Volunteer at Corbenic
Note that applications are now closed for our summer 2022 intake. However, if you would like to join us from January 2023-24, please check this webpage for updates about when applications will be open!
What's it like?
You will have the opportunity to meet like-minded young people from Europe and beyond and have a brilliant time too.
A real life-enhancing, life-changing experience!
We have so many different nationalities at Corbenic – a veritable mini United Nations indeed!
How can I help?
All of our residents have learning disabilities; some are quite independent, while others do need constant care and supervision. There are people at Corbenic who require help with personal care (bathing, dressing, eating etc.) and co-workers joining us should be willing to be involved with such care.
If you come to Corbenic, you will quickly realise how different residents are from each other, because we actively promote their individuality. An implication of this is that we have to realise and respond to residents according to their individual personalities and needs.
How will I get there?
If you arrive in the United Kingdom via London there is a direct train, daily, from Kings Cross Station to Perth or Dunkeld. There are also long distance coach services between Victoria Station in London to Perth or Dunkeld. If you arrive at Edinburgh, Glasgow or Aberdeen airport, there are direct train services to Perth or Dunkeld. There are also coach services.
Those who are joining us for less than one year will be responsible for their travel expenses to and from the Community. Those people joining us for one year or more, should purchase an open-ended return ticket and, on leaving Corbenic, will have the return portion of the fare reimbursed, upon production of the ticket, to a maximum of £230 within Europe and £500 outside Europe.
How do I apply?
You will need to fill in an application form first. When you send it back, please remember to include:
A passport sized photograph
A current police check
What's life like at Corbenic?
As in all Camphill communities the cultural life is strong and it is often centred around the Christian festivals, which are celebrated throughout the year. Many of our cultural activities involve preparation for them with drama, singing and music. There are regular trips to concerts, theatre and the cinema, and occasionally visiting artists, musicians and actors.
During your stay with us, free medical treatment will be provided through the local surgery, as part of the National Health Service.
You are asked to bring sufficient clothes for winter and summer use and for working out of doors (waterproof clothing is essential) as well as clothing suitable for evening and weekend activities (skirts, dresses, jackets etc.) If you play a musical instrument, it would be appreciated if you bring it with you.
As a voluntary co-worker, you will be provided with full board and lodging, although you may be required to share a room with another co-worker. You have two days off per week and will receive basic pocket money per month. Some house parents live in at Corbenic so there will always be one or two house-parents available at any time.
After completing three months service and provided you are 21 years of age and hold a driving licence which permits you to drive in the United Kingdom, you would have the use of the co-worker car. To qualify for driving the car you would have to pass a test after receiving tuition.
…."I'm a better person for it"
"It’s like one big family and I feel lucky to be part of it"
Amanda is a 23 year old Brazilian, who has been living in Corbenic Camphill Community since March 2019. Amanda shares Ossian House with 10 residents, support staff and a house co-ordinator and four other co-workers who, like her, are there as volunteers.
“I support the residents in the house with all of their basics daily needs, such as brushing their teeth, showering, cooking and eating, laundry and cleaning, going to the workshops and most importantly, making sure they are having fun.
“Each one of our residents is unique and in need of different levels of support. Ouside of the house, our community offers workshops which we all join according to our needs and abilities. For six months I was part of the Horse Group, where I learned so much, gaining experience with residents and co-workers from the other houses. Following this, I became a support person for one of the residents who lives in my house and needs someone with him to go to the workshops and carry out other activities with.
“I love Ossian and this community. It’s like one big family and I feel lucky to be part of it, helping people everyday. It’s not always easy though, I have had challenging situations and difficult relationships to manage. It’s evidently quite intense living and working in the same place with the same people, but it is one of the things that makes it all so special and you need to just work through any issues that do arise.
“My volunteering work here has given me the opportunity to learn so much and I believe I’m a better person for it. From navigating a different language to the ever changing weather and learning about the varying disabilities that we have to deal with and the multiples cultures that we share living in this community. It makes you think just that little bit more and put others first.
“Little things make me smile. I like the way someone loves music, or how someone else tells stories and speaks the words in their own dialect. Or how someone loves Bridget Jones movies and another always want to carry anything with wheels, or the person who always says ‘good morning’ when I go to the kitchen. It’s so nice just having the meals together, it makes being here a different way of seeing life.
“I’m not really sure how I ended up here, but I know why I am here now and that I would like to stay longer, especially with Covid-19 around. If anyone here needs care I want to be here to help, because I care so much for everyone here and I want to be doing something useful in this moment when the world needs help.”
What volunteering at Corbenic meant for me!
I`m 19 years old and from Germany.
After finishing school, I wanted to do some meaningful work abroad for a year. When my mum told me about Camphill Communities in Scotland, where she was herself at my age, I got very curious about it and through the German organisation, ‘Freunde der Erziehungskunst’ I found Corbenic.
I also applied to other Camphill’s but after seeing Corbenic for the first time on the internet there was a special click and my heart told me to go there. And so, I did. Now, eight months after I left, I am super grateful and still fulfilled by this magical experience.
Before I went to Corbenic, I had no contact point or experience with people with special needs. That`s why I was insecure in the beginning and whether it was right for me to do. But now, after spending a whole year in this wonderful community, I know that there was no need to worry before.
With this account, I would like to encourage interested people to definitely go there, to have a look and to get to know all the wonderful people there and to get a better understanding of what it means not just to share work but also your life.
Corbenic is embedded in a beautiful rural area and you can easily lose track of time. There are seven houses in the community, which means there are many people around, but it is still small enough to connect to everyone and to build deep friendships.
Because of this atmosphere you can settle in very fast which makes it easy to feel like home. Sharing your life every day can be very intense but because of spending so much time together you can experience the amazing impact which goes with it.
Your stay in Corbenic, I promise, brings a huge potential of inner growth. By sharing life with so many different kinds of people, also from all over the world, you will develop a different version of yourself. Surrounded by the happiness and good will of the community, you will open yourself and you will recognise that by helping others you get so much back. Those wonderful moments will carry you through harder times and they will still warm up your heart many times after leaving Corbenic.
Many interested people came for a year to volunteer and fell in love with that community (and sometimes another co-worker!) so they stayed for a second, third year…and now they are working as house-parents or workshop-leaders.
So maybe you will be one of them. Take this chance and go there to experience it yourself. I`m sure you will never regret but always profit from it.