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help exchange   Host 21807
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Help Exchange

All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 1
Persons: 1-4
Category: Other
Host ID: 21807
Country: Scotland

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Last Updated: September 15, 2018

Invitation to volunteers looking for something different

Availability is as follows.
Taking booking for 2018 !

..........UPDATE.......We are looking for a skilled person to cover position 1 from September onwards, especially if the person would like to stay for a longer term. 1-3 months. But short term applications are of course welcome, too.

We are located on Kerrera Island we are now ready to take bookings for a `hosting` opportunity and we are looking for special ENTHUSIASTIC people! By this we mean volunteers willing to contribute their labour and time in return for an experience to remember. In fact we need help straight away. So, after reading all the information and reviews below, and if you like the sound of what we offer, please do get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you.

This is not for the fainthearted! My name is Colin i am 45 and i live here with my partner Tina and our two children, Oscar a boy who is two and a half and our daughter Tilly who is 11 months old, we also have two small dogs, raven and minky.

This property is surrounded by farm land with sheep and cows about (these are NOT my animals). You should be aware that this is a very rural location on a small, sparsely populated island, 40 people - NO shops, NO pub, (Kerrera Island) just off Oban on the west coast of Scotland. The only way to get to the island is by a local ferry, for foot passengers and authorised vehicles only. It takes about 45 minutes to get from Oban to the property, and to a quite different world.

Is to convert the inside of my old stone cottage into a comfortable but quirky space, (this is not an eco build) to landscape the property and build amazing gardens, to plant thousands of trees and grow my own vegetables, to continue to be inspired to create a very special place that can be enjoyed by countless people into the future, to meet and to enjoy working alongside many interesting people from all nations.

We are looking to fill two vital roles, there can be some overlap but i will try and make it as clear as possible as to what you are applying to come and do.

Position 1
Site helper.
The working hours for position 1 are as follows.
Monday - Friday (NO work on the weekend)
WE start at 10.00am BOOTS on and ready to GO ! not cup of tea in hand talking about the weather..... We then work until 1pm, stop and have a simple lunch. We start work again at 2pm and work until 5pm at which point we STOP work and relax. Dinner is served at approx 6.30 -7pm

This position is mainly about helping me in the renovation of the cottage, i know what i am doing and am looking for a good right hand man or woman to follow my instructions and be there to assist me in the many varied tasks that are involved in a renovation.

Please understand that when you arrive i could be undertaking any number of tasks associated with the project, these tasks can sometimes take a few hours to a few months, you will need to be willing to get involved in whatever we are currently doing and i cannot guarantee that its all going to be fun fun fun !

Sometime i am away or don`t require help, on these occasions i will provide you with work that is either within your skill set or you will get involved with the many big ongoing outdoor jobs, these include but are not limited to - tree care, including weeding and mulch matting - bracken pulling or cutting - drain digging or clearing - landscaping and walking track construction - road maintenance and filling in pot holes - fire wood processing.

Position 2
Domestic and outdoor helper
The working hours for position 2 are as follows.
Monday - Friday (NO work on the weekend)
You will not be expected to work more than six hours in a day, however we often have two people to fill this position and the day is often split up between you, one person may start at 9am and help with Oscar and Tilly until they go of for there afternoon sleep and then you might do a couple of hours outside while the other person starts later and helps to look after The kids when Someone is cooking diner. Nobody is expected to work after dinner !

This is such an important position and we are looking for energetic people to help keep everything running smoothly. This position will include looking after our young son (Oscar) he is a happy child who is just bursting with enthusiasm, he loves being outside (rain or sun) and exploring the world and we encourage this, but with me working on the cottage and Tina looking after baby (Tilly) we find it hard to give him the outdoor time he needs, So you need to like small children and be able to interact with them, be competent in an outdoor environment and want to spend time outside supervising a small boy / girl as they learn all about the world around them. We DO NOT have a Television and our son does not have ANY computer, tablet or phone time. So if its not outside its inside and then he loves drawing and experimenting / playing with his collection of toys and general junk plus everything he is not allowed to play with........ He loves interaction games and as i said is a happy laughing bubble of joy with the occasional melt down !

