Frequently Asked Questions

For frequently asked questions in relation to supported living please refer to ‘Join Our community’. This covers the key questions in relation to applying for a supported living tenancy in Mourne Grange.

Why volunteer with Camphill?

There are many reasons why choosing to join Mourne Grange is a great idea. You may wish to visit Northern Ireland, 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.

What age range are your volunteers?

The minimum age is 18 years. Whilst there is no upper age limit most of our short-term volunteers are aged between 18 and 26.

How long can I stay?

The minimum length of stay is usually 6 months, but we prefer it if volunteers can commit to a year. We also provide placements as part of social work courses.

How good does my English have to be?

Many of the people that we support have speech impairments and can find talking and understanding speech difficult and sometimes frustrating. We therefore need our volunteers to have a good command of spoken English, and for report writing, to have basic written English language skills

Can I apply if I don't live in Europe?

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 Mourne Grange. As a prospective Volunteer you will apply for entry clearance to UK Immigration under the Tier 5: Charity Workers route. 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 Mourne Grange only and will limit your stay to 12 months maximum. We 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 with Mourne Grange 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.

What is the accommodation like?

Accommodation is provided within the Community for free. You will live in a home with House Coordinators, people with learning disabilities and other volunteers. You will have a bedroom to yourself, but are likely to share a bathroom.

What is the food like?

Mealtimes are important in Mourne Grange. We like to eat meals 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.  We can cater for special diets, such as vegan or coeliac.

How much time off will I get?

You will get one free day a week and you will also have some free time at evenings and weekends depending on the routines of the house you are based in.

Do I get paid for volunteering?

You will receive free accommodation, food and a small allowance to cover personal needs whilst here. Your travel costs to and from Mourne Grange are normally your responsibility.

Do you have placements for Waldorf Students?

The UK regulatory frameworks in the field of work with adults with learning disabilities has now made it very difficult to have anyone under the age of 18 working within Mourne Grange. Therefore, we are unable to offer placements to students under the age of 18 years old.

Can I volunteer for less than a year?

Mourne Grange prefers volunteers to stay for 6 months to a year, we do sometimes offers short-term placements of between 3 weeks and 3 months duration.  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.

Tasks and Responsibilities

After your initial induction training you would be asked to provide support in a variety of forms. You will 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 House Coordinator, 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.

Training

As a new volunteer you will be required to complete a programme of induction and foundation training.  This will cover the policies and procedures relevant to working in Mourne Grange 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.

Do you offer study placements?

We offer placements to social work and other college or university students, and may be able to provide practice supervision.  Placements are often for 3 months or less, but longer placements may be considered.

Where do you advertise long term co-worker and salaried vacancies?

For long term co-worker and/or salaried vacancies our website, NI recruitment sites and local press, for example the Belfast Telegraph.

Gender

In some situations, Mourne Grange will be looking to recruit a volunteer or employee of a specific gender. While Mourne Grange upholds 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 practising Christian?

No. However, life in Mourne Grange is lived in tune with Christian and general humanistic ideals and the Christian festivals are often celebrated. In Mourne Grange there are regular services. Those of a different faith or persuasion often make a valued contribution to the social and spiritual life of the community and we encourage them to do so.

What is a criminal records check?

Our volunteers and employees live and work with vulnerable adults and therefore we are required to complete an ACCESS NI check and if required a similar police check from the volunteers or employees host country. The process for this will be explained and there is no cost to you.

Is there free Wi-fi?

Yes, there is Wi-fi available, the signal strength can vary.

How do I apply?

Firstly, we recommend that you read through all the FAQ’s to make sure you meet the basic criteria and still want to apply. You can then complete this form which will be sent directly to Mourne Grange. We receive lots of applications, so make sure yours stand out by telling us about yourself and why you want to volunteer with us (2 pages is plenty!).

Will I be asked to supply a reference?

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.