Gibside Learning & Community Assistant

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Volunteer Role Description

Learning & Community Assistant


What is a Learning & Community Assistant?

Learning & Community Assistant is a trainee residential volunteer opportunity for twelve months to help in the preparation and delivery of educational activities offered to school and community groups at Gibside. 

You will support the day to day operations of the stables bunkhouse, plan and deliver fun family engagement activities, including Wild Child birthday parties, engaging events and help create interpretation for visitors to enjoy.  

What’s in it for you?

  • Gain experience of working with people of all ages and backgrounds in an outdoor setting.
  • Being part of a large national organisation in the heritage sector
  • Access to funded internal and external training opportunities
  • Develop bushcraft skills and knowledge of wildlife while gaining experience of working with young people in environmental education and visitor engagement.
  • Be part of an experienced and skilled team who will support you to gain experience and confidence to deliver group sessions.
  • Meet new people and make new friends while being part of a friendly and dedicated team.
  • Share your skills, experience, knowledge and enthusiasm with others at and visiting Gibside.
  • Access to accommodation and facilities during your volunteering period.

What’s involved?

This Learning & Community Assistant trainee role is a twelve month opportunity to live on site at Gibside.  You will be part of the Learning & Community Team to support the development and delivery of activities, develop resources and your own transferable skills.

  • You will receive a full induction, which will include National Trust policies, health and safety, safeguarding, history of Gibside, day to day operations and this role within the team.
  • The role involves preparing for and assisting with the delivery of educational activities which include habitats, local history, team building, literacy, art, bushcraft & Forest School themes.  Activities are delivered outdoors all year round.  Itineraries for groups vary as some come for day visits and some stay overnight at Gibside Stables Bunkhouse. 
  • An example of a typical day during term time includes: Preparing resources for the visit before meeting the school off the coach in Market Place and welcoming them to Gibside. Guide the school to the location of their chosen activity which for example could be in the West Woods for a campfire session including toasting marshmallows.  Then as a group we’d head to the Stables for a lunch break before completing a second activity which could for example include searching for wildlife in the Lily pond and Ice House Dene woods.  Finally guide them back to their coach to say good bye and thank you for visiting. After this we regroup as a team for a nice well-earned cup of tea! We then plan and prepare for the next day, prepping resources, colleting fire wood or developing new activities.
  • As a team we also deliver Wild Child Birthday Parties for 4-10 year olds which all have a bushcraft theme.  You will support in developing, preparing for and delivering these birthday parties.
  • You will support the coordination of the day to day management of the bunkhouse including helping with bookings to ensure that all visitors and groups have a professional, helpful and efficient service.
  • During the year there will be opportunities to plan and develop activities, working these through with assistance from the team from the initial planning and risk assessment stage, to trialling activities then evaluating them and promoting them as part of a new offer.
  • There are also opportunities to work with other teams at Gibside to help deliver a wide range of visitor engagement opportunities and events.
  • We ask you to be cheerful, inspiring and enthusiastic about wildlife and history at Gibside.
  • Through all the interactions with groups and individuals there are lots of opportunities to develop your communication skills as well as learn to be adaptable and flexible to customer needs.

This role will suit people who… enjoy working with children and people of all ages and abilities and who are looking to develop their own skills and experience of working in the heritage sector to enhance their CV. We are open to people from lots of backgrounds who enjoy talking to people, like getting stuck in and working as a team to provide positive experiences for others.

Extra information

Your place



Accommodation offered is free (including utility bills except telephone/internet). The house (Chapel Cottage) is on site at Gibside, with shared bathroom and kitchen facilities with potentially two other volunteers but with the privacy of your own bedroom. 

Time commitment


We ask you to be available 5 days a week, usually Monday to Friday however on occasion we many require your support on some evenings and weekends.

Volunteer Manager


Elizabeth Jenner, Learning and Community Officer

Tel:  01207 541204  Email:

What you need to wear/ bring


>We will provide some National Trust branded clothing.  Bring your own casual outdoor clothing for all weathers.  

>Crockery, cooking utensils and furniture are all provided in the house. Bring your own towels & bedding.

>Enthusiasm, energy, commitment and a smile are a must!



There is the opportunity to receive funding for training up to £1000 that will be specific to this type of role to help you in developing a career in this field. This could include customer service, Safeguarding, developing & delivering outdoor activities, bushcraft, Forest School, wildlife identification, the use of hand tools, communication and First Aid


Basic food costs can be reimbursed accompanied with receipts or if you live locally to Gibside travel costs can be reimbursed with receipts instead (limits apply).


Enhanced DBS check is required.

Driving licence would be beneficial but is not essential.


About the National Trust

The National Trust is a registered charity and is completely independent of the Government. We rely for income on membership fees, donations and legacies, and money raised from our commercial operations.  We are supported by five million members and 60,000 volunteers without whom we simply could not manage.  We protect and open to the public over 300 historic houses and gardens and 49 industrial monuments and mills.  We also look after forests, woods, fens, beaches, farmland, downs, moorland, islands, archaeological remains, castles, nature reserves, villages – for places, for ever, for everyone.


Gibside is one of the few remaining examples of an 18th Century Landscape Garden and it belonged to the Bowes Lyon family.  The National Trust are currently restoring the garden after years of neglect, while ensuring it is open for visitors to enjoy and encouraging local communities to become involved.


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