We are pleased to welcome volunteers at Amida France at most times when the centre is occupied. Volunteering with us varies a great deal, so we tend to negotiate arrangements with people individually. For more information please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org telling us:
- your interest in volunteering
- what you can offer (skills, experience)
- when you would like to come and for how long
- do you have any health conditions which might limit your ability to help with manual tasks.
As a guide, please refer to the following frequently asked questions:
When can I volunteer?
We are open to volunteers at most times when the centre is open except when there is a closed retreat. It is most useful if you come in spring or in early autumn but exact dates vary from year to year. Contact us for details.
What do volunteers do?
Most of the work which needs doing at Amida France is outdoor work: physical work in the gardens and on the land. You may be digging ground, pulling nettles, repairing walls, cutting blackthorn or helping with a maintenance project on the buildings. In spring there may be work preparing the house for visitors. Usually you will work alongside one or more community members but sometimes you will work alone. We can sometimes use help in the house and you might be asked to help prepare guest rooms or cleaning, but this is not usually a big part of volunteering.
What will I gain from the experience?
Volunteering can bring you into the heart of the work in the Amida France community. You will join in community life and practice and have opportunities to participate in some of the teachings if these are going on during your stay. You will have conversation with and receive guidance from teachers and senior members of the Amida community and you will live in our beautiful environment, close to nature. You will probably learn new skills and have a chance to share your enthusiasms with us. We are keen to make your stay enjoyable and to help you find space to reflect on life as well as accomplishing practical tasks. Volunteering should be an enriching experience from which we all gain.
What do I have to pay for my food and accommodation?
Our standard volunteer rate is €80 per week for board and accommodation, but we can be flexible, especially 'out of season' and if you have particular skills. Don't be put off by cost. Contact us and discuss it. Also bear in mind that this rate is for short term volunteers. Those coming for longer than three weeks usually pay a lower rate.
What sort of ground rules are there on site?
Volunteers are asked to respect the lifestyle on site which means no alcohol or smoking on our land and keeping to our vegetarian diet. You will also be asked to join in community gatherings and our Buddhist practice. You can read more about the lifestyle elsewhere on this site.
Volunteers may be given accommodation in the house or may be asked to camp. A lot depends on the time of year when you come, as participants in our programmes are given priority in accommodation. If you are concerned about where you stay, please ask when you contact us. Our diet is vegetarian and we are happy to accommodate the needs of vegans. If you have other dietary needs please tell us in advance. We can usually meet them with no difficulty.
How much time off will I get?
As a community we tend to live an 'all in' lifestyle so periods of relaxation are integrated with the rest of life. Volunteers usually join in the full community experience, particularly when there are not so many people on site, so it is often hard to identify 'time off' as opposed to working time. We often have one day per week when we might go to the forest or swim in the lake or people may prefer to stay on site and get time on their own to pursue their own interests or do their washing. There is some flexibility in how you spend your time most days and you will get space to 'do your own thing'. As a bottom line, volunteers are expected to work at least four hours per day in addition to helping out with domestic tasks like washing up and to participate in some community activities and services, but this does not really convey what staying at Amida France is about. If you are coming to stay, enjoy the full experience by participating as fully as you can.
What about access to services?
We have wifi on site at Amida France so if you have a lap top you can get on line. We are about a half hour walk from the village which has a small shop that stocks most basics. Otherwise getting to banks and other services requires a trip to town. You can often get a lift with the person who goes shopping, but as we try to limit our driving and other people may also want to go, it is best if you arrange things so that you do not need to be going too often. In emergencies, of course we are happy to help out.
Other questions? Please email us and we'll add them to the list!
A volunteer's experience: