Frequently Asked Questions
Every year volunteers from across the world join us to share and experience our way of life. Help to make a real difference – it could change your life and ours:
What previous volunteers have said about the Mount
"Thank you so much for the wonderful year I was able to spend at the Mount! It really is such a special place with generous and passionate people, and I will always hold the memories of this year dear to my heart. I was able to learn so much and am very thankful for the support and kindness I received. Again, thank you!"
"Living in this environment stimulates your own growth and self-development."
"Taking responsibility is challenging".
"It was the most interesting, intensive, valuable and exhausting year I ever had!"
"Being at the Mount as a coworker has been a gift. I've met friends for life, it unlocked a whole new view onto myself and the world around me."
"To this day, I always think back to my time at the Mount, whether I'm struggling or doing well in life, because I learned so much from it."
"A unique experience, where the handing over of love towards one another is fundamental; one learns to be family and community, so much so that they remain in my heart ever since."
To find out more, see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below.
Do I need previous volunteering experience?
The simple answer is no! It’s always great when you have previous volunteering experience (or even a degree in social sciences), but we’ll give you training when you join our community.
What can I expect in The Mount Camphill Community?
The Mount Camphill Community is a thriving and successful Independent Specialist Residential College founded for and with students who have a range of learning disabilities. Building on this experience, we also addressed, identified, and delivered The Mount Camphill Cohousing Community. An innovative and pioneering supported living adult programme for people with and without additional needs.
We have a committed and vibrant life-sharing group of long and short-term coworkers, supported daily by College Tutors, Facilitators (Support workers) and Therapists. We all support our students and Cohousers to live a full, active, and meaningful life. You can expect to join a community which is striving to meet the needs of Camphill and the wider world for our time. We also offer a variety of social enterprise workshops which extend to day placements. They include Pottery, Bakery, Cooking, Candle-making, Eco craft, Art and Craft, Land work and Donkey-care.
What does the daily schedule look like?
It can be a long day, but it’s very rewarding. The schedule may vary from house to house and for each student, but it generally looks like this: Monday – Friday the house wakes up, breakfasts together, and then students go to their class or workshop. Our volunteers also are allocated to support students in college workshops and may be in one or two of the following during the college day: Garden, Weavery, pottery, bakery, cookery , life skills, art, work skills , eurythmy or gym .
At 12.30 you should be back in the house, supporting students or help with the last preparations for lunch. At 1pm, it’s lunchtime and everyone gathers in the house for a social lunch. Afternoons are spent either in classes, workshops or relaxing. 6pm is supper time. We have meals together and everyone participates in household activities depending on their ability. After supper, volunteers carry out house tasks such as helping clean up. There are usually social and recreational activities to be involved in, such as dancing, music, going for a walk, sports, storytelling, or watching a film. Weekends are more flexible, so students are encouraged to go on walks around the estate, participate in outings in the local community and attend a weekly festive supper. You typically support for 40 hours a week (this includes two to three hours of your weekly Care Certificate and Introduction Course) and you are given 1 day and personal time off each week, as well as the college holidays, to explore locally or further afield.
As an Adult programme we have a different weekly rhythm to College. The typical day starts with waking supported Cohousers at 8am, breakfast at 9am and a morning gathering at 10am to look at the day and share in seasonal verses and songs. You will then join and support our Social Enterprise workshops from 10.30-12.30pm. Lunch is at 1pm. Afternoon workshops start at 2.30-4.30pm after which you will be involved in creating supper together/supporting independent cooking and enjoy a variety of evening activities.
Our weekends are varied and include many outings to cafés, places of historical interest, discos, painting, choir, bowling, cinema, attending services at our local church. We also have a bi-monthly Bible Evening and a regular Offering Service and celebrate the festivals and their yearly rhythm with the whole community. Cohousing offers an opportunity to join a vibrant team and benefit from meaningful work and a rich social and cultural life. We work closely with the College and share many social and cultural activities.
Trainee coworkers have 2 days off a week and work on a shift basis, typically 8-4.30pm or 1-9.30pm (This may vary, depending on the need). We offer 20 days holiday a year (in 12 months), not including your days off, and this is amended if you do not complete the full year. (See welcome guide to Cohousing).
