Volunteer Opportunities

Hobbiton offers volunteering opportunities as part of the development of social skills of our youth. The opportunity is available to people within the ages of 18 to 30 years with a minimum availability of three (3) months.

As a registered Non-Profit Organisation, the Outdoor Education Centre is mainly focused on disadvantaged children, some from homeless shelters and some from child-headed households. Volunteers will be trained on all of Hobbiton’s facilities and activities to assist working with these groups and the upkeep of the centre. This may include facilitating team building, raft building, ropes courses, group dynamic challenges, organizing games, and environmental outings such as hikes through the forest to the numerous waterfalls in the area.

Interested? Please note the following:

  • We have worked with volunteers from all over the world
  • To get to us, you could take an internal flight from Johannesburg to East London from where we will collect you.
  • A minimum commitment of three (3) months is expected in order for volunteers to be placed in our centre.
  • The volunteer contract comes with free accommodation which may at times be shared with other volunteers of the same gender.
  • Hobbiton pays no allowance or stipends, volunteers will often have to self-cater although 15% of the meals will be from us when we host catered group bookings. 
  • The first two weeks in Hobbiton are for orientation, we will offer basic training which may include shadowing an experienced outdoor instructor. 
  • Basic conditions of a workplace are adhered to, therefore once a volunteer passes the Instructor’s competency test they will be scheduled for duty and weekends off, this will be on a rotational basis.
  • The main task of volunteer instructor’s is to help facilitate Outdoor Education, however volunteers may occasionally be required to also assist with maintenance of equipment and facilities.
  • Our peak season may be demanding with instructors and volunteers working up to 14 hours a day when there are large groups. To compensate for the long hours, extra time off or days off are arranged.
  • An application form will be sent to you upon request, your signature denotes your acceptance of all the information supplied and commitment to assist in this outdoor education and welfare centre. 
  • For further information contact us

Further information

Hours of work
An average of 7 hours a day, during peak periods instructors can possibly work up to 14 hours a day to accommodate the large groups.  Time off is then arranged on a rotational basis to help each team member recuperate and unwind.

Volunteer’s duties
Volunteers assist in the running of the outdoor education courses, thereby adding an international flavour to the centres. These activities include team building and personal development programmes involving hiking, abseiling, raft building, ropes courses, group dynamic challenges, organizing games, environmental outings, etc.   The training completed is in accordance to international (ACCT) standards, letters of reference can be supplied upon request.

During our quieter times volunteers will be expected to assist with maintenance of the activities equipment and general upkeep of the facilities e.g. scraping and painting the walls, cleaning activities pool, installation of Ropes Courses, fixing tents, and other related tasks. These tasks may also extend to occasionally assisting with general administration tasks such as typing sponsorship request letters, filing and taking photos of group activities for PR purposes and answering phones.

Accommodation
The instructor’s houses are basic, they sleep 4 – 6 people. Each bedroom is equipped with a bed and a cupboard while the fully equipped kitchen (a stove, microwave, kettle, toaster, fridge and washing machine) is communal per house.  Bedding can be provided however it is a good idea for you to provide your own sleeping bag especially if you wish to travel after your time at Hobbiton. Additional freezer space is available in the centre’s main kitchen.  For leisure, there is also a comfortable common room or break room with a pool table, satelite TV, foosball table, trivia games box as well as free Wi-Fi.

Banking facilities
Both East London and Alice have several banks and cash ATMs are available in Hogsback.

Allowances
Hobbiton pays no stipend and volunteers will often have to self-cater.  We try to provide a meal a month in their team-development programme and Instructors are fed when the centre is catering for groups – on average 4 days a month. Bigger bookings usually invite the Instructors to join them for meals but that is seasonal, mainly in the months of March – May and August – October. Experience has shown that  190 – 240 a month is enough to feed an Instructor well and still allow a bit for socialising!  We suggest therefore that volunteers allow for € 1140 – 1440 towards food per a 6 month period – even though not all of this may be needed.

Holidays / Term dates
Volunteers have one weekend off in three however there are always days when there are no groups in camp or a group checks out early, in which case the Instructor may work shorter hours. We give our 6 month volunteers 11 days of leave and our one year volunteers 21 days. You will need to discuss any holiday plans fully with the COO so as not to disrupt schedule of general operations.

Transport links
Lifts to East London can be arranged.  East London is the nearest big city and from there volunteers can take long distance coaches.

Access to Internet / E-mail
We have a wireless connection and if volunteers have their own laptops or cell phones with wireless abilities they are welcome to make use of this.

Suitable Clothing
Volunteers who will be around in July should take warm clothing as there is snow in winter on the Amatola mountain range which is where Hogsback is situated. The summer months are sunny and hot (we often have over 30
oC day time temperatures) sun cream is definitely necessary from those staying over summer. Rain coats, a hat and strong footwear are recommended for throughout the year.

FAQ

  1. Are there any social features volunteers need to pay attention to when working at this project?
    • South African constitution embraces all religions and cultures. The major groups are Christianity and Islamic religion. There are no additional compulsory vaccinations however it is advisable to consult your physician.
  2. How many volunteers can the project sustain?
    • We are able to accommodate up to ten (10) volunteers at given period, although starting and end dates may overlap at times.
  3. What are the time limits for a volunteer’s stay at this project?
    • A minimum of 3 months and a maximum of 12 months is the recommended time although special requests may be accommodated through arrangement. Many past Instructors return to us for shorter periods after going back home for at least a year or so.
  4. May my friends and family visit?
    • Absolutely! We welcome families and friends, all that we ask is that you make prior arrangements with the COO before booking anything. This will also allow us the opportunity to offer free accommodation if we are not fully booked during that period. All guests may only be entertained with the COO’s knowledge and permission.
  5. Is there transport that we can drive?
    • If you have a valid international driver’s licence then Hobbiton may give you permission to drive one of the centre’s vehicles for doing important personal and work errands but not for private and /or social use.
  6. What is security like?
    • Your safety is of paramount importance to us and so we take this issue very seriously. South Africa has a higher crime-rate therefore caution is to be exercised at all times when visiting outside the centre. We also encourage volunteers to make photocopies of their passports, medical and travel insurance papers, plane tickets, and other relevant documentation that can be kept safe in the centre’s safety box.
  7. What do you recommend as the closest holiday destinations?
    • You are in luck as the Eastern Cape is probably the best situated for holidays. We are centrally located within South Africa, making travel to Natal and the Drakensburg, the Western Cape and Cape Town or Gauteng and Johannesburg equally easy, although why travel out of the Eastern Cape as we have the pristine Wild Coast 160 km to the east of Hogsback and Addo Nature Reserve and Jefferies Bay leading into the Garden Route less than 160 km to the west. To the South is some of the most beautiful coastline. If you are in South Africa over July, the Grahamstown Arts Festival is a must-see and if your interests are in adrenaline pursuits then we have tree-top canopy zipwires, dune-boarding, parachuting and the highest bungy in the world within the province.

 

PLACEMENT DISCLAIMER


We make every attempt to ensure that the project description is as accurate as possible, however circumstances, and personnel may change during your placement resulting in work or accommodation rearrangement.  For some bookings your work programme will be structured and organized for you, but it is encouraged to use your initiative as you grow confidence in your personal skills.  Your open-minded approach will help ensure that both parties benefit from this experience.

Please feel free to contact us at hobbitons@telkomsa.net or view www.hobbiton.co.za