This position also includes general domestic help, we live in an small traditional house, two rooms and a bathroom upstairs and two rooms downstairs, workshop and utility room on a lean to out back. THIS Is a working house and its a constant job keeping it tidy, people traipsing in and out all day, Small boys and girls make a world of mess from anything and everything, fires to make, food to cook, clothes and dishes to wash, dogs, ducks and chickens to feed, its a plethora of activity and it all generates mess and disorganisation. So you need to be prepared to get involved and help when and where you see the need or when and where we need your help !

Its not all small children and mess ! We have a massive garden....... I have planted a few thousand trees and many hundreds of bulbs and plants. The trees are still small and some are newly planted, they need weeding and mulch matting to give them a good start. Bracken is a very invasive fern and we have been cutting it back every year, each year it gets a bit easier and and a bit less but this still needs doing twice a year. I am developing a walking track trough the property and again each year we try and do a bit more to it. There are also various outdoor painting jobs and other random tasks that need doing. We do not have any vegetable gardens at this time, this will be a project for summer 2019.

The hosting project runs on a tight time schedule. We work pretty hard for six hours a day, five days a week, you will always get weekends off. In return I offer basic but comfortable accommodation and good food. Facilities here are limited, but there is wifi internet access. Please be aware that we have given up our living room so that both male and female helpers have there own rooms, this means that indoor space for hanging out is limited to the small kitchen, your room or the even smaller Luigi Room.

Computers, tablets and phones.
Our children do not have any interaction with these devises, i dont want them to start there life thinking its normal for people to have their faces glued to these small screens, (he can learn that later)
So its simple, please keep the use of these devises to your rooms. There is also no phone reception at the house, you have to walk up the hill !

We are NOT vegetarian but do eat a lot of vegetables, we are unable to cater for vegans, sorry about this) please LET me know when you apply if you have special diet requirements as limited facilities and group dynamics need to be taken into account when planning the crew.

SMOKING and the rules.
We are a non smoking household, smoking is permitted only in designated areas or away from the house. Smoking during the working day is limited to your brakes there is NO SMOKING on the job. This is NOT to say smokers cannot come (some of our best helpers smoked!) but you need to respect the rules.

This is an unusual opportunity for you to experience island living in a geologically stunning environment, surrounded by a rugged coast line, and a sense of history. There is, for example, a ruined medieval mini-castle five minutes` walk away, you can spend your free time exploring and enjoying the island, which has an abundance of flora and fauna undisturbed by modern living, You can fish for dinner, throw the dog a ball or just relax and watch the sun drop below the horizon. Nearby, Oban has ferry services to the local islands and the west coast is accessible by train and bus. As to lifestyle, we don`t watch TV or listen to tacky radio, but we do love to listen to music even though we are NOT musicians A game of cards in the evening never goes amiss!

Ideally, we are looking for long-term helpers -- say around two months -- but there are always openings for a shorter term too. A minimum stay would be two weeks. We would be happy for folk to stay longer than two months if it seemed to be working out well for all parties.

If you apply to come and help and we send you an email accepting your offer you will have 48hrs to confirm you are coming to stay, after that we CANNOT guarantee your place will be held as we are CONTINUALLY getting messed around by helpers applying for multiple placements and not bothering to let us know that they have changed there plans.

If you are energetic (capable of doing a solid days work) POSITIVE ! and have a genuine desire to get involved with EVERYTHING that is going on, and enjoy healthy living in an unusual location, then this hosting opportunity may well suit you, as itís simply that kind of place.

So, if you like the sound of it, please contact us by email.
(NOT phone) In your message, in which you will tell us something about yourself and why you think your accepting this opportunity might suit the both of us, please confirm that you have read the above information and the reviews written by volunteers who have come here before you. This will tell me, as your prospective host, that your interest is more than a casual one, and that you are not just sending a generic response to an internet site. For I am serious in offering an outstanding and certainly not trivial experience; and I am looking for volunteers who are SERIOUSLY interested in this kind of placement. As you see, we have some great reviews and this has led to some helpers getting a placement by lying about their abilities and their supposed willingness and enthusiasm. This only results in a problematic stay for all concerned. Being truthful about your skills and abilities does not affect our choice of helpers but only helps us to put a comprehensive team together. So please be honest.

Below are photographs of the location and of some of the physical projects mentioned. There is also a short movie about the island and it`s lifestyle, made by an earlier student and helper, which gives a flavour of the island setting that is impossible to put into words.

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