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We are currently fully booked for the rest of 2019.
We are looking for people who are physically strong, resourceful and motivated and who have the stamina to get stuck into working outdoors on steep slopes. Working here will give you some challenges along with great rewards!
We, your hosts, Karen and Matthew, are an English couple in our late 50's/early 60's. We have lived in this remote part of France for the past thirteen years, in a small stone house perched on the side of a mountain valley. The setting is very peaceful, with access by footpath only. We are committed to a sustainable self-sufficient lifestyle and enjoy all the challenges that this brings.
Help with Eco project
Our volunteers join in fully with our lifestyle and have the opportunity to learn about the reality of self sufficiency. We genuinely share our lifestyle with our volunteers. If they wish to immerse themselves in local life then they can either learn French or improve their French. They certainly have the opportunity to speak and learn English. Since we take four volunteers at a time, there are innumerable possibilities to share each others language and culture. All the work here is outside and there are many, many skills to be learned, practised and developed with supervision and guidance from Matthew. Although we ourselves do not seek out a social life, the village of Massat is very welcoming and has plenty of opportunities to meet people and get involved with local life.
The volunteering will be outdoors, very physical and on a steep mountainside. It includes strimming and brush cutting, tree felling, cutting up felled trees, splitting and stacking logs and maintaining vegetable and fruit gardens in the terraced raised beds. We are also repairing and restoring the many collapsed areas of dry stone walls around our land, and of course there is always general maintenance of the house and land to attend to.
We have some specific projects for 2019. One such is developing the paths into and around our forest and creating better access along with seating and relaxation areas. We would also like to design and rebuild the area around our barn door and improve the access to the poly tunnel. Which projects actually come to fruition depend largely on the vision, skills and enthusiasms of the helpers, so plenty of flexibility!
We are well organised people with a steady attitude. We are both very hard working, and we expect our volunteers to work hard, although to balance this you will have plenty of time off!
We both have part-time employment in the nearby village and town, so there are times during the week when one or both of us are away from the house. This means that you need to be independent, self motivated and trustworthy.
English and French
Our guest accommodation is in a prospector tent (see photo below) set amongst the trees, a short (but steep!) walk from the house. This allows you to have privacy and independence whilst also having easy access to the house and facilities. The tent has a comfortable sleeping area with two full size beds and quilts, a sofa bed, a platform bed, a living area with table and chairs, and a wood burning stove for cooler evenings. There is a composting toilet and hand wash facility alongside, and a wet room/laundry area exclusively for volunteers up at the house.
Our food is delicious and plentiful and we will provide all your meals, including picnics for when you are out and about. Meals are eaten together on the terrace, or in the house, depending on the weather. We eat a vegan diet using organic fresh home grown produce to make lots of interesting and tasty meals. We both love to eat, and especially enjoy home made bread, cakes and puddings. We grow almost all our own fruit and vegetables.
There is a fridge available for the use of volunteers if you wish to store any of your own food or drink. There facilities at the tent for making hot drinks.
Please be aware that we live very quietly in a remote setting and do not seek out much of a social life. This is definitely not the place to come if you want to party. If you love mountains and outdoor activities and can be independent in organising your free time, then you will find that this is a truly fantastic place!
We have a stable high speed internet connection with wi-fi enhancer which makes it available in the tent. Be warned that you need good battery life on your appliances to make the most of this as there is only solar lighting system in the tent so lap tops can't be plugged in there. There is a charging facility up at the house.
We provide free international telephone calls but only to landlines.
Normally your working week will be from Monday to Friday. You will have the flexibility to organise a work schedule which suits you, as we encourage volunteers to organise themselves independently with help and support as and when they need it. Usually there is at least one project where people need to work together, so at those times you will need to co-ordinate your plans. You will have all the weekends free to pursue your own activities.
There is so much to do and so much of interest all with close proximity. For those who love sport there is walking, climbing, mountain refuges, kayaaking, cycling, mountain biking, fishing, paragliding. For quieter pursuits choose from the many historic and prehistoric places of interest to visit, local markets, village events or local cuisine. Or you can always relax with a good book!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 25 hours / week
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