ESC Volunteering with The Night Orchard in Cloughjordan & Ballingarry, Ireland

*** call closed*** this project will not be available in the period of 2023-2024***

If you are curious about nature, gardening and living in self-sufficient and very rural community, then this beautiful project in Ireland is ideal for you!

Dates: September 2021 –  September 2022 (flexible start/end within those months, 12 months in total)

Location: Cloughjordan & Ballingarry, Ireland

Hosting Organisation: The Night Orchard

About the Hosting Organisation

The Night Orchard is a small social enterprise based in Cloughjordan and Ballingarry, Ireland. We aim to become a model enterprise for rural regeneration based on local environmental responsibility, the development of economic resilience and the empowerment of young people through non-formal learning opportunities. We offer several products and services, including apple juice, free-range eggs, oyster mushrooms, and a catering service aimed at the environmentally aware and those who value the use of high-quality local and seasonal products. Our vision is to “provide a space for learning practical skills and promote a homesteading lifestyle in rural communities”. We would like to offer a unique experience where young people can learn how to grow food, add value to raw materials, organise catering and events, cook healthy food, promote local producers, develop a business plan and marketing/communication strategy, using creative ways how to diversify income generation, and being active agents of change by promoting health and well-being, rural development, climate change, and social environmental awareness. This is our first year hosting ESC participants after years of experience with Wwoofers and other informal volunteering schemes.

About the Project & Your Tasks

We have found how important it is for personal empowerment to have practical tools for life and to feel capable of living self-sufficiently such as growing your own food and cooking it, building your own shelter, and having a broader understanding of the environment in which we live. All this is possible in solidarity and cooperative work. We provide a unique opportunity for young people to acquire a broad general set of skills through learning by experience and at the same time benefit from a guided immersion in intentional health and wellbeing connected with nature, with focus on the physical, emotional and spiritual dimension. We are continuously developing a non-formal education program for young adults with a variety of topics to empower their future endeavors in a more sustainable way.

As part of the project, the participants will be part of a family environment in a rural community. They will have access to a wide range of activities, events, and learning practices which will allow them to learn different skills to empower themselves in a self-sufficient way of living. Learning how to grow food, how to cook, how to recognise herbs and edible plants, how to grow oyster mushrooms and keep a small flock of laying chickens, basic knowledge in building and use of tools, basic accountant and business plan strategies. In addition, digital skills such as mapping the territory and landscaping, accountancy programs, Website and social media. The participants will also learn different practices of self-development and personal growth all based on nature connection.

In each activity the participants will be working hand by hand with one member of the team who is in charge of the area. When it comes to group activities such as monthly celebration, events, markets and eco-building, more members if not the entire team will be working together. We have a mentoring model that includes an eco-soul centric approach. There will be a space dedicated to a more deep inner work and personal growth with emphasis on nature connection and art expression. Personal meeting with a mentor who will guide each participant in their journey, including dream work, wonder in nature, journal, meditation, etc.

Finances, Accommodation & Insurance

The participants will be living in a small rural village in the middle of Ireland. We provide high standard accommodation in a renewed stone farmhouse, with private room and shared workspace area. The house is in one of the locations of the project where we run the small flock of chickens and oyster mushrooms. All the food is mostly locally grown and vegetarian based, including our own garden and products. (Apple juice, free range eggs, oyster mushrooms, etc.)

We have a shared car and bikes available for the participants.

The ESC program covers transport (between 180-275€ for German residents), and 180€ pocket money/month; free food and accommodation.

During your stay in Ireland, you will be covered by your German Health Insurance, and additionally be covered by CIGNA (health, travel, third party liability).

Holidays are during Christmas (10 days) and the rest of the remaining holiday days (14) can be organised based on the needs of each participant during the year.

You will take part in the On-Arrival and Midterm training provided to all ESC volunteers hosted in Ireland. You will have a Mentor in the hosting organisation that will support you during your project.

Who can apply?

You can apply, if…

  • … you are between 18-30 years old when starting the project
  • … you are living in Germany
  • … you have a strong interest in nature, personal development, and curiosity to learn more practical skills for life, including cooking, building, developing small business, event production, gardening, and community living.
  • … you are willing to initiate a personal journey and explore new ways of learning in a multicultural environment, surrounded by nature.

Some key questions for you before considering applying:

  1. What attracts you most about this volunteering opportunity?
  2. How aware are you of personal wholeness?
  3. What’s your relationship with ‘nature’?
  4. Do you have any regular personal / spiritual development practices?

Please send an email with your CV, a picture of yourself that you like the most, and a motivation letter to [email protected]
Also, please fill the following form:

There is no Application Deadline. For questions about the project, please contact the Hosting Organisation directly. For other questions or anything you may need, you can contact our ESC Sending Coordinator Irma: [email protected]

In case you get selected as their volunteer, we are happy to be your Sending Organisation.

Good luck with your application!