Pennine is a charity and much of its work relies on people giving their time to volunteer and support our work. It can be very rewarding and fulfilling. There are many different options, and each and every offer is valued.
People have have different amounts of time to give —
If you are able to commit yourself for a year, you may like to consider joining us at Pennine Camphill Community as a Volunteer Co-worker. Many young people from the European Union and beyond choose this option. Or you may wish to join us as a long-term, Vocational Co-worker. If you live locally you may be able to spare a few hours every week, or maybe one day a week. At certain times of the year we have a few places for short term volunteers.
Perhaps you have certain interests such as farm work or horse riding in which you could bring your knowledge and expertise. Or we may be able to offer training for you to be more fully able to help.
Interested in doing something different — something you’ll never forget or regret?
We can offer board and lodging, pocket money and a very fulfilling time if you can offer a year of your time and a willingness to help.
Please read on:
A Co-workers’ Introduction
Many people come to join us for a year as Volunteer Co-workers. It takes that time to be able to take everything in and then to give something back (that’s the rewarding bit).
Due to the vulnerability of our student group we need to carefully vet potential volunteers. Two references and a police check are the minimum and we may ask for more — please don’t be offended as this is part of the current legislation.
There are approximately 30 co-workers and their families here at any one time. There’s always a strong international element with co-workers coming from many different countries — the European Union and beyond. About a third of the co-workers live at the Pennine on a permanent basis and half have come for a year or more to help. We have five separate houses where the co-workers and students live alongside each other and share in all the household duties. There are no separate staff rooms apart from your own room. Co-workers and students eat their meals together in the houses. Some will have helped with growing the produce, cooking the meal or perhaps laying the tables. Meal times can become a focus of social contact, conversation and appreciation of what each one has to offer.
Day to Day Work
Working alongside each other is an important basis of much of our work. We try to make the day to day running of the house communities and the care of the land and grounds part of everyone’s responsibility and involvement. Most new co-workers will have a group of 3 to 4 students in their house with whom they will relate more closely. With the help of a more experienced co-worker they will help encourage their group over matters of personal hygiene, care of their possessions, interests and friendly advice. A mixture of tact, sensitivity and humour are three keys to help.
The college day is divided into 4 main sessions. Co-workers normally work 3 of them with the fourth being their free time. Each session is about an hour and a half long and co-workers are attached to the different activities on a regular basis. Everyone has one day off a week, usually a weekday. Personal preferences and experiences are obviously taken into account when arranging a timetable, but an underlying strength of the co-worker group is the wish to serve the needs of those we care for and the environment.
Working at the Pennine is more a way of life, and living with and sharing in interests with the students often blurs what is free time and what is work. It is a common wish that we live in a community where everyone works towards a common aim, to help each other’s potential and awaken a sense of responsibility and interest in the world and for each other. We hold a weekly Sunday Gathering and say a morning and evening verse. We hope that those who hold different persuasions can also share in our attempt to create meaning and value in these areas.
What is expected of you
You will be asked to involve yourself with our students with special needs aged 16–25, on all levels, e.g. getting them up, helping with their personal care, helping them during the day and at bed time and, and either helping and support teaching in one of the work areas or craft workshops, in the classroom or on the land. Your accommodation will be in one of our houses and you will be required to help with household duties after mealtimes and in the evenings.
At the weekends, your support and initiative will be needed in taking students out and providing activities for and with them.
The fully residential nature of work makes considerable demands upon the time and energy of all co-workers, but this compensated by the richness and value of experience to be gained while living in a community, which strives to serve social, economic and spiritual ideals. Everyone takes one day off per week and there are holidays for you to travel or visit home. We have 2 longer holidays at Christmas and Easter (approximately 3 weeks) and there are shorter holidays in October, February and June.
The Pennine Community provides training for those who come to work here. It is called the Induction Course and it takes a three-fold approach based on theory, practical work and art. The subject matter is covered in two formal teaching sessions per week, during house meetings and when celebrating festivals. Every year a large group of volunteers comes from all over the world. Each year special friendships develop and you will have a chance to get to know people from different countries, and to have an interesting and valuable experience.
We welcome any artistic gifts, especially musical, and would like to hear if you play an instrument!
We ask you to read through the following carefully and consider whether you aspire to these qualities. If necessary read through this with a friend who understands English and knows you. Our intention is to help you understand what is needed here and be helpful in your decision to join us.
Typically co-workers who gain the most from their experience here show the following qualities:
- have a positive attitude to life and are enthusiastic
- are sociable and take human interest in others
- are able to self-reflect and learn from misunderstandings
- are flexible and adaptable to change
- are able to support Christian festivals
- are able to take feedback positively
- are able to accept that they do not initiate at management level in their first year with us
- are able to work as part of a team
- can put the interest of others before their own interest
The following should also be considered — do not come if you:
- are only self-motivated, e.g. wish to come to Britain purely to learn the language
- are not sociable
- are not interested in the project
- want a standard ‘job’ with precise hours on and off
- you cannot take direction well and work as part of a team
- you are inflexible and afraid of change
Our intention is to help you gain a full picture of our life here. We have a lot of fun together. We are an enthusiastic community and our students are truly delightful people. Some may be challenging, but all are courageous and often very moving friendships occur. It is particularly satisfying and heart warming to witness community members developing pride and an interest in others and to observe the unfolding of hidden potential.
