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help exchange   Host 56548
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Help Exchange

All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 45
Persons: depends on season
Category: Other
Host ID: 56548
Country: Scotland

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Last Updated: January 17, 2019

GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR INDEPENDENT TRAVELERS/HELPERS who would like to get away from it all and who would like to spend some time developing their character and skills in a rural environment with many animals.

Spaces available from March onward.
From Mid-May to end of June, we have space for one more volunteer.
In July and August we can take one additional volunteer OR one couple.

You need a valid visa (or be European) to be able to volunteer for us.

Minimum stay: about 4 weeks (it takes a while to train you to do things right, so short stays make no sense).

Maximum stay depends on time of year, your skills, and how much work is actually available.

WHO WE ARE: We are based in the North-East of beautiful, but often rainy Scotland (close to Aberdeen, from where it's easy to go to the Highlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow and other places in Scotland). We run a small animal charity and dog kennels. The charity is focused on working with birds of prey (mainly owls) to educate people and bring some light into the life of people with special needs and elderly people in care homes. Due to the nature of this work, you will not be involved with this side of the business - apart from helping out with cleaning bird transport boxes and carpets every now and then. We will introduce you to the owls, but you won't work with them. We also have some horses on another property, but they are not yet trained for riding (if you have experience breaking in horses, and feel confident enough, you could try to work with them).

We need two types of people:
- people who like gardening, willing to take on general jobs AND want to work with the animals (cats, dogs, one rabbit, sometimes horses) from time to time, preferably with previous experience
- people who have some construction, concreting and/or woodworking skills as we still need to build new dog kennels and continue with building bird aviaries (in winter the weather isn't good enough for this)

What both groups of volunteers need to have in common: be respectful, kind to animals, accepting of people's differences, and have a generally helpful attitude. You need to be able to get along with your own company and plan your days off on your own. Hence, this is a great place for people who enjoy not being surrounded by the city, and have some time to focus on themselves. You'll have time to read, write, work on your laptop (internet available in a cozy yurt), go for walks or do other things you enjoy (however: NO DRUGS. NO OVERUSE OF ALCOHOL.)

There are seven cats with which we will need some help (feeding, cleaning cat litters, cleaning waters and food bowls, making sure their houses and bedding are clean, etc.) - so you should like cats. You don't need cat experience, but truly have to be willing to work hard and listen to what our animal carer tells you. There's also one rabbit next to the cats who needs attention!

If you are reliable, we will also train you to work with the dogs. Again, it is very important that you have the right attitude and TRULY care about doing things right. We had volunteers in the past who simply didn't care. That makes our life lot harder than doing everything on our own. Our dogs are large, but friendly. Beware though: lots of poop involved, so you need to be fine with picking up bucket-loads of dog shit.

We need to finish building new bird aviaries and dog kennels. We got started in 2018, but the weather is now too bad to do concreting and other construction-related jobs, so we are now looking for some help with that in 2019, when winter is over.
If you know how to work with concrete, are a carpenter or have general building skills, you'd be very welcome!

There is gardening, some painting, work in the forest (moving cut up logs, picking up branches, clearing pathways), fencing and general tidying jobs around the property.

You would sleep in a large static caravan (see picture - it's NOT the type of caravan you tow behind your car to go on a holiday). You'd have a private room but share toilet, bathroom and kitchen with others. You need to clean up after yourself to show some basic respect for the people you share the place with.
There is a large Mongolian yurt with reliable but average speed internet access to hang out in, too.

We do the shopping for you (but nothing luxury like Amaury from the reviews expected, he even wanted LIVE animals to slaughter). You would do your own cooking. Vegans and vegetarians are VERY welcome (our animal carer is vegan and would be more than happy to share cooking duties with like-minded people).

No drugs. No drunken behaviour. You need to buy your own alcohol. One glass of wine or a couple of beers are fine, but if you constantly have to drink or even turn up with hang-overs, this is NOT the place for you. Smoking outside only (and no littering with cigarette butts!).

You'd work 5 hours a day (sometimes more, sometimes less, so please don't be someone who counts minutes - we work with animals, things can go wrong and take longer), and you'd work 5 days each week. We are flexible with days off, so you can also "save" them to take a few days off in a row to go exploring.

We are in a RURAL area. There's no city in walking distance. You can walk to a local village, or take a community bus to other towns and villages, or visit Aberdeen. In your spare time, you need to be able to keep yourself entertained as we do not have the time to hang out with you all the time. It's not because we're mean or anti-social, but because our life is very busy, so please be aware that you NEED to know how to get along with yourself. It's great place for people who love reading, relaxing, walking, writing, or other creative endeavors.

Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like to stay with us.

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