What should I pack in my suitcase and bring with me?
England has a temperate climate with a normal maximum of @ 26 degrees Celsius during the summer. Winter can be cold and there’s often a hard frost in the mornings, so please bring warm clothes such as a good winter coat and jumpers, please also consider a hat, gloves, socks and a scarf. There is no uniform so bring clothing that you feel comfortable in, and you don’t mind getting dirty – you may be working on the land and gardens or going for a long hike. You’ll need a pair of trail shoes or hiking boots. We would also ask you to bring a smart outfit for festive occasions.
What’s included and what’s not?
Your accommodation, soft furnishings and food is covered. We also support with basic toiletries. As a volunteer your room will have a bed, either a wardrobe or chest of drawers, and all linen, bedding duvet and sheets are provided. The other facilities in the house are communal spaces such as the kitchen, bathrooms, living rooms and dining room.
How long can I stay at The Mount Camphill Community?
12 months is the longest length of stay we can offer. We encourage requests for university practical placements over three months, and we also open our doors to Waldorf School placements. Please email us with your request and we’ll be in touch.
Arriving in England
London is approximately an hour from Wadhurst which is the nearest village and train station to The Mount. You can fly to either Gatwick, Heathrow, London City, Luton, or Stansted airports where there are great transport links to Central London from where you will need to take the train to Wadhurst. We will normally arrange to pick up successful applicants from the station. Once you arrive, you are required to complete a DBS check and we will provide you with a Soldo card (your prior travelling expenses and any expenses related to visa acquisition will be paid back to you on this card divided monthly over the time of your stay). For all expenses you wish to reclaim it is important you keep receipts or proof of payment.
What are our specific requirements?
As some of our Students and Cohousers are non-verbal, we ask that all candidates have a good level of English. You will be supported to develop your English in day-to-day conversation. Please remember, every day you’ll be speaking and hearing English, so your command of the language will improve dramatically within a few months.
All our volunteers are asked to pay for their flights to and from the UK. Please do not book flights before the UKVI confirmation for your Charity Workers visa.
How do I apply?
We will only accept applications completed using the application form available on our website from November until the middle of February.
This is the start of our application process. We ask for two referees, a medical check and a police check as well as a Skype call to get to know you.
You can also apply to us through the following sending agencies in Germany : IVS (UK branch of) Service Civil International or VAP Franken, Freunde and EOS.
Applying for your Visa
If after the recruitment process we all agree that The Mount is the right place for you we will confirm our agreement to provide a placement for you, subject to you obtaining your visa. We start that process in the month of May by applying for a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for you. As soon as we have this we will pass this on to you. The certificate is not a piece of paper but is a unique reference number which is only applicable to you and to The Mount – it cannot be used for any other purpose.
It is important that you begin the application process for your visa very soon after you receive the certificate to ensure that UKVI make a decision in time for you to get here by the desired date. We will send you guidance for your application and other information with your CoS.
What Will I Need To Pay Upfront?
There are upfront costs for you to pay for your visa application and for the International Health Surcharge (IHS) – the current costs of these in UK currency is £298 for the application fee and £1035 for the IHS. You may also be required to attend an appointment to provide biometrics and maybe an interview before your visa is approved.
You will also need to pay for your travel from home to The Mount when you first join us.
The Mount will refund these costs to you, along with the cost of travel to your visa appointment (if appropriate). We expect you to use economical travel options. You must obtain receipts or proof of purchase and bring them with you.
Please be aware that these costs will be refunded to you but this will be in equal monthly instalments over the period of your stay with us. If for any reason you do not stay for the full expected period, we reserve the right not to refund the outstanding amount after you leave, depending on the circumstances.
We will pay for your reasonable travel costs to get home at the end of your expected stay with us. If you decide to go home in the middle of your stay (for example at Christmas) or to go travelling during your leave time, you will need to pay for it yourself.
Can I bring a dependant?
No. The Mount will not be able to offer a place if you were hoping to bring a dependant, as we have insufficient accommodation and no facilities to permit this.