These real life stories will give you an idea about what you might gain from volunteering with Camphill.
We will do everything we can to ensure that any new immigration system continues to enable Camphill communities in Scotland to benefit from the wonderful contribution of volunteers from Europe.
We value our European volunteers just as much as ever. Indeed, Brexit has led us to cherish our European connections even more than before.
That goes for international volunteers of all nationalities. For those outside Europe we will continue to support you through the established process to obtain a Tier 5 Charity worker visa.
Camphill was founded in 1939 by Austrian refugees and remains a profoundly European and international movement. In any Camphill community you will find a rich mix of different cultural and national backgrounds. We see this as a great strength of the Camphill movement and we are doing everything we can to preserve it during the Brexit process and beyond.
There are many reasons why choosing to join Camphill is a great idea. You may wish to visit Scotland, improve your English, mix with different cultures, gain practical skills, develop your people skills, experience life in community or share interests with others.
Whatever your reasons for thinking about joining us, we expect you to be interested in working with people with learning disabilities or other support needs.
It’s messy, chaotic, challenging and difficult. And I love it because of that – it’s real life. It’s also fun, fulfilling, rewarding, joyful and life enhancing
Jake, long term co-worker, Newton Dee
After your initial induction training you would be asked to provide support in a variety of forms, depending on which community you join. You might help out in classrooms, cafes, farms or a wide range of craft and food workshops. You will most likely provide one to one support to people with a learning disability or other support needs around dressing, personal hygiene, mealtimes, recreational activities and participation in the daily work routine.
You will normally be part of a house community, led by a long term Co-worker, where you will live together with other volunteers and a number of residents with learning disabilities. General tasks such as meal preparation, cleaning and evening activities in the house are shared out amongst all residents.
You will take part in regular house and community meetings held to discuss aspects and arrangements of practical daily life or matters of wider community significance.
As a new volunteer you will be required to complete a programme of induction training. This will cover the policies and procedures relevant to your host community and the tasks that you will be doing. You will learn about the community’s underlying philosophy, which may include an introduction to anthroposophy or social pedagogy.
The minimum acceptable age is 18 years. Whilst there is no upper age limit most short term volunteers are aged between 18 and 26.
Accommodation is provided within the community for free. In a small community you may live in a home with a Co-worker, people with learning disabilities and other volunteers. Larger communities have separate volunteer accommodation.
You will have a bedroom to yourself, but are likely to share a bathroom.
Mealtimes are important in communities. Meals are regularly eaten together around a table, often using organic home grown and home made food. You will probably help with food preparation, setting tables and clearing up afterwards.
Most communities can cater for special diets, such as vegan or coeliac but do check this with the host community.
Some communities, particularly schools, have clear arrangements for working times and time off on a daily and weekly basis for volunteers. These are usually determined by the necessities of weekly timetables.
In adult communities working and free times are often arranged on a more flexible basis.
You will receive free accommodation, food and a small allowance to cover personal needs whilst here.
Your travel costs to and from the host community are normally your responsibility.
Most communities provide free wi-fi, but due to the rural nature of some communities you may find that hot spots are hard to find.
Please bring your own phone, laptop or tablet.
Many of the people that we support have speech impairments and can find talking and understanding speech difficult and sometimes frustrating. Volunteers therefore need to have a good command of spoken English.
Your spoken English may be assessed during interview.
The weather in Scotland is variable. It may be warm, cold, snowy, wet, windy, sunny, sometimes all in the one day, so come prepared.
Think about dressing in casual layers (such as jeans, t-shirt, cardigan/jumper) and wearing closed, secure footwear (such as trainers). Bring warm clothes with you, especially for outdoors, though you can often buy cheap, warm clothes in charity shops once you’re here.
A waterproof jacket, plus scarf, hat and gloves and sturdy outdoor shoes will be useful in most communities.
Some volunteers recommend bringing bed socks!
You don’t need to bring bed linen or a towel with you.
The minimum length of stay is usually 6 months, but some communities expect volunteers to commit to a year and some expect volunteers to commit to a full academic year.
For shorter stays, see ‘Can I Volunteer For Less Than a Year?’.
If you are applying from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) see ‘Can I Apply if I Don’t Live in Europe?’ to find out how long you can stay.
Whilst communities generally prefer volunteers to stay for 6 months to a year, some communities offer short-term placements, though due to coronavirus restrictions and precautions this option is not always available. Often this will be as a summer volunteer between June and August, where you will be involved in field work on a farm or garden and be part of a house community.
Short term placements are sometimes available at other times of the year and for different tasks. You generally won’t receive any significant training and you will not have unsupervised access to residents.
Short term student placements are also offered (see ‘Do You Offer Study/Work Placements?’ section).
If you are a citizen of a country outside the European Economic Area (EEA) you will require UK entry clearance. You can only apply for this once you have been accepted and invited by a community. As a prospective Volunteer you will apply for entry clearance to UK Immigration under the Tier 5: Charity Workers route. The community that has accepted you as a volunteer will send you a unique Certificate of Sponsorship (a number) that you will need to apply for your visa. Your visa will be valid for working and living in a particular Camphill community only and will limit your stay to 12 months maximum.
Once you have been accepted as a volunteer, the community will send you guidance on how to apply for your visa. At the end of the visa period you will have to return to your home country. Should you wish to stay for a further period in the same or a different UK community then you will need to make a new UK visa application from your home country. Such a further stay in the UK may or may not be granted.
In some situations communities will be looking to recruit a volunteer of a particular gender. While all communities uphold the principles of non-discrimination this need arises at times to preserve the privacy and decency of residents who require close personal care.
No. However, life in Camphill is lived in tune with Christian and general humanistic ideals and the Christian festivals are often celebrated. In some communities there are regular services.
Those of a different faith or persuasion also make a valued contribution to the social and spiritual life of a community and we encourage them to do so.
A 30 day maximum rule has been introduced post Brexit for school placements. Because of Covid restrictions this means that short term placements cannot be supported in 2021. We hope that this might change in 2022.
You will be asked to supply the names and contact details of 2 people who can tell us about your skills, experience and character. The referees must have known you for at least two years, and should not be a friend or family member.
You may be asked to supply information about your general state of health, including any allergies or chronic conditions which might affect your work, such as back pain, migraines, hay fever etc.
A criminal records check is a background check to identify if you have been involved in any criminal activity that would disqualify you from volunteering. Once a community has confirmed that they would like you to apply, it will be your responsibility to complete this form as part of your application.
For long term co-worker and/or salaried vacancies please visit Vacancies. Not all vacancies are advertised on our website, so you may also wish to visit each community’s website for a full list of their recruitment opportunities.