CAMPHILL COMMUNITIES have a long tradition of welcoming people from all over the world to join their work as resident Volunteers for a period of six months, a year or more. You may be looking for an opportunity during a gap year; following your studies or professional training but before you embark on your career path; or you may be looking for a career break, exploring new vistas and untapped potential in yourself.
Depending on the type of community, and following initial induction training, you would be asked to provide support in a variety of forms. In a school or further education community you may be involved in classroom and training support. You may help those who are unable to do so on their own with clothing, personal hygiene, care of their possessions, mealtimes, recreational activities and their participation in the daily work routine. In an adult community you will often get involved in a craft workshop, store, perhaps transport duties, outdoor work with a team etc.
You will normally be part of a house community, led by a House Guardian or House Guardian family, together with other Volunteers and a number of residents with learning disabilities. In the house you will take your share of the general tasks such as meal preparation, cleaning and evening activities.
You will take part in regular house and other meetings held to discuss aspects and arrangements of practical daily life or matters of wider community significance.
You will have your own room, have your meals as a member of the household and be provided with the basic necessities for living. Normally everyone in the house shares the common facilities. Most communities provide access to computer and internet facilities on-site.
As a Volunteer or Co-worker new to a community you will be required by our statutory welfare arrangements to complete a programme of Induction training. This will cover topics such as child and adult protection, health & safety requirements, welfare, educational needs and risk assessment and support planning, professional boundaries, equal opportunity, record keeping, concerns and complaints etc.
All communities offer a Foundation programme, often embedding the Induction training, which will give you a general introduction to the community's underlying philosophy and image of the human being (anthroposophy). The programme will include elements of human development and psychology, a survey of conditions such as autistic spectrum disorder, epilepsy, Down's syndrome etc. Artistic activities and sessions including producing plays for festivals will often be part of a Foundation programme.
For Volunteers the minimum length of stay is often 6 months. However, many centres, particularly schools and college communities, will only accept you if you can commit to a year or a full academic year. Most induction and foundation training programmes are structured for a year's cycle and start in late August or early September. Shorter than six month stays are only occasionally possible; this will be for students of the welfare professions on a study placement or for summer visitors.
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.
Do I have to be a practicing Christian?
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 different faith or persuasion often make a valued contribution to the social and spiritual life of a community and we encourage them to do so.
Many residents have difficulties to communicate in spoken language. This can lead to frustration for them. Volunteers and Co-workers with limited spoken English increase these difficulties. Further, the levels of responsibility you will carry require you to have a reliable level of both spoken and written English. This should be of a standard given by IELTS level 5 or higher.
You will receive free accommodation, food and a personal allowance. Your travel costs to and from your community are normally your responsibility. If you stay for the agreed length of time your community may make a discretionary contribution towards the costs of your return journey.
Some communities, particularly schools and college communities, have clear arrangements for working times and times off on a daily and weekly basis for all its Volunteers and Co-workers. 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 can expect to have at least one full day a week without community commitments, often more, and arrangements will be discussed with you.
For stays of six months or less you will normally be encouraged to take a number of long weekends off. For a 12 months stay you will be able to take some 4 weeks holidays, perhaps to explore other parts of the country. In schools and colleges your holidays will need to fall in with the school or college holiday schedule.
A minority of communities will consider requests from social work or other students in the welfare professions for short placements. These will often be of 3 months duration or shorter. However, few communities can offer the structured professional supervision for such students that is often required by the student's university. Vacancies for such placements will be found in the Volunteer section of this website.
Most communities welcome applications from young German men who wish to do their 'Andere Dienst im Ausland' (ADiA - alternative to military and civil service) as a Camphill Volunteer. Communities also welcome young German individuals to join them for a year through the 'Freies Soziales Jahr' (FSJ) scheme. VIA (Verein fur Interkulturellen Austausch) and 'Freunde der Erziehungskunst Rudolf Steiner's' are frequent placing organisations. Only a small number of communities are set up to host volunteers through the European Voluntary Service (EVS) scheme. For all these opportunities see vacancies in the Volunteer section.
The UK regulatory frameworks in the field of work with vulnerable children, students and adults has now made it very difficult to have anyone under the age of 18 and without the full programme of induction training share in the life of Camphill communities. Any such person is by law no longer allowed to have unsupervised contact with those in our care. Therefore only a very small and decreasing number of Camphill communities in the UK are able to accommodate some Waldorf students for their social practical. However, all receive an enormous number of applications. It is therefore unlikely that you will find a place. Those communities that still accept students often only do so through existing personal contacts to particular schools or teachers.
A small number of rural, land-based communities with adult residents offer short-term placements for summer visitors. These are between 3 weeks and 3 months duration, typically between June and August. As a summer visitor you will normally be involved in field work on a farm or garden and be part of a house community. You will often be working with other visitors, Volunteers and Co-workers. You will not receive any significant training and will not have unsupervised access to our residents. You need to be over 18 years old. Places are very limited, often filled 9 months ahead, and are therefore not advertised on this website. None of the schools or college communities are hosting summer visitors as they are closed from mid-July to end August.
There is no central application processing for the 40+ Camphill communities in the UK. Each community deals directly with their applicants. Each application is considered in its own right and on its own merit. There are no group applications. You will need to provide detailed personal information including the names of two referees from whom confidential references are taken up. You will be subject to UK and/or overseas Criminal Background Checks. Please use the Vacancies listings and details for Volunteers on this website to select a small number of vacancies that you are interested in and that match your time constraints; then send your enquiry directly to the respective community recruitment contact, ideally using the online enquiry facility provided. If the recruitment contact thinks that your interest and their opportunities may match up (s)he will get back to you with more details, an Application Form and request for further information from you.
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. To this end the community that invites you will need to be licensed as a Tier 5 sponsor with the UK Border Agency. As part of the information which the community will send you they will provide 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. Your 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.