Volunteering as a "Coworker"
Living in a Camphill community presents a challenge for most people. To share one's life with adults with a disability that you have never met before in a communal setting can be demanding and tiring, especially in the beginning when there is much to learn. Yet it can be intensely interesting, full of humour and good fun, and at the same time imbue people with idealism.
Many of volunteers come from abroad and take a gap-year or career break to work with adults or children with special needs but we also get a number of local volunteers to help us. Being in Camphillis a a great and memorable experience and for many return home having acquired a different perspective of life.
What can you expect as a co-worker?
- A warm welcome by your chosen host community.
- An introduction to all the members of your host house community.
- A well-appointed private bedroom and use of adjoining bathrooms.
- A warm meal and general orientation to the house and community life.
- An introduction to the Health and Safety and fire evacuation procedures relevant to the house and your accommodation.
- Presentation of a welcome pack which includes names and contract details of persons in charge of different areas of community life. General information on local health services and transport. A detailed document on codes of practice and conduct required in community life.
- As soon as suitable without delay a guided tour of the whole community, including other house communities, workshops, gardens, farm, and orchards. Facilities will vary from community to community whether rural or urban.
- An introduction to the areas of life and work in the community where you will participate. These may include assisting and supporting, under supervision, people with social care support needs in the house or workshop. Workshops may include farming, gardening, estate management, food preparation and table serving in café settings, baking, weaving, candle making, pottery, wood crafts. Workshops will vary from community to community. Training and guidance will be given to support you in these areas of life and work.
- You will be required to attend, participate in and complete all mandatory trainings such as health and safety, fire, manual lifting, hygiene, food safety.
- You will be rostered on a time basis up to 50 hours per week to assist in the house or workshop tasks or a combination of both.
- Recreation time may be spent in the community or off site.
- Vacation arrangements will vary according to the length of time volunteering.
- You will be given an agreed amount of money per week in cash or direct to your nominated bank account to cover personal needs, recreation, and vacation.
- A nominated mentor will be available to assist and advise you at regular intervals or as required.
- An exit interview will take place shortly before the end of your volunteering time for mutual feedback.
- You may find it sad and a little emotional leaving the community when it comes to saying goodbye to newly formed friendships.
- Ireland is your host country. It may have different weather, laws and customs than your home country.