Improve your English and enjoy a cultural exchange with our family in Barnsley, Yorkshire, Uk


United Kingdom

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 Min stay requested: at least 1 month

  • Description


    We live with my father who is 98, in a lovely house in Barnsley. He is generally well and happy and we have some help but we can always benefit from more help around the place. Our home is only a short distance from the train/bus and town centre and Barnsley is a good location for visiting other parts of England. We also have some great attractions nearby such as the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Cannon Hall Museum, and The Coal Mining Museum to name but a few.
    We aim to keep my Dad at home as long as this is possible, and keep him stimulated, happy and have a harmonious, pleasant environment in which he can live, and myself and my husband (plus lodgers) can also live.
    I am a musician and also have many years experience in English Language Teaching (TEFL). I would really enjoy having people from overseas, and would be able to give language support to anyone interested. I may also be able to give actual lessons, depending on my availability and what you are looking for.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    Elderly Companion
    General Maintenance
    Cooking / shopping
    Help in the house
    Language practice
    Help with Computers / internet

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Travellers would get a really good opportunity to live and participate in an English speaking environment. This is a lively home with people coming in and out each day, and activities such as trips and shared meals. My Dad is very sociable (as am I) so you'd be able to talk and really improve your language and listening skills. In addition we are always interested in people from other cultures and so this should be a really fruitful exchange.

    Musicians would be especially welcome to come, as I would benefit from having them around - and other artists/creatives also would be stimulating company. I am potentially interested in doing a project such as making a video etc with workawayers , so if you are looking for that kind of thing (especially if I have another person at the same time who'll be doing more stuff with my Dad) don't hesitate to get in touch.

  • Help


    The help we require is first and foremost to provide company and general assistance to my Dad for a few hours a day and particularly if I need to be out. This would usually be set hours e.g. 4-8 pm, and might be to stay with him until dinner is ready, and then assist him to get out of his chair, join us for dinner, and then return to the TV lounge until his carer arrives at 8pm. Then you could go to bed, or stay watching TV and socialising if you wished.

    On a normal week Dad generally likes to go for lunch or to visit friends on a few days a week - you'd be invited to come along and this would mean you'd get to participate in a real English-speaking environment doing quite pleasurable things. We would appreciate help getting him in and out of the car, and at other times, sitting watching TV, or chatting with him which would enable me to focus on other things.

    We also have visitors round to the house, and maybe once a week invite people over (or more recently have a bigger gathering once a month). You would be part of this as a member of the household: and help prepare and tidy up afterwards, but also meet people and talk.

    Anyone staying must be a cat-lover and not phased by cats appearing in their room, or trying to get out (they aren't allowed out here due to the main road at the front). Some cat-care would be really helpful: like maintaining the litter trays, and occasional brushing, or similar.

    My Dad likes people of all ages and loves (like we do) people from all over. Personality-wise he responds best to people who are able to/willing to make conversation (its not so much about fluency, but about sociability and asking the right questions). He is a lifelong Italophile, a former surgeon, and he's interested in subjects such as nature, politics, archeology, and poetry. He used to be able to recite reams of poetry, but now mostly he'll occasionally burst into a favourite song. He's not quite as sharp as he used to be, but he still has a wicked sense of humour, turn of phrase and interest in many things.

    I would say me and my husband are similarly interested in all things; especially relating to culture. He's Irish and got out of the rat race a while ago, though currently he's working as an excavator driver locally. In the future we intend to move away from the UK so its a bonus to be able to meet people and keep connected to what' happening elsewhere. I lived abroad for many years. I used to be a good Italian/Polish speaker but I'm really rusty- I would benefit from being able to speak either of these languages with you: and for any language-support really. So if you like teaching we can add in some language exchange, which would be good for me. As a teacher, I can probably write a language report for you for prospective employers/study purposes if that's useful. I can also do an initial assessment to help you identify key areas to work on while you are here.

    During summer there is definitely an opportunity ( for second person/ shared) to work in the garden, and outside. We need some extra help emptying an outbuilding ready for for joiners, plasterers and painters as it needs to be renovated. We need to tidy areas of the garden, paint fences, grow at least some tomatoes (someone who could come and grow and look after a veg garden would be great!), and help with the renovation of our "coach house". There might even be time for some kind of eco-project such as building a geodesic dome, or something on these lines (wish list: sauna!!!).

    I don't eat meat, though my Dad and my husband do. But I'd welcome vegetarians/vegans. I'd also welcome people who have a commitment to daily practice such as yoga or meditation.

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    Italian, Polish, some Spanish/French/German. Some members of the family (visitors) speak Danish, Dutch, Friesian, Mandarin and other languages.

  • Accommodation


    You would stay in our home: a lovely town house (6 bedrooms). Last year we had to have the house rewired, and as a result - there has been a lot of redecoration. Whichever room you stay in, it will have been cleaned top to bottom, and recently decorated.

    Guest rooms include a small single room on the first floor - it's fully equipped with a bed, desk, chair and space for your belongings. We have also got a bigger room (see pictures) on the top floor that is a double/ twin. This room also has a piano in it.

    You would have access to shared parts of the house: a lounge at the front of the house, a large dining room which has a conservatory looking out onto the garden, and kitchen. If you needed to use a printer, or to work somewhere undisturbed- other than your bedroom - that is no problem either. The house also has a garden and in the summer we occasionally have a barbecue. We have an outbuilding: which is the next big renovation project (and could form part of the workaway jobs, depending on who we have and what they like doing) and could be underway during summer. Its not usable at the moment but its a good sized space. There's also a shed/garage where my husband, Craig spends most of his free time, and makes pottery.

    Food would be included - currently we eat at least one prepared meal as a family most days, but generally everyone gets their own breakfast (except for my Dad). My Dad eats lunch - but as mentioned, he often goes out, so this is more casual: usually 1-2 pm. Everyone looks after their own washing up, or sets up/clears up after shared meals (usually 6-7 pm ). Anyone can cook, and if you like cooking, we certainly like having someone who's good in the kitchen. Shopping is generally done on the internet, but topped up by trips out to local shops.

    Info for allergies etc- all rooms have carpets but bedroom carpets are new.
    We have disabled access and a stair lift and plan to put in a fully wheelchair accessible shower downstairs later this year so we'd be more than happy to host a disabled traveller.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    The town is interesting to walk around- see the new market, and immerse yourself in local culture (it's quite a unique place). The sights already mentioned are great - but there's also fantastic countryside only a few miles away - and for those who like walking this is a great place to be. Further afield, there's Derbyshire, North Yorkshire which offer great scenery to explore/rock climbing etc. Trains go to Sheffield and Leeds, and then connections are from there. Buses go all over, and there's even a connection to London direct.

    Nearest Airports are Doncaster/Sheffield (there is a direct bus to Barnsley), Leeds-Bradford, Manchester (there is a good train connection but its a little costly), East Midlands and Humberside. Its also possible (of course) to travel here from one of the London airports.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

A recent "gathering". This was a birthday but we tend to have gatherings for brunch, lunch or sometimes an evening meal fairly frequently especially in warmer months
View onto the garden from the kitchen
A visit from extended London - based family. You might well meet them or other family/friends on a visit.
The cats
Fenris one of our three cats. Please note that you need to like cats if you stay with us. Our cats are very playful and are used to being the centre of attention.
Evan reading the book he got for his birthday
One of the bedrooms. This has a double, desk, wardrobe, and a piano
Double bed and wardrobe
Sheffield city centre
Sheffield city centre
Coffee at the Premier Inn with our first workaway-er, Rosita

Host ref number: 454141412931