information on behalf of all our student fundraisers, RAG partners and adventure leaders.
We have been unable to speak to either Student Adventures UK staff or their accountants Smith Cooper so far today. We are now in the process of seeking professional legal advice. The situation is entirely out of the control of Practical Action. We had no prior indication or knowledge that student Adventures were in financial difficulty and only discovered the situation via a third party in the early evening yesterday.
There have been rumours that flights scheduled to depart today have been cancelled. We cannot confirm this. However, again we strongly urge all our fundraisers not to travel. Our primary concern at present is for the safety and wellbeing of participants due to fly out today, Friday 29th August, and Monday 1st September.
Whilst the status of today and Monday’s flights are unclear, we can confirm that no services will be available on arrival in Africa. Again, there will be no one to meet fundraisers at the airport, no accommodation bookings have been made and the Kilimanjaro Trek has not been arranged. Any travel would be undertaken at the student’s own risk and Practical Action strongly advises against travel, especially as we cannot guarantee that return flight bookings will have been made.
Our team has today spoken to Student Adventures overseas staff in Tanzania and can confirm that all participants currently on a challenge event are being well looked after, are proceeding with their itinerary as planned and have all of the expected support on their trip. We are requesting confirmation from Student Adventures that all nominated emergency contacts for students currently overseas have been spoken to and their questions answered. Please contact us on 01926 634437 if you are concerned about a loved one or family member currently abroad on a challenge event with Student Adventures.
We have also alerted Practical Action staff in Peru and Kenya and have put in place a contingency plan which will ensure that all students raising money for Practical Action will be given accommodation and support, should Student Adventures fail to provide adequate support for those who have already travelled. We will also offer the same support to students fundraising for Meningitis Research Foundation who are on the same trip.
We are continuing to call as many of our students to update them personally. If you would prefer to call us please ring Jonny on 01926 634517 or Jamie on 01926 634437. Out of office hours, please call 07880 671315.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our student fundraisers for the hard work that you have put into raising money for some of the poorest and most vulnerable families around the world over the last year and your commitment to preparing for what should have been a trip of a lifetime and your generous support of Practical Action. We are truly sorry many have been disappointed and shall endeavour to keep everyone updated with information as soon as we receive it.
Whilst we have nothing further to share at this point, we would like to emphasize that the organisation is working hard to keep everyone affected updated as we discover more news and understand that all affected parties will be distressed by these events. We shall provide an updated statement when we have received more information. If we have received no further clarification by 3.30pm today we shall share any progress that we have made at 4pm today, Friday 29th August.
If you would like to make a media enquiry please do not contact Jonny or Jamie as it is crucial that they speak with as many Practical Action student fundraisers as possible at this difficult time. Instead, please contact our Media Officer, Andrew Heath, via email (Andrew.Heath@practicalaction.org.uk) or telephone him directly on 01926 634552, or 07800 884267 out of office hours.
Practical Action uses technology to challenge poverty in developing countries.
Our strength is our approach. We find out what people are doing and help them to do it better. Through technology we enable poor communities to build on their skills and knowledge to produce sustainable and practical solutions - transforming their lives forever and protecting the world around them.
By doing this each year we help around a million people break out of the cycle of poverty ... for good.