We are currently looking for people to join the residential team who looks after Monkton Wyld Court, tending to the day-to-day running of our Centre for Sustainability, Guesthouse, Gardens and Farm. Each community member has a full-time job in the community in exchange for accommodation within our beautiful grounds, plentiful vegetarian and organic food, a modest monthly stipend, and the chance to be part of a worthwhile and rewarding project and experience community living! We hope that this page will give you a better understanding of how Monkton functions and how you might become a part of it…
Monkton Wyld Court is an Education Centre for Sustainable Living run by a staff of up to twelve adults and their children, with the help of up to six short-term volunteers at any one time. We have been organising and hosting workshops and courses since the early 1980s on a wide variety of topics, ranging from land-based practical skills to personal development and themed ‘family weeks’ during school holidays, and also host two weekly toddler groups, a weekly yoga group and a troupe of morris dancers! An exciting and eclectic range of groups also uses the place as a venue for retreats, courses and holidays. We also provide B&B and hostel accommodation and camping for guests visiting the area. While we are busiest on weekends and over the summer holidays, we welcome visitors (and volunteers) throughout the year.
We draw from a rich variety of resources and facilities as well as facing the ongoing challenge of living sustainably (see our page on Sustainability). These include the Pine Hall (an old school hall with a small stage), several group rooms, a well-stocked library, a children’s play area, and an outdoor kitchen, pizza oven and classroom. We also have an acre of walled kitchen garden, apple orchards, meadowland and a small area of woodland. Our micro-dairy provides our milk, yogurt and cheese, and our free range chickens lay eggs. Our reedbed sewage system is in need of renovation and our fruit garden is still in the early stages of its development.
Our income comes from our course programme and from the individuals and groups who visit us, and as well as all that is involved in the running of everyday life, a large part of what we do centres around the many visitors who come to take part in our workshops, courses and family weeks. We plan and organise our programme of events, running as many as we can ourselves and inviting guest leaders to lead others; we also host a variety of events organised by outside parties (anything from birthday parties to harmony singing retreats) as well as individual guests.
The workload and space limitations necessitate that our project here is the main focus for all staff members. Each adult community member therefore works full-time* within the community, in exchange for the material benefits of accommodation, food and a small stipend, as well as the many non-material benefits which come with living and working in this beautiful place! The community is a mixture of longer-standing members and those passing through for shorter periods, and so represents a mixture of time-tested ways of doing things and openness to change and fresh energy, both of which we need in order to survive.
*This is flexible in some cases, such as for families with young children – we welcome transparent discussion from the beginning with all of the community as to how this could work for everyone as well as for the running of a busy charity. While every allowance possible is made for parents of young children, we don’t have childcare facilities and do have to prioritise getting everything done.
Each community members has a specific role, focussing on one of the following areas: housekeeping, kitchen, maintenance, gardens, grounds, fuel / wood shed, office (including admin, finance, fundraising, marketing and programme coordination) and volunteer coordination. There are therefore also various tasks which are covered by all community members in rotation, such as washing up or preparing for, welcoming and cleaning up after guests. Within each community member role, we also aim ideally to spend some time each week in another area, for example so that those working in the office get some fresh air and exercise working in the garden, or those working in the garden can do a kitchen shift from time to time – division of work is a work in progress, however, and depends on the skills and interests of the team as a whole at any given time!
To find out which roles we are currently recruiting for, please visit our Recruitment Page.
Community members live for the most part in a variety of outbuildings: caravans, a yurt, a strawbale house, a renovated stable block and a wooden hut being some examples, while volunteers tend to stay in two accommodation blocks which were built as classrooms during the Court’s days as a boarding school (1940 – 1982). Community members and volunteers all eat together and we meet up briefly every morning at the start of the working day to catch up with each other, deal with any urgent issues and plan the day ahead. Weekly meetings for community members provide an opportunity to exchange information and views, plan ahead and deal with any other issues in more depth.
If you’re interested in living at Monkton Wyld Court, we ask that you begin by volunteering in order to get to know the place (and each other!) initially. Visit our volunteering page to find an application form. Our volunteer coordinator will contact you to arrange dates for a first visit after we’ve received the completed form. After the first visit as a volunteer, if all are in agreement, we will invite you to return for another period of volunteering. We usually recommend two 2-week periods of volunteering, or in any case a total of 4 weeks. There is a reflection time for both parties, and if all parties are in agreement, a six-month probation period with a monthly review will begin. The probation period will include a stipend as well as board and lodging. After a successful probation period you would become a full community member.
Please mention which community member role(s) you are interested in when you fill in the volunteering form. Volunteers join our morning meeting at 8:30am to hear about the day ahead, and are expected to work for seven hours per day on five out of seven days per week. Please note that we are a vegetarian community and that we have a no pet policy here.
If you would like any more information or have any questions please get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you!