EVS at the ASHA Centre in England 2016-2017

Duration: October 2016 – August 2017 (10 months)
Venue: ASHA centre, Forest of Dean, Gloucerstershire, UK
Funded by: British National Agency for the Erasmus+ programme
Volunteers: eight volunteers from Spain, France, Germany, Denmark, Poland, Estonia, Croatia and Bulgaria

The ASHA Centre is an international retreat and training venue working for greater peace and understanding amongst diverse communities, especially young people. The Centre is located in an old country house in one of the loveliest parts of England – the Forest of Dean. The centre has five acres of productive fruit, herb, rose, vegetable gardens and maintenance of the grounds.

The project combines elements of environment protection and biodynamic/organic agriculture (inspired by Rudolf Steiners’ philosophy) with hospitality in an innovative and fun-packed programme aiming at fostering active youth participation and a sense of European citizenship. Its learning outcomes include an increased competence of the English Language, understanding of organic gardening and sustainable living, cleaning and household tasks, cooking and kitchen work, hospitality skills, team building, being pro-active, taking initiatives, assistance of Erasmus+ project management, leadership skills, and project development. This will provide the volunteer with enhanced confidence and self-esteem, examples of their work which can be used as portfolio, for either further education applications or for employment interviews and both hard and soft life skills.

The main activities are proposed to the volunteers at the ASHA Centre:
– Maintenance of the ASHA grounds and biodynamic/organic gardening
– Hosting international groups on training courses, welcoming them, cooking and cleaning
– Assistance in office work related to Erasmus + project management
– Learning how to live in an intercultural community in a rural setting, integrating the local community
– Development of an EVS personal project

Becoming part of the ASHA team, seeing what it takes to run an active charity and rural centre, taking initiative, gardening in all kind of weather conditions, developing own personal projects, being involved in local community events and cultural outings are all part of this EVS placement.