Expression of Interest - Long Term Residential Volunteer - Rathlin

Opportunity for couples or family unit to volunteer for 4 weeks or more in our residential Scheme

Tuesday 27 April 2021
Vacancy type:
Residential volunteering
Rathlin Island

What we're looking for

This is a truly unique volunteering experience for the 2021 Season Due to possible Covid-19 restrictions being in place our seasonal operation on Rathlin Island will need to be innovative and flexible to react to ongoing changes and comply with all Government guidelines. To enable the West Light Seabird Centre to open we need volunteers but due to Covid-19 restrictions we cannot offer the normal shared accommodation. We are therefore looking for expressions of interest from couples or families that can identify as one 'Household' as set out in the Government guidelines to take up the long term volunteer role. Rathlin Island has the largest seabird breeding colony in Northern Ireland. The Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre welcomes in excess of 20,000 visitors during the season, all eager to see the puffins and other seabirds at this internationally important seabird colony You will join our friendly team of full-time seasonal staff. Most of your time will be spent interacting with visitors, but you'll also be involved in daily tasks maintaining the visitor facilities, including housekeeping and restocking refreshments. In addition to the main daily role, our residential volunteers contribute in so many other ways – if you have practical skills, creative flair, foreign languages or any other talents to offer the Seabird Centre, we will be delighted to hear about it! Self-catering accommodation is provided at Kinramer Cottage ('the camping barn'). This is 3.5 miles (1 hr walk) from Rathlin's harbour where you'll find most of the island's services (shop, cafe, post office, pub), and 1 mile (20 mins walk) from the Seabird Centre. This accommodation would normally house up to 8 volunteers in two bedrooms of 6 single beds and 3 single beds. However for the 2021 season this will not comply with Covid-19 guidelines and we are therefore offering the whole property to a couple or family.

The skills you need

Minimum age 16 if accompanied by a parent. Enthusiasm, ability to work both on your own initiative and as part of a team, interested in conservation and wildlife but, above all, good with people and quick to learn. Due to the nature of the site, this role requires a lot of walking and negotiating the 120+ steep steps to the viewing platform. You need to be friendly, approachable and able to engage with visitors from all over the world. Overseas volunteers should have a good level of spoken English. Please note, specialist bird knowledge, whilst helpful, is not essential.

Your time

5 Days a week
1st July - Mid September



Application form (PDF)
To be completed and returned to us before a booking can be made

Brochure about residential volunteering (PDF)
Find out more about residential volunteering on this, and our other reserves within this scheme. Also included are answers to the most frequently asked questions

What's in it for you?

As an RSPB volunteer you'll be part of something big – a team of amazing people who donate their time, energy and talents to help the RSPB give nature a home. You'll play a vital role in delivering a first-class experience to our visitors – we simply couldn't do it without you! Each day, you'll be meeting a wide variety of people and providing them with that memorable 'wow' moment. From the viewing platform, you'll have grandstand views of the seabird colony, with sensational wildlife-watching opportunities throughout the breeding season. You'll look out from the cliffs across the wild Atlantic, with vistas of the Causeway Coast, Donegal and Islay on the horizon, and maybe spot seals, cetaceans or other marine wildlife. You'll also experience what it's like to work at a unique lighthouse. You'll gain insight into the workings of Europe's largest conservation charity, and in particular learn about the RSPB's conservation work on Rathlin, where our reserves are managed to support the return of chough and corncrake to the island. In your free time, you'll be able to explore Rathlin and experience island life. Get out on the walking trails, enjoy the wild landscape of this beautiful island, and look out for Rathlin's remarkable wildlife. Call in to the Boathouse museum, visit some of the landmarks and soak up the island's history stretching from Neolithic times to the modern era. Make friends in the café or the bar, and maybe join in with a traditional music session.

How to apply


Rachele Crawford, Northern Ireland Headquarters
Tel: 028 9049 1547
Email: Rachele.Crawford@RSPB.ORG.UK


Due to the likely changes to Government Guidelines we are only asking for expressions of interest at this stage and cannot guarantee any applications will lead to an agreed booking. On receiving any enquiries we will respond to discuss available dates and the make up of your party, to ensure your potential volunteering will be Covid Compliant, to protect yourselves our organisation and the residents of Rathlin and it's visitors. The spectacular location is mainly outdoors, at a cliff-side lighthouse and visitor centre, within a National Nature Reserve on a scenic island that is steeped in history and rich in biodiversity. Late night sunsets, island characters and wide panoramas combine to provide a volunteering experience second to none. Tourism makes an important and growing contribution to the local economy and the Seabird Centre is one of the main visitor attractions on the island. RSPB staff on Rathlin also include a Warden and Assistant Warden who manage the RSPB's reserves. These include Roonivoolin and Knockans,which offer spectacular coastal walks and a stunning clifftop viewpoint. The RSPB works closely with the local farmers and the wider community, and during your stay you will be expected to act as ambassadors, helping to build support for the work of RSPB. Appropriate training will be provided. The RSPB speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. Nature is amazing - help us keep it that way. Click here to join today 'The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654

Reference number 9317