Volunteer Programme at Emerson

Volunteer at Emerson - Change your Life!

Our volunteer programme has been running for the last few years with volunteers coming to spend their time working in either the house, garden or kitchen teams; our volunteers play an intrinsic part in the successful day-to-day operation of the College. Whilst the day of a volunteer can sometimes be long and tiring, our volunteers are always full of cheer and play a valuable role in creating an atmosphere that is positive and uplifting.

Our volunteers can join lectures at the college, art classes, storytelling and clowning performances and other themed courses (such as Lifeways) in addition to working 30 hours / week. We will teach you many practical skills in hospitality, catering and gardening.

We are an international team and have the English language in common. We can organise English classes against a modest fee for those who want to improve their English. Many of our volunteers have found training places or work after staying with us.

Volunteers range in age from early twenties to their late fifties and come from across Europe. Very often volunteers report that their time at Emerson has been ‘life-changing’. 

“Emerson is one of the nicest, friendly and most peaceful places I have visited in the UK. Helping out the surrounding community and meeting people who are all just so positive and helpful was a breath of fresh air. Living in London we are almost surrounded by a bubble so taking a step out of it allowed me to really reflect but also relax and enjoy the surrounding environment. I helped throughout the community starting with cooking supper all the way to maintaining the surrounding gardens. I will never forget how kind and open everyone was and how everyone had their own unique journey which brought them to Emerson. It’s a tranquil and happy environment and if given the opportunity I would defiantly visit again. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about the world they are living in but also for those who want a chance to learn and develop as an individual. Thanks again Emerson!!” ~ Chrishan 










Photo: Volunteers in Spring and Summer 2016 

To volunteer you must be 18 or over and have a basic knowledge in English. The work is quite hard and you need to be well and fit.

Ideally, we like a volunteer to stay between 3 and 9 months as this allows us and you to bring rhythm to the work with your colleagues. Due to the strict immigration laws in England we can only accept applicants with a European passport.


Time: 7 January - 16 March 2019 and 17 March – 29 June 2019

We have places in the Hosting Team who do house work on campus and look after course participants in the dining room. 

What do you do and learn in the house team?

  • Preparing guest accommodation including cleaning, making beds and general house keeping
  • Working in the college laundry
  • Setting up class rooms and other college teaching spaces
  • Setting, serving and clearing college meals and refreshment breaks, washing up
  • General house work in and around Pixton House
  • Learning about ecological cleaning methods, creating harmonious spaces and hosting large student groups

 We  will provide you  with suitable work attire (aprons, gloves). Closed shoes (no sandals) are required to work in.



Time: 1st July – 12th September 2018 - FULL

new places again available in summer 2019

Assisting the college cooks in the preparation of lunch and supper

  • Introduction into Food Hygiene for the kitchen
  • Cleaning the kitchen and kitchen storage areas
  • Restocking supplies and provisions
  • Recycling and composting
  • Learning some simple receipts and dishes

 We  will provide you  with suitable work attire (aprons, gloves). Closed shoes (no sandals) are required to work in.



Time: 1st April – 12th September 2018

new places again available in spring - please check website

  • Regular tasks in maintaining shrubbery, borders, lawns, woodlands, orchards
  • Making compost
  • Support the team in the vegetable garden when a lot of things need to be harvested, watered or planted
  • Learn about nature; plants, flowers, ornamental shrubs, trees, insects and animals and their relationships in a unique eco-system

We will provide all tools and work gloves.

On occasion we may ask you to work in another team for a day or two, depending on need, but for the sake of continuity it is generally expected that you will work in one team only.

Please understand that volunteering at Emerson is hard work as there is much to do. We expect that when you are on shift, you are on time and ready to do a full day’s work. We ask for a commitment of 30 working hours in every 7 day period. The shift patterns will vary depending on what team you are in, but there will be days off and free time for everyone in each 7 day period. The work involves weekend work and days off during the week.

In return for your commitment we will look after you. You will share meals with students and staff. Your bedroom (single room) is in a student house with shared toilets and showers. The working language is English and you will be able to practise your English every day. Often the volunteers are invited to participate in festivals, storytelling evenings and lectures or bring in their own initiatives. Many of our volunteers have stayed on in England either to find work, join a course or start a professional training.

We are not able to pay your travel or any form of wages, so you will need to bring some pocket money with you. We can organise English language lessons against a modest fee.

On arrival you will be shown around the college and you will have ample opportunity to get acquainted with your colleagues, the staff and the work you will be doing. We will train you in your work and make you familiar on how to work safely.


Our Contact Details

In order to apply, please fill in the application which you can download here.

All enquires regarding the volunteers programme should be addressed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The college reception phone number is +44 (0)1342 822238.