Volunteer FAQs

Challenge or "Real life Experience"?

When you join us, you will be part of a group of people who wish to live a very special kind of community life. There is a diverse group of nationalities working in Camphill Holywood, each individual contributes with their own qualities and strengths.  People who come to volunteer with us can share in rewarding experiences, learn new skills, grow within themselves and meet many new friends. Our experience has taught us that you will find life in a Camphill Community very rewarding and fulfilling.

How old do I need to be to volunteer?

If you want to work closely together adults with learning disabilities, you will be aged at least 18 before volunteering with us.  We do however accept applications from volunteers who are 16 or 17, often coming to us for a short placement.  We have no upper age limit, if you can do the role, you are welcome to come to Camphill Holywood.  Each volunteer's application is considered individually.

What kind of person are you looking for?

All community members, whether volunteer or employed come to live in community because they have a genuine interest in building community with others, supporting adults and contributing to our ethos of inclusion and equality of opportunity.  We work with adults with learning disabilities and other needs, it is important therefore that you are willing to work with people, to support individual growth and foster tolerance, flexibility and kindness. 

Sometimes work in community, and work with other people can bring challenges and can be hard, we have a good work ethic here and we support each other to overcome difficulties and to learn the skills required to take on the various roles.  The ideal volunteer is open-minded, willing to learn and accept guidance. 

To foster a spirit of community and inclusiveness we all need to be able to communicate in a common language, English.  You should therefore be able to communicate verbally in English and be able to read and write in English. 

What kind of committment do I need to make?

Volunteer co-workers who live-in and would like to support adults with learning disabilities usually commit initially for 6  - 12 months at minimum, this is because it takes a lot of time and resources to ensure you have the right training needed for the role.  Volunteers however can commit for one day a week or a few hours per day, we only ask that you are realistic in your committment and are reliable, punctual and consistent as we will rely on your contribution. 

Camphill is based on Christian princples, do I have to be a Christian?

Camphill is a Christian community based on the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner. This does not mean that you need to be a practicing Christian, or have knowledge of Anthroposophy. We accept all different kinds of people with a wide variety of beliefs.  What we ask is that you come with an open heart and mind, are respectful of the Christian aspects of community and are willing to share with us in our endeavour!

Do all volunteers live-in?

We have a wide variety of volunteers in the community, some live-in and some don't!  There are a wide range of roles to fulfil and we can usually find a space or role that you can contribute to. 

I want to live-in but where will I live and what are the houses like?

Camphill Holywood house communities are made up of people with learning disabilities and volunteer co-workers, living and working together for the well-being of the house community as a whole.  This is one aspect of ‘life-sharing'.  Our house communities consist of residents with learning disabilities and volunteer co-workers. All of our houses are situated less than 5 minutes from the centre of Holywood Town.  Everyone has their own bedroom and the rest of the house is shared by all who live in it.  Each house community is different; meals are mostly taken together, giving space for conversation and the encouragement of house community members.  Living in a life-sharing community house can be challenging but it is also incredibly rewarding and great fun to discover the gifts and talents that all human beings have to offer to each other.

Am I paid as a volunteer?

Volunteers do not receive monetary payment for their work in the community. If you live-in, the community will provide for your living needs such as meals, lodging, towels, basic toiletries etc. you may also receive pocket money, a subsistence payment to support you to buy your living necessities where required (such as special shampoo/clothing etc). 

What is a typical week in Camphill Holywood like?

Work in the cafe, bakery and shop is from Monday to Saturday inclusive but you will have one day off during the week.  Sundays are community days, much slower paced and provide opportunities for doing things together, our festival celebrations are often held on Sundays as well as walks and outings.

Will I receive any training?

During your stay in Camphill Community Holywood you will be given training in Fire Safety, Food Hygiene, Moving & Handling, First Aid, Adult Safeguarding etc. appropriate to your role and responsibilities.  We have a full and comprehensive Induction Course.  Our Foundation course gives you an insight into Camphill, anthroposophy and social therapy. 

Do I need an Access NI or Police Check?

Access NI disclosures are required for all potentially unsupervised roles in the community, this is to meet our responsibilities under adult safeguarding regulations and to ensure that the people we live and work with are suitable for the role in the community.  As a residential care provider most roles in the community fall into the category of 'Regulated Activity'.  If you do have criminal convictions you will be given the opportunity to declare any convictions you may have and are not automatically prevented from joining the community, each case is considered fairly and individually. 

Why do you ask for details of referees for references?

We ask for details of 2 persons, who have known you for at least two years and who are not members of your family, that will be willing to provide a reference for you.  We do this because it is important that we ensure that we have suitable people living and working in community.  No one is prevented from joining the community without a legal and justifiable reason. 

What are the benefits to volunteering in Camphill Holywood?

 Your work in Camphill Holywood will give you invaluable work and life experience.