Volunteer FAQ

What experience do I need?

None. Volunteers need no experience of working with adults with additional needs. Just bring an open mind and a willingness to get involved and to take responsibility in the house and at work. We like you to be with us for at least a year to experience the cycle of the seasons and festivals.

We sometimes have opportunities for people to work with us for a shorter period, especially in the summer months.

Those wishing to make a long-term (more than one year) commitment to our community should ideally have experience with us or other Camphill communities.

Will I receive training?

All volunteers attend an induction and ongoing foundation course.  Our social care partner Avalon will provide the mandatory training and assessment to become a Shared Lives volunteer carer. Other ‘on-the-job’ training is given according to the work you do.

What about pay?

Co-workers living in Camphill communities are not paid directly for the work they do. Their needs are met from the resources of the community.

As a volunteer you will not be paid for your work, but all food and accommodation is provided for you. If your stay is longer than three months we reimburse your expenses up to 130 pounds per month.

Please note that we do not reimburse your travel costs either to or from our community nor your visa costs. We do reimburse your Health care surcharge.

What about insurance and medical cover?

During your stay with us as a volunteer, you are eligible for free medical care under the UK National Health Service (NHS). If your stay is longer than two months you must register with the service and we will accompany you to the local NHS surgery in Danby during your first days here, where they will help you complete the necessary registration documents. Please note, however, that guests are not eligible for free NHS dental or optical treatment so you are advised to have any treatment you need done in your own country before arrival, otherwise you will have to pay for such appointments yourself.

Each house carries a stock of basic first-aid medicines and remedies if you need them.

Your personal possessions will be covered by our insurance policy to a limited extent.

Where will I live?

Those who join us have a room of their own in one of the houses and live as members of the household. Our houses are comfortable with modern conveniences. Mealtimes are shared with everyone in the house as is the rest of your home life.

What work will I do?

Almost anything related to the life of our Community!

In supporting those in your household with special needs you may help them with their personal hygiene, care of their possessions, their participation in the working day, and social, recreational and educational activities.

At home there is cooking, cleaning, gardening, and you will probably also be involved with one of our workplaces – the health shop, the market garden, craft workshop or ground maintenance.

Will I get time off?

Being involved in our community is a way of life, not a job. So we try not to create on and off times, as the intention is to share our lives. But everyone gets time to themselves and for leisure, and you will have a day at the weekend where you can feel free to go out as you wish.

Can I go on holiday?

You are entitled to twenty-four days per year, but usually after your first three months — we want you to settle in first. Please ensure that your holiday arrangements are agreed with your household before booking and we ask that you do not plan your holiday during festival times. Please note that you must cover your own holiday expenses.

We would suggest that you don’t arrive with pre-arranged holiday dates and commitments where possible.

What if I have problems?

New volunteers have an experienced co-worker as a community friend, to whom they may turn with any problems or questions.

After three months with us a meeting with your friend and those responsible for your household, work and foundation course tutor will discuss how you have settled-in and see if any changes are needed.

Habitual use of alcohol or drugs is not in harmony with our shared community life.

Do I need to speak English well?

You need to be able to communicate well with everyone in our community, so you must be able to speak English reasonably well on arrival.

Must I be a practising Christian?

No. We live our lives according to Christian principles and welcome those of any persuasion who respect this aspect of our community life.