“Newton Dee is a Camphill Community focused on sharing life together with people with any form of disability. Creating a safe space for everyone to be respected, considered, and offered the same opportunities as anyone else”

Volunteering area: People & Earth Care

Location: Aberdeen – Scotland

Short description: Newton Dee’s ethos is that everyone brings different abilities, which we use to benefit the people around us. Newton Dee is a Camphill Community where coworkers (live-in volunteers) and Villagers (adults with special needs) live together in a mutually supportive environment. Moreover, they provide training and supportive work environments where all of the community members reach their fullest potential. All of this is rounded out by a robust social, cultural and spiritual life.

There are 36 houses in Newton Dee’s wooded grounds, which extend to a total of 180 acres, of which 120 acres are dedicated to their biodynamic farm.

Founded in 1960, Newton Dee is now a home to almost 200 people, nearly half of whom have some form of learning disability or special needs. The rest is made up of long term co-workers who live and work with their families in Newton Dee, volunteers who share from three months to a year of their life to experience something different, and employees who help with running workshops and administrative work.

Newton Dee is located on the edge of the City of Aberdeen in the Dee Valley. Part urban and part rural, this had allowed them to create a sheltered environment while integrating into the cultural, social and economic life of their immediate surroundings and wider city life. Newton Dee is a Camphill Community and member of the Association of Camphill Communities in the UK. Their central principle is a shared community life with Social Pedagogy as their underlying principle, influenced by the teachings of Rudolf Stainer (1861-1925) which inspired Karl Koenig (1902-1966) founder of the Camphill Movement. The basis of Newton Dee’s shared community life, as in Camphill Communities, is a belief that despite any form of disability, each person is deserving of the same respect, consideration, and opportunities as everyone else. Everyone in Newton Dee is valued for their contribution to the life of the community. Their abilities are nourished to grow into achievements which build a fulfilling life.

Each year, they welcome about 20 volunteers from around the world who will join one of their house communities, and one or two of their workshops. Volunteers will either live within the house or in a room that is looked after by the house community. They are expected to join meals in their house, and help with day cleaning and meal preparation as well as supporting some of the residents with their personal care.

During the week they either work in their workshops or in the house supporting the residents and working alongside them depending on the work and skills required. Every volunteer in Newton Dee has one day per weekend to themselves in agreement with the rest of the house community. The other day of the weekend, called “house day”, they often clean together with the residents, prepare meals together, garden, craft, etc. Newton Dee’s intention is to live and work alongside each other and they do not consider eating and socializing together as work. There will also be the occasional outing depending on the interests of the residents and trips to Aberdeen or the nearby countryside or seaside.

Each volunteer will have mentor, named upon arrival, with whom will meet with in a small group or on an individual basis to help digest and process the wealth of new experiences and impressions that comes with joining Newton Dee. Newton Dee also provides a number of mandatory training courses which are required by the British and Scottish authorities and which will help the volunteers have more knowledge, resources and skills on how to interact, support and help the residents with special needs.

Main activities will include: 

  • Support the daily needs of the community and the household (cooking, cleaning, gardening, helping the adults with special needs, etc.)
  • Getting training to be able to be of better help.
  • Getting involved with one of the workplaces – the café, store, bakery, farm, market garden, craft workshops or ground maintenance.

Specific information/requisites:

– Short-term workers need no experience of working with adults with special needs. Just bring an open mind and a willingness to get involved and to take initiative in the house and at work.

– They are accepting applications for volunteers willing to stay at least 3 months, but they will give preference to applicants who can stay 6 months or a year.

– All short-term co-workers attend an induction and an ongoing foundation course. Other ‘on-the-job’ training is given according to the work you do.

– Those working with us for a year or less receive financial support to cover clothing, other personal needs and outings. You should come with a return ticket or enough money for your fare home at the end of your period with us. Those staying for 12 months or longer will have the cost of their return flight refunded.

– EU volunteers will now need to apply for a VISA. For those from outside the UK, Newton Dee can sponsor a Tier 5 volunteer VISA.

– Newton Dee lives their lives according to Christian principles but they welcome anyone with different approaches and beliefs who respect this aspect of their Community life.

More information: newtondee.co.uk