Volunteering as a residential co-worker in the Bridge Community
The Bridge began in the summer of 1991 as a 'sister' community to Camphill Dunshane, to provide living and working situations for some of the young adults as they leave the training college environment of Dunshane. There are still links between the two communities, and co-workers at the Bridge are encouraged to participate in joint cultural activities such as choir, bellringing and occasional plays.
The Bridge is a Community of young adults based around the small, but busymarket town of Kilcullen. We are about40km south west of Dublinwith good bus links to the capital.
Have a look at our current vacancies for coworkers
One of the main features of the Bridge is the integration into the local wider community. The centre of the community is in Kilcullen, and all villagers and most co-workers are working at least half of the day in Kilcullen.
Living accommodation is in several house-communities 3 of which are located in Kilcullen. There is a lot of regular contact with local people , and we are well accepted and supported within the area.
We are a working adult community with our workshops (including the houses) providing full time work in a meaningful context for all members of the community. The workshops include our farm, garden, weaving workshop and our coffee shop which also sells crafts and books. There is a catering kitchen, baking bread for the community, preparing food for the coffee shop, and preserving fruit and vegetables at harvest time.
All co-workers work alongside the people with special needs in one or several work areas. This depends both on the need of the community and the aptitude of the co-workers. It would be very helpful if you would tell us of any health or other problems, as this will help us to place you appropriately on your arrival.
For more information about our workshops click here
Our households include families, co-workers and adults with disabilities. Responsibility in the houses is shared with people taking on tasks according to their abilities. This means that you may be asked to help care for someone's personal needs including personal hygiene, as well as helping with cooking and keeping the house clean. Living with people also includes supporting them with their hobbies social activities and interests as well as helping individuals to achieve their personal goals and aspirations.
For more information about our home-life click here
Induction and Training
For co-workers who commit themselves to staying for at least a year, there is a comprehensive induction programme. This will initially involve 2 sessions of 2- 3 hours per week , which will reduce to one session per week after the first 1 -2 months. The programme usually lasts for about 4 months. We expect people to be interested in learning and the programme is quite intensive and covers many different aspects of social care, epilepsy, duty of care, person centred planning dealing with challenging behaviour as well as many other subjects. Some of these sessions will include a short assessment of learning outcomes. we need all volunteers to have a reasonable level of English and show a real interest in developing their competencies in the field of Social Care. For more information please go to our training page.
Practical Needs and Money
In common with most Camphill Communities none of us receives wages. Money is taken from petty cash according to needs, but it does not usually exceed € 40 per week. Some extra money for holidays (around €500) is available for people staying 6 months or longer. Food and accommodation and basic toiletries such as shampoo and toothpaste are provided. It is advisable to bring with you adequate clothing for your stay. As the weather in Ireland is very changeable, rain clothes, boots and warm clothes are necessary. Some formal or smart clothing would also be needed since we try to dress up for birthdays and festive occasions.
Co-workers usually have one day off per week, prearranged according to the needs of the houses and place of work. There is a good public bus service from Kilcullen to Dublin, Kilkenny, Carlow and Waterford.
Festivals and Holiday Times
We celebrate festive times, such as Christmas and Easter, together as a community, and co-workers are asked to stay for these times. We have short holidays, usually after the festivals and also regular weekend breaks. However, since the shop, garden, animals and houses still need attention during these breaks, co-workers are asked to be flexible regarding the timing of their holiday plans.
Medical Cards and Health Insurance
While in Camphill Ireland, you will qualify for a medical card, which entitles you to free medical treatment. You are advised to bring form E111 with you in case treatment is needed before the medical card is processed. As dental treatment is very expensive in Ireland, you are advised to have any routine dental work completed before arrival. People who do not come from a country within the European community will need to bring four identical passport photographs in order to register with the police.
Our work can be physically and mentally demanding. Energy, enthusiasm and a willingness to persevere are essential.
Camphill Communities are made up of people who volunteerto carry responsibilities for a shorter or longer period of time and already from the initial commitment inwriting we are counting on you joining the community. This commitment should therefore be made in a thoughtful and responsible way.
It is extremely disruptive if people leave sooner than expected or do not arrive when expected or reply to different places with a positive answer, knowing that they are going to join somewhere else.
We ask co-workers to be enthusiastic, good natured and open minded. Genuine interest in the person with special needs and the wish to share in the life of the community are essential. We normally accept co-workers for a minimum of six months stay, although we have found that it is a much more useful and positive experience for all concerned if short term volunteers would come for at least 1 year.
How to apply ...
Generally the more information you include in your initial inquiry the quicker we will be able to respond
If you would like to fill out our online application form please click here
If you do not have e-mail access you can also apply in writing to :
The Volunteer Recruitment Group
The Bridge Camphill Community
in which case it would be helpful if you would send some information about yourself - This should include:
- A brief C.V.
- three references from responsible people who have known you for at least two years (e.g.Teacher, employer, minister)
- A police certificate stating whether you have a criminal record
- Personal information such as, hobbies, interests, motivation for spending time here, experiences etc.
- It would also be helpful to have an E-mail address, telephone and/or fax number so that we can contact you quickly.
This information will also be required for e-mail applications