Two countries with no shortage of history and culture. The UK is dotted with major metropolitan cities, ancient buildings, castles and cathedrals. Ireland, the Emerald Isle, has both vibrant cities and a slower pace of life in the countryside with a strong sense of community.
Volunteers in the UK work in schools, camps and community centres. While qualified staff are always present, fresh, energetic young volunteers are crucial in providing students, campers, program participants and residents with a much needed friend and role model.
In Ireland, our volunteers work in schools, camps and community centres assisting teachers and other staff to provide high levels of education and care.
Volunteers with strong preferences for either the UK or Ireland, specifically, will have the opportunity to express this during their interview and on their application. However, final placement allocation is determined by the host in collaboration with our UK/Ireland country manager.
Schools Assistant placements are at preparatory schools for 7 to 13 year olds, senior schools for 13 to 18 year olds, or schools which combine some or all of these. Many are single-sex schools. Volunteers are usually based in the boarding houses or PE/sports departments, but most schools try to give the volunteer a varied timetable.
Outdoor Education placements vary from big organisations with a large number of seasonal staff, to small family run operations. Volunteer tasks include leading group activities such as archery, ropes or canoeing. Overseeing team building games and undertaking some general cooking, gardening and cleaning duties is also required.
Community Care Assistant (UK 6-12 months) placements are varied and work can take place in care homes, in-homes or centres working with homeless youth. Volunteer duties in the residential care placements may involve assisting with the day-to-day personal care of residents, household maintenance and leading various activities (arts & crafts, sports, music and other outings).
Community (Ireland 9-12 months) placements are varied. Some are in residential homes, some involve in-home care and there are also a small number of social care placements working with homeless youth. Volunteer duties may involve assisting with the day-to-day personal care of residents, household maintenance, leading activities, or taking residents on outings to places of interests such as the theatre, seaside or the local pub!
UK Schools Assistant placements are provided with their own room in the boarding house and food is supplied by the school canteen.
UK Outdoor Activity and Caring placements accommodation varies but is usually a shared house or flat. Some placements provide food, while others set up a system of self-catering for volunteers.
In Ireland, food and accommodation is provided at all placements. Most placements also pay pocket money of approximately $100/week for volunteers’ day-to-day expenses.
Is it for me?
The UK and Ireland are ever-popular destinations. Undertaking a Lattitude placement in either country will allow you to bypass the predictable tourist trails and experience the culture like a local. You need to be hard working, unafraid of taking on responsibility and prepared to throw yourself into your placement and into local life. While placements differ greatly, the need for motivated volunteers with a fun-loving nature is a constant. You’ll be surprised how the bonds you form with the people under your care will enrich both your life and theirs.
UK placements are scattered all throughout England as well as Scotland and Northern Ireland. Ireland placements are in southern counties such as Waterford and Cork.
There are plenty of opportunities to travel. If placed within a school, volunteers will be able to travel during the school holidays and at the end of their placement. With all other placements the opportunity to travel will be at the end of the placement.
The British Isles are a gateway to Europe, with excellent transport links to the continent and to Ireland. There are rugged mountains in Wales and Scotland, pristine lakes in the Lake District, beautiful, historic towns and picture postcard perfect rolling hills dotted with livestock.
London is a magnet, a real cultural and cosmopolitan centre that is not to be missed.
Ireland is just a short hop from the mainland Europe but retains a traditional, community feel in the small villages and towns.
Dublin is the place to go for the “craic” which roughly translates as having fun and a laugh with your friends. Dublin’s clubs and bars are vibrant, noisy places where everyone is a friend and there’s no such thing as a quiet drink.