ENGLAND: Family support / women's refuge

United Kingdom

Adventure Overview:

  • 1 Year

The focus of this amazing project is the restoration of relationship, which works on many levels: restoring broken families, restoring individual women's relationship with themselves & restoring their relationship with the world around them. Support comes from a professional and highly respected team with many year's experience, and is found within a gentle spirited, calm and beautiful environment in the heart of Derbyshire. The team seeks to address the issues faced by families / women in a very real and practical way, providing an opportunity for a change of lifestyle for people who are committed to overcoming life-controlling substance/alcohol misuse, and a chance to restore a sense of purpose and identity in those recovering from domestic abuse. Their aim is to encourage: a sense of belonging and individual identity in an open, non-judgmental atmosphere; an empowering environment using a holistic approach, helping clients to meet emotional, spiritual and psychological needs and reach each individuals true potential.

This project has been working with families and individuals in distress for many years. Their focus is getting people back on their feet, offering residential support for women and children fleeing domestic abuse or who are homeless, and through their latest farm based project they also offer rehabilitation support and life skills education for men and women with addiction issues.

Family life - as every parent knows - is rarely ever 'plain sailing'. Sooner or later problems arise. Most families are able to resolve these difficulties within the family unit, but for some the problems are so serious and deeply rooted - that outside help is called for. This is where the project is able to step up and provide additional support & counsel for the whole family. Most families experiencing serious difficulties find it helpful to have someone to talk to. Some need a 'breathing space' away from pressures - somewhere they can take stock and begin to address their difficulties.

The team are highly regarded in the community and within the  sector for the effectiveness of their programs and the impact they have on individual lives.

Their skills training projects set out to offer meaningful therapeutic activities to people who are marginalised, and through them to encourage greater self-confidence and esteem. The vision is that through offering support to damaged individuals they will be empowered to rebuild their lives through developing new attitudes and skills. The aim of the farming project is to provide meaningful occupations for the clients whilst generating an income that will help to support the cost of the project and enable it to be self supporting.

The house also provides a childcare facility for the local community as well as the children of clients.  This facility is professionally run by outside staff members and has a great reputation within the community.

The latest activity to come on stream is the Woodwork Skills Training Course. Based in one of the barns at the farm, the course is designed to provide therapeutic but meaningful training, and to encourage greater self-confidence and self esteem.

In addition to the residential teams there is also the floating support team. This team was set up to help those living in the community who need a little extra support. The aim is to help people to remain in the housing they choose by offering support and advice on all issues - including emotional support, help with making and keeping appointments, attending groups, help with accessing and attending other areas of support, support in meetings, parenting guidance, self esteem, budgeting advice, accessing leisure facilities and more.

What is Included?

  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • 24 / 7 Support
  • Training
  • Adventure Package
  • Stipend
  • Information Pack
  • Accommodation: You will be living in your own room within the project house which is a very large building in the heart of the town. Boundaries are in place so that you ensure your time off is not intruded by clients or other staff members.
  • Food: You will generally eat together with the team, however the kitchen is available for you should you at times wish to cook for yourself.
  • Stipend: A monthly stipend is included in this project, this is to enable you to cover the cost of your basic personal expenses on top of food and work related costs. You will not pay any bills other than your personal phone bill, and all other costs are covered. Volunteering is about simple living, and so your stipend is calculated according to the local economy to ensure that you are not living above the standards of the local community around you.
  • Training: All volunteers setting out on an adventure with us receive pre-departure training to help you prepare for the experience ahead. This training covers all the areas you need to think about before you pack your bags. It gives you time to focus and prioritise, and provides you with the knowledge and information you need in order to have a safe, fulfilling and enjoyable adventure. On arrival at your project you will also receive orientation training which will help you to better understand the local culture and support you as you find your way around this new country. On your return we will also support you as you readapt to life back home. We encourage you to keep in contact with us and consider opportunities for you to stay connected to the work you have been part of with Agapé. In addition to all of this training you will also receive a comprehensive welcome pack full of useful information on your project, the country and the culture, as well as detailed safety and communication lists.
  • Support: Agapé Adventures respects that each person is unique, and thus has different needs, and we endeavour to meet those genuine needs as effectively as we can. All volunteers are supported by Agapé every step of the way. You will be allocated a line manager to assist you in the day to day aspects of your adventure and staff at Agapé’s main base who will be available 24/7 for any out of hours emergencies. All staff involved in supporting you, work together to provide coordinated, personal and professional support throughout your adventure. 
  • Adventure Package: During your time in project we will coordinate an exiting adventure package for you. Where possible we try to tailor this to your interests, otherwise this will be a group event with other volunteers. A time to do something completely different and enjoy the country in which you're living in a whole new way! Here in Ireland the adventure package will be discussed with you all as a group during the first few months of your time in project. 
  • Airport Collection & Drop Off:  When you land into the airport we will make sure that someone is there to meet you and bring you to your project base. We will also provide assistance in returning you to the airport at the end of your time to help you take back all those gifts you've picked up along the way! 

What Isn't Included

  • Visa
  • Flights
  • Insurance

What will I do?:

Joining this team means that you become part of the community, you live within the project base - a large Victorian building within the pretty town centre, minutes from the peaceful beauty of the Derbyshire countryside. You will assist the team in supporting the women & families who come to the centre, working to ensure a peaceful and positive atmosphere remains within the house.

Each person working in this project is different - bringing his or her own gifts and talents, for this reason your role within the team will be, to a large extent, unique. Day to day jobs, however, will include: Social Work with parents and their children (individually and in groups), administration, shopping, cooking, DIY, befriending, teaching etc.

If you have skills in crafts, gardening, computers etc you may be asked to assist in running workshops designed to help equip the clients. There may also be scope for you to help out on the mini-farm which the project runs in a different part of town.

This is one project where much of the work you do will be designed around the skills you have - even if you don't feel you have much to give right now, after a few weeks in this project your skills and strengths will soon become apparent, and the team will help you to discover how your natural talents can be used to help others.

It is a unique project, with a unique team, reflecting the fact that we are all individual, and as a result the atmosphere and impact of the project is evident almost as soon as you walk in the door!

The Local Area

From rugged moorland to rolling hills and dales, and lush meadows to leafy forests, the Peak district and Derbyshire Dales have some of the UK's finest scenery, just waiting to be explored. And wherever you roam, you're never far from the superb sports and entertainment facilities, wide-ranging culture and vibrant night-life of surrounding cities like Derby, Manchester and Sheffield. Add Hollywood film locations, historic houses, glorious gardens, awesome attractions, world-class theme parks and fabulous festivals and delicious local food and drink - and you have it all!

You are also able to make the most of direct travel links to London from Manchester, so what ever you are looking for in your days off it's only a short trip away!

Map of the Area



To start your very own adventure click below and apply to join one of our projects.

Youth in Action Comlamh Volunteering Options British Standards Keeping Children Safe