Volunteer with social and sustainable work on Ireland
Your role as a volunteer
Our partners programme allows participants to contribute their skills and energy to support local projects in achieving their goals. We have carefully selected 4 host projects which provide participants with worthwhile and challenging volunteer work programmes.
You can choose between:
- Sustainable Farming and café
- Social-Care Project with People with Disabilities
- Charity Shops
- Community Centres (Youth and Homework Clubs & more)
Our volunteer programmes involve an immersion within local communities and the Irish culture. We facilitate an experiential learning experience where participants are “learning by doing”. We support individual and groups all throughout their experience, from the orientation programme until the final evaluation.
We have carefully selected 4 host projects which provide participants with worthwhile and challenging volunteer work programmes. We only select high quality projects that are well established and that have an excellent track record of welcoming and supporting volunteers.
- Sustainable Farming and café - Residential
This sustainable farming & café project is located in the heart of rural Ireland, about 45 minutes from Cork City, Ireland’s 2nd largest city. It is surrounded by picturesque countryside with rolling hills, mountains, rivers and waterfalls. The farm is focused on involving international volunteers in farming and environmental activities as well as selling farm products (vegetables, eggs, yogurt, meat) in the farm's café in Cork City - a vibrant and friendly city. The project strives to create farming and gardening methods that sustain the natural environment. This project requires volunteers all year round, but is in particular need of volunteers during the summer months (May - September).
Some activities you might be involved in:
- Feeding animals
- Work in the local café
- Maintenance of the farm
- Social-Care Project with People with Disabilities – Residential
Minimum time of commitment: 4 weeks (please note, there are only a limited number of places for 4 weeks programmes, most of these projects require longer stays.)
Our partner collaborate with a well-established organisation that operates over 20 centres in Ireland to support people with special needs. The organisation provides a range of support services to people with both physical and mental conditions. The aim of the organisation is to provide quality, person-centred services, which facilitate people with disabilities to live a life of their own choosing. The atmosphere in the project is very warm, friendly and family orientated. The main task for the volunteers is to help the service users to arrange an enjoyable stay in the centres. Volunteers usually have their own rooms which are comfortable and spacious. The projects are looking for friendly, open-minded and team-focused volunteer with a genuine interest in working with adults with disabilities.
Some activites you might be involved in:
- Organize activites such as going to the cinema, going to the restaurant or the shopping mall.
· Assist the existing staff with care, cooking, cleaning and washing on a daily basis.
3. Charity Shops - Host Family & Shared Apartment
Minimum time of commitment: 3 weeks
Our main project is based in a friendly and busy town and has two locations where volunteers can help: a charity shop based on the main street and a sorting office that includes a furniture store, a bookshop and bric-a-brac. The income from the charity shop is the main source of revenue for a charity that visits and provides friendship and financial support to people living in poverty in the region. The work of this charity ensures that everyone can live with dignity. The charity depends on the time contributed by dedicated and friendly local volunteers.
Placement in other charity shops are available in Cork city from June to August with accommodation in shared apartments.
Some activites you might be involved in:
- Selling clothes
- Help out with the sorting of donations
- Steam Cleaning
- Sorting and selling books
4. Community Centres (Youth and Homework Clubs & more) - Host Family & Shared Apartment. Minimum time of commitment: 6 weeks (for programmes running in June-July), 12 weeks for the other months.
Community Centres run project and services such as youth clubs, homework clubs, childcare, community garden etc. The projects create a friendly and caring atmosphere and support the growth of a strong inclusive community. The centres are run by experienced professionals supported by local volunteers.
Volunteers can get involved in various activities depending on their skills, interests and time of the year. This project is searching for friendly, energetic, outgoing, open-minded and team-focused people with a genuine interest in working with people, particularly with young people and children. Flexibility and reliability are other important skills. Working with children and young people can be very tiring, that’s why volunteers need to be self-motivated and full of energy! Volunteers joining the project should have at least an intermediate level of spoken English. Programmes are available from Sept. to July.
Some activites you might be involved in:
- Help the kids with their homework
- Help the staff with different activities for the children
- Administrative tasks
First day and overnight in Cork city
Volunteers stay at a pre-booked hostel for the first night in Cork city: Sheilas Hostel. The hostel is located in the city centre, a very short walk from all the shops and attractions of the city. On arrival at the hostel, participants receive a welcome pack including a volunteer handbook, a guide to Cork city, a map of Ireland and some tasty local chocolate!
After checking in, you have some free time to rest and to discover Cork city. Sheilas Hostel staff is very helpful and provides you with information on what to do and where to eat etc. You are contacted by our partners staff on the arrival day and if there are other volunteers arriving on the same day, you are put in touch with them.
Orientation day and transfer to the different projects on the morning of the second day, participants are met by our partners staff at the hostel reception and will walk to the Cork Volunteer Centre where the orientation workshop takes place.
