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Live, Work & Travel in the UK & Ireland


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Gap Year & Voluntary Work in the UK and Ireland

Unpaid Positions & Adventure

Aberdeen International Youth Festival - The Festival attracts an array of talent from across the world and offers you a chance to experience a range of quality and diverse performances. Over 60 temporary and volunteer staff are required during the Festival. Positions include administration, production, transport, pastoral staff, participant liaison and runners.

Active Training and Education - ATE require monitors, over the age of 17, to work at summer camps located in castles or mansions. Applicants must complete a seven day residential training course to learn children's songs, games and crafts. Though there are some fees to be paid during the application and training period, ATE will refund your travel expenses after the summer camp and provide a financial 'thank you'.

Amnesty International - Amnesty run a minimum three month volunteer programme in their offices in London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff. Volunteers are involved in campaigning, marketing, media and general support and can claim travel expenses and luncheon vouchers for the days they work.

Arnie’s Backpackers - A friendly Belfast hostel who want people to work in all aspects of their hostel. Along with a bed and breakfast they also pay £30 per week pocket money. Minimum eight weeks’ stay preferred. They tend to recruit via the HelpX network.

British Museum - One of the leading museums in the world, volunteers take on a number of roles including guiding tours, stewarding and managing sleep overs for young people spending a night at the museum.

Cambridge Rock Festival - The smaller and less glamorous festivals, such as this one in Cambridge, also want volunteers. Stewards work for four hours a day for two days in exchange for a ticket and free camping.

Camphill Communities of Ireland - There are about nine Camphill communities in the Republic of Ireland. Young people often volunteer to join a Camphill community for a short period. They give valuable help in the running of households, craft workshops, the working of the land and educational activities.

Camphill School Aberdeen - An independent voluntary day and residential school near Aberdeen.

Canal & River Trust - Formerly British Waterways, this organisation is responsible for maintaining England's old industrial canals.

Cathedral Camps - Help to clean and restore historic cathedrals and churches.

Centre for Alternative Technology - Working for a sustainable future with help from volunteers.

Charles Dickens Museum - Volunteers help with publicity, marketing, cleaning, admin and conservation among other roles.

Comeragh Hostel - Volunteers can find themselves accommodation and three meals a day in exchange for converting to organic growing the family run farm adjoined to this hostel.

Community Service Volunteers - Projects in the UK for Brits and foreigners.

The Conservation Volunteers - Week or weekend long conservation projects in Britain. Formerly known as BTCV.

Conservation Volunteers Northern Ireland - Conservation Volunteers Northern Ireland (CVNI) is a registered charity involved in practical conservation work. Work is carried out throughout Northern Ireland. Task projects include a diverse variety of activities such as tree-planting, dry-stone walling, path creation, river clearance and pond construction as well as office work. The organisation also provides an extensive range of training courses.

Edinburgh International Film Festival - Paid, volunteer and internship positions.

EF - Academic year in the UK.

Electric Picnic - Irish music festival that has volunteer roles on offer.

Endeavour Training - Endeavour provides challenge and inspiration to young people excluded from society across the UK. Volunteering opportunties are available for a wide variety of activites including youth work, driving, film editing, fundraising, event organisation, event marshalling, publicity designers, journalists, photographers, mentors and handing out leaflets. - The UK’s busiest website for green jobs, courses and events. Most listed jobs are paid but there is a sizable volunteering job search and directory.

Ffestiniog Railway Company - The oldest independent railway company in the world offers a chance to fulfil every boys' first career choice.

Finn McCools - Hostel, close to the Giant’s Causeway, thought to take on work exchange volunteers.

Florence Nightingale Museum - A small independent museum dedicated to the lady with the lamp, the FNM has a volunteer programme.

Four Paws - An international animal welfare charity with a few volunteer office jobs.

The Gables School of Cookery - Offers cookery courses near Bristol for those on a gap year.

Garden Museum - Situated on the South Bank of the Thames, opposite the Houses of Parliament, the Garden Museum welcomes volunteers with an interest in gardening. Volunteers receive a free lunch in return.

Glastonbury - The big music festival in Somerset. Paid jobs available for skilled technical staff and security. Also opportunities to work for your ticket or gain work experience.

The Gorilla Organization - An international charity led by experienced African conservationists dedicated to saving the world’s last remaining gorillas from extinction. Volunteers are wanted to help out in the UK. Tasks include volunteering in the office, public collectors, fundraising interns, festival volunteers and Great Gorilla Run marshals.

Green Street Townhouse - Dingle accommodation that accepts work exchange volunteers.

Hay Festival - Literary festival held in Wales attracting luminaries such as Salman Rushdie, Jeremy Clarkson and Jools Holland and Martin Amis. Both volunteer and paid jobs available. Welsh language skills an advantage for some positions.

Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust - Volunteers wanted.

HorseWorld - A Bristol charity caring primarily for horses, ponies and donkeys, they rescue, rehabilitate and rehome animals who have been abandoned, neglected or ill treated. Volunteer roles include helping out in the tack shop, stable assistant and working with children as animal encounter assistants. Work experience is also an option here and paid employment, when available, is listed on the jobs page.

House of Mark - This Cairngorms hostels has used Twitter to put out a request for seasonal workers, to who they provide free food and accommodation. Successful candidates will be offered one to three months’ work.

IAESTE UK - The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience arranges on the job training for science and engineering university students.

Igloo Hostel - Nottingham hostel that welcomes the contributions of volunteers for six weeks to six months in exchange for free accommodation and food allowances.

Imperial War Museum - Volunteers can work at any of the five branches of the IWM including joining the ship's company of HMS Belfast or military vehicle conservation.

Independent Living Alternatives - ILA recruits full-time volunteers for 4 months or more, to enable disabled people to live independently.

Inverarary Hostel - Might welcome volunteer input for a week or more in return for travel expenses.

Ironbridge Gorge Museum - Offers a free lunch to volunteers who dress up in Victorian garb and demonstrate 19th century social and industrial skills to tourists. Accommodation is available in a hostel three miles away.

Kentwell Hall - Volunteers are invited to live as a Tudor for a couple of weeks to demonstrate how a Tudor house might have been lived in, operated and sustained a community in its heyday in the 16th Century.

Kew Gardens - Discovery, Information, Horticultural and Schools & Families volunteer programmes available.

Kilronan Hostel - Well travelled people, who know how long they plan to stay, are welcome to work four hours a day for their bed in the Aran Islands.

Lagan Backpackers - Work three 12 hour or six three hour cleaning shifts a week plus one night in exchange for accommodation in Belfast.

Lazy Duck - Invites can do people to help out at their small hostel in the Cairngorms from mid-April to October.

The London Iranian Film Festival - The London Iranian Film Festival is an organisation run by volunteers which aims at providing a cultural alternative to the film experience, also to celebrate and promote the artistic elements of the medium and promote the art of film making itself. Part and full time volunteers of all backgrounds are welcomed to help out.

London Transport Museum - London's red buses are world famous while the London Underground map is a design classic, and these, along with posters, uniforms and rolling stock make up the collection at the LTM. Volunteer duties may involve meeting visitors, providing guided tours, handling and cataloguing the reserve collections, helping in the library or stewarding vehicles at Depot Open Weekends. Work experience is also available.

MacGabhainns Backpacker Hostel - A Kilkenny hostel. Offer to do a bit of cleaning about the place and you may land yourself breakfast and one of the 32 beds.

Monkey Sanctuary - Home to a colony of woolly monkeys, the Sanctuary accepts several dozen volunteers a year. Volunteers stay for 2 to 4 weeks and contribute a small sum towards the cost of accommodation and food.

Museum of London - Provides a list of its current volunteer opportunities on its website.

National Maritime Museum - The Museum, located in Greenwich, is keen to involve more people from the local community in its work. There are opportunities to become involved on a voluntary basis, mainly working in the galleries.

Natural History Museum - One of the top museums of its kind in the world, the Natural History Museum has over 200 volunteers unified by a shared interest in nature.

Outdoor Emergency Care - First Aid courses for the wilderness. The courses are held in Sussex and London.

Oxfam Stewarding - Oxfam provide stewarding for a number of festivals including Glastonbury, Womad, Reading and Leeds. Priority is given to past stewards and regular supporters of Oxfam, with unfilled positions opened up to the public from around the end of March. Stewarding roles vary from festival to but could involve working the gate, showing people where to camp or looking out for fires. Oxfam stewards are able to get away from the muck and mess of a festival, they have their own camping area, toilets and showers, and receive meal tickets. Alternatively consider campaigning for Oxfam, getting festival goers to take part in Oxfam's festival activities. Both roles require you to be 18 years old and to pay a refundable deposit by credit or debit card.

Rougey Lodge - Said to provide equipment and lessons, along with the usual work for your keep perks, in Bundoran, Ireland’s surf capital.

Royal Mile Backpackers - Often has opportunities to work in exchange for free accommodation in Edinburgh.

RSPB - In the UK, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has a flexible volunteer programme. Volunteers can participate for a day, week or month in a number of different roles.

Samye Ling - Samye Ling depends on its team of volunteers to run smoothly and efficiently and are always happy to welcome enthusiastic newcomers. You can work as a volunteer on a daily basis, coming and going each day, or you can stay as a visitor or resident, helping out with gardening, lighting lamps for world peace, chopping vegetables in the kitchen or building work.