Young people joining us as Volunteer Co-workers are invaluable to our work by bringing different cultures together, befriending each other and community members. We recognise that the contribution made by voluntary service is unique and a true gesture of brotherhood towards our fellow man. This in itself brings true healing to each individual and the world.
Life is pretty busy but there is always someone to turn to if you have any concerns. This will usually be a more experienced co-worker living in your house. We have several different meetings where you will be able to share concerns.
Apart from the obvious, you need to bring clothes suitable for outdoor work or craftwork. We can provide overalls. You’ll also need clothes suitable for concerts and outings, and swimwear. Most people bring an i-pod or MP3 player, and an alarm clock is useful too. We provide bedding and towels etc. Please don’t bring alcoholic drinks. Due to the nature of our work, we aim to keep these off the premises or very discrete.
We will help with any immediate dental or medical treatments and registration costs for non European Community passport holders. You will be registered in our local doctors’ surgery and will have free health cover whilst with us. You are expected to pay for any phone calls apart from a first call home to say you have arrived. You will be responsible for paying for your own air fare to travel home at the end of the year.
We hope that co-workers will be able to stay for the time that they have committed themselves to, but we do realise that this work, although deeply rewarding, can at times be very demanding and might not appeal to all. In such circumstances we shall try to provide the support to go through these times or free the individual from the original commitment.
Who else comes to Pennine as a Co-worker?
Come and see! If you don’t live too far away, come and visit or stay a short while. We usually have a mixture of nationalities and that is important to us as part of our belief is the respect and appreciation of each and every person whatever their nationality or ability. Obviously, a good understanding of English is essential to be able to help the students. Co-workers often join us as a gap year or as part of an alternative to military service; others join us as they wish to work in the field of special education or in medicine.
Before you apply, please make sure that you look at the rest of the website, so that you know as much as possible about Pennine Community. The sections about the College and Community are especially relevant.
The college year runs from the end of August to the end of July, and we accept applications for an academic year from January onwards. Places are on a first come first served basis, so if you wish to join us please make sure that you apply in good time.
Please contact us first to see if we have vacancies. It’s best if you could write a little about your interests, why you would like to work at Pennine etc. Please ask questions if you think we have left anything out here. You do need to complete an application form, provide references and a police check. We will only accept fully completed application forms. If we don’t have vacancies it might be possible to put you in contact with other Camphill centres.
This link is to a ‘pdf’ document and you will need ‘Adobe Reader’ to be able to read it. If you don’t have this installed on your computer you can find it here at Adobe’s website and download it.
For details of how to get to Pennine, click here.
Get in touch if you would like to find out more about long term volunteering and training opportunities. We would like to hear from both individuals and families.
Volunteer a few hours each week
A number of people volunteer to help us in a variety of different ways. Some come to help give individual Literacy and Numeracy work. Others help by assisting in one of the craft workshops, covering for co-workers’ days off or giving that bit of extra time for someone. If you want to help there is always an opportunity. Over the years we have been helped by a number of retired people but equally there have been a steady flow of young people through the Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme and through the Prince’s Trust — our age range of helpers is quite extensive! Please get in touch by phoning 01924 255281 or email.
Volunteer for a day or so
It’s more difficult to be able to give you enough time and support for just a day or so but there are many possibilities of just ‘opting in’ for a short time. If you can offer a regular involvement — a day a week or a day a month — we can usually offer you more. But even an odd day helping in the garden or on the farm is very much appreciated.
A small group of parents of students, friends, neighbours and who ever else offers their support, lend a hand with some of the grander occasions. This might be our Open Days, Craft Fairs or even weddings! Please contact us for more details or if you wish to be on our mailing list for concerts, events and performances.
We only have a few places for Guest Volunteers at certain times of year.
Over the summer we can offer volunteer working holidays. These might include gardening, harvesting, painting and renovation work. We sometimes have International Workcamps, but most years up to 8 people join our co-worker team during the students’ summer holiday. A number of volunteers come from abroad to meet others and improve their English. Sometimes there are vacancies that overlap with term time so that it’s possible to meet all the students. Please contact us early and please let us know if we offer you a place but you are unable to come.
A great organisation that has helped us over a number of years. (Thank you to everyone who has lent us a hand at Pennine in that time!)
WWOOF is committed to supporting organic growers and farmers. By becoming a member (£15), you receive a bi-monthly newsletter and a list of farms and small holdings that require extra help. Voluntary organisers will put you in touch and support both the farms and helpers.
You receive a bi-monthly copy of this publication when joining WWOOF UK. Interesting articles and feedback not forgetting the small ads that Pennine Community frequently places.
To join WWOOF UK please write to WWOOF (UK), PO Box 2675, Lewes BN7 1RB, UK.
International WWOOF is a new organisation that can help new WWOOFers find farms in countries other than their own. However, if you want to WWOOF in your own country it’s often best to contact your own country’s WWOOF organisation direct.
Local people helping to make our area a better place to live Making a locality into a community has many ingredients. In our case what began as local people getting together to protect a green space has developed into an association where both local fun activities and local concerns can be shared.
All residents of Newmillerdam and the surrounding areas are welcome to join in any event or make suggestions. Contact details are available, by telephone or via the website and we are hoping to have a community notice board in place during this year.