The orientation workshop lasts approximately 3.5h and includes the following topics:
- Sharing and discussing fears and expectations
- Exploring motivations
- Skills and attitudes to make the programme a success
- Roles and responsibilities of stakeholders (sender/host/volunteer)
- Lines of communication
- Potential challenges
- Introduction to Irish culture
- Cultural adaptation, culture shock and inter-cultural competences
- Cultural adaptation in the Irish context
- Practical tips for a successful voluntary service
- Health issues
- Safety and security, risk mitigation
- Overview of what to do during free time
Arrival in Cork airport:
You are picked up by a driver who will be waiting with a sign displaying your name, and then you are transferred to Sheilas Hostel, located in Cork city centre.
Arrival at different airport
Volunteers who arrives at a different airport (Dublin, Shannon, Kerry, Waterford) need to make their own way to Cork. It is very easy to go to Cork city from Dublin airport as there are buses from just outside the arrival terminal in Dublin that go directly to Cork city centre (aircoach.ie). Detailed information on transfers to Cork will be provided by our partner. Participants are picked up from their point of entry in Cork (bus station or train station).
Our irish partner is an educational travel organisation which organises customised, educational and immersion programmes in Ireland for participants that are selected abroad by partner organisations. They offer participants the opportunity to experience and learn within local communities through volunteering, internships, service learning and other customised educational programmes. Their connections with communities, projects, institutions and local experts allow them to design programmes that meet the needs of our overseas volunteers.
Volunteer Placement Support
At the project, you are introduced to your mentor and to the project facilities. The introduction to the volunteer work takes place during the first few days at the project. You are expected to volunteer 5 days a week, up to 35h per week, with two free days per week. The mentor provides you ongoing support throughout the programme. The staff are also regularly in touch with both project mentors and participants. If any support issue arises, the staff deals with it promptly.
Residential accommodation means that the participants are hosted in the project facilities. They are generally sharing the facilities with other international volunteers and can either have a single room (e.g. project with people with special needs) or share a bedroom with other volunteers from the same gender (e.g. sustainable farming & café project). Volunteers find it enjoyable to share accommodations with likeminded people and they generally end up doing activities together during their free time.
Staying with a host family allow participants to be fully immersed within the Irish culture. Our partner has developed a network of host communities in different part of the countries. Host Communities are managed by local coordinators who deal with local families. Every host family go through a thorough selection process, and we make sure you are placed with welcoming and supportive hosts. Host families comes in different shapes and sizes: e.g. parents and children with a spare room, a single host mother, or a retired couple. Families give participants an instant support system and help them learn the local language and culture. Participants generally have their single room. On occasion they might have to share a bedroom with another participant from the same gender.
Our partner has selected a number of accommodation partners which allow volunteers to stay in a single room within a shared apartment. Apartments are located in student residences and are available during summer time. This type of accommodation is suitable for participants who are looking for more independence. Meals are not provided in shared apartments.
About the country
Throughout the year there are visitors from different parts of the world whom wants to discover the country and its unique nature. It is very safe, friendly and filled with history and culture. You can find exciting cities and spectacular scenery everywhere – as made for a magical trip. The Irish people are a very welcoming, friendly and helpful people, and you will learn a lot from the ones you’ll meet. The city of Cork, which is the destination for all of the projects, is one of the larger cities in Ireland, with a population of over 150,000 inhabitants.
Free time and excursions
Ireland is a wonderful country to travel around in, and it has a lot to offer. Why not go to the capital of Dublin, visit Galway on the west coast or go for a discovery trip in Cork. Wherever you go, we can make sure you'll find exciting streets with typical Irish pubs and shopping streets, local restaurants and amazing scenery. Connemara, the ring of Kerry, the cliffs of Moher and the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin are just 4 examples of places worth a visit. If you happen to be in Ireland during St. Patrick's Day in the middle of March, you'll experience festivities throughout the country, and you're guaranteed lifelong memories. It is Dublin's largest festival that's annually organized and attracts hundreds of tourists. The on-site staff know everything about the surroundings and will give you many tips on how to get around and what to do.
Ireland has a temperate sea climate, where the summers are around 20 degrees, and the winters are usually quite mild. It is not very often the temperature drops below zero degrees.
You are responsible to get insurance to cover illness, injury or theft while working as a volunteer. Travel agencies normally sell travel insurance to complement your flight tickets. For more information about insurance ask your travel agency while receiving a flight ticket. Included in your tour price is a liability insurance which covers you in case you unintentionally hurt someone or damage someone else’s property.
Please check with your local embassy or consulate. EU citizens do not need a visa for visiting Ireland.
For any questions about vaccinations, please be sure to ask your doctor or local vaccination centre.