Science Museum - All you need to volunteer at the Science Museum is to be over 18, enthusiasm and willing to get stuck in.

Scottish Canals - Volunteer work looking after Scotland's network of industrial canals.

Sea Watch Foundation - A national marine conservation research charity dedicated to the protection of whales, dolphins and porpoises around the UK. Volunteer work available.

The Sister Fidelma Bed and Breakfast - This Tipperary lodging provides a bed in return for three hours of help a day. One month minimum stay preferred.

The Smallpeice Trust.- The Smallpeice Trust promote engineering careers to young people through residential courses.

SmartGapyear - A gap year au pair programme for young Australians wanting to be an au pair in Britain.

Speyside Trust - An outdoor activity centre in the Cairngorms National Park, volunteers assist group leaders. Full board and lodging is provided plus weekly pocket money.

Tate Modern - Has a limited number of internships.

TimeBank - TimeBank appeals to people like you who know that their time and skills are in demand but just don't know what to do about it or where to start.

Trees for Life - Volunteers needed to restore the Caledonian Forest in Scotland. No special skills or qualifications are needed to participate but, because the work is often in remote areas, volunteers need to be relatively fit but not exceptionally so.

Ultimate Gap Year - One day courses in London providing students and independent travellers with essential safety advice and knowledge before they embark on a gap year or remote travel to developing countries.

Unipal - Brings Palestinian teachers of English to Britain in order to study language courses and refresh their language by living with British families.

United Nations International Volunteer Projects - Over 1000 projects in Europe and North America as well as a more specialised programme of projects in more than 20 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Urban Saints - Christian youth organisation. Volunteer holiday helpers required.

Vagabonds - Belfast hostel thought to take in volunteers.

Victoria and Albert Museum - Volunteers assist in many activities and departments. They work on the Information desks, as tour guides, as escorts for people with disabilities, and also in administrative roles in the offices. Work experience is also available. - A government initiative to promote volunteer work in the UK, this website provides a search for opportunities such as hostel work, disaster relief, with emergency services and includes under 16 volunteering.

Voluntary Service Belfast - Undertake community and conservation tasks in the province and gain experience that can lead to nationally recognized qualifications.

Volunteer Developement Scotland - Government assistance to those looking to volunteer in Scotland.

Waterway Recovery Group Canal Camps - Another project in Britain concerned with preserving the industrial past, Canal Camp volunteers may find themselves feeding 20 hungry workers, clearing gloop from a canal and learning to lay bricks. Camps last a week and cost around £50. Food and accommodation is provided.

WCVA - Government assistance to those looking to volunteer in Wales.

Welsh Highland Railway - Owned by the Ffestiniog Railway and offering similar volunteer activities, the WHR winds its way on a 19 and a half mile journey through Snowdonia National Park.

Whizz-Kidz - Sets disabled children free to reach their true potential by providing mobility equipment to give kids the chance to be independent. They also run youth groups, wheelchair skills training, residential camps and work placements, allowing young disabled people to gain skills, make friends and become confident wheelchair users. All this relies on volunteer support. They also have a 12 week internship programme in their Central London Headquarters.

Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales - Resident full time Wardens oversee the running of Skomer Island, open to visitors between April and October. Up to six vacancies are available each week from March. Wardens assist with managing day visitors and overnight paying guests, conservation work and buildings maintenance. Accommodation is simple and volunteers need to bring their own food.

Winant and Clayton Volunteers - A UK US friendship programme, volunteers do community work in the east end of London and receive free room and board during a seven week volunteer placement. A similar programme is offered for UK volunteers in America.

Wings and Wheels - Volunteers are involved in many aspects of putting together an airshow each August, from greeting military aircrew on arrival, helping the general public with queries to selling programmes and marshalling motoring demonstrations. Each volunteer is asked to do a minimum of three hours between 8am and 7pm.

Woodbrooke Study Centre - Study many of the world's religions in peace at a quaker study centre near Birmingham.

Wowo Campsite - Though they no longer seem to offer self funded working holidays in the East Sussex area of the UK for young people on a Gap Year, they do provide free camping to musicians and their family and friends between March and the end of October. One hour of providing acoustic music for their music programme equals one night of free camping.

WWOOF Ireland - Nearly 400 hosts can be found in Ireland, including in the north.

WWOOF UK - Where this WWOOFing thing started.

The Year in Industry - Paid student placements in engineering, science, IT, e-commerce, business, marketing, finance and logistics. Students are placed with 300 top UK companies every year including National Grid, Shell, Rolls Royce, British Energy, L’Oreal, Network Rail and GKN.

ZSL - Various types of volunteer work are available at both London and Whipsnade Zoos. Volunteers should be over 18 with no upper age limit. Two week experience placements are also available.