Pioneer Centre (UKD-42)

Type: Sport/Culture: Outdoor activities - Country: United Kingdom

Brief description and main aims

The Pioneer Centre (part of the Northampton Association of Youth Clubs, Registered Charity number 803431) is an activity and conference centre combined and has as its motto "Releasing potential in all through outdoor education, retreats and training." It can accommodate up to 300 guests, and welcomed over 30,000 visitors (including non-residential day groups) each year. As an AALA licensed and fully accredited outdoor activity centre, it is used by many kinds of groups, such as schools, youth groups, clubs, church groups, etc. Young people come to the centre to experience the thrill and excitement of being challenged physically, mentally and socially, by taking part in the indoor and outdoor activities on offer. Companies also send their staff to the centre for courses on teambuilding, personal development and management training, although the majority of groups come from local schools.

The centre is built on Christian foundations and many of the staff are committed Christians, however the centre welcomes all guests regardless of race, religion or creed. There is a balance of faith and non-faith groups using the centre and the organisations mission statement applies to all "To assist all young people in reaching their full potential through sport and creative activity in a caring, accepting and safe environment - sharing enthusiasm and building self-esteem through relationships."

Main Activities

Just some of the activities run by qualified staff are: high ropes course, raft building, abseiling/climbing, aerial runway, orienteering, night walks, fencing, archery, environmental activities, initiative games, swimming. They also run full facilitation personal development courses.

Volunteer tasks

Volunteers will work as part of the Activity Team. When they first arrive they will receive a lot of training on the activities, managing groups, teamwork and soft skills, etc. This will allow them to participate as activity instructors after approximately 6-8 weeks. During the first month, the volunteer will spend their time learning how the centre works, health and safety issues and initially taking part in the activities themselves and then following training courses/in-house training.

Once the induction and training period is over Volunteers will work alongside activity instructors with the groups who visit the centre. Volunteers will work assisting and leading activities such as abseiling, climbing, fencing, high ropes course, challenge course, initiative games, team building exercises and archery. Other areas of work include checking the equipment and being aware of safety issues at all times. Volunteers are also expected to help out with general maintenance work around the site and occasionally with the House team (making beds, cleaning). There is also scope for volunteers help plan and run less formal activities such as games around the camp fire, treasure hunts, nature trails and story-telling.

Work is operated on a shift system that includes some evening and occasionally some weekend work. Volunteers generally work between 8.30 – 5.30 with a 1 hour lunch break and breaks in the morning and the afternoon. Volunteers will work on average 40 hours per week.


Volunteer requirements / Skills

The project is looking for male or female volunteers aged over 18 years old who are outgoing,  flexible, reliable and have a pro-active attitude. Volunteers should have an interest in working with young people and doing outdoor work and activities. Volunteers with an interest in team building, soft skills and the personal development of groups would find this project
especially interesting.

A general level of fitness is expected as most of the work is of a physical nature. A very good level of English is required for communications purposes with staff and clients alike.Although there is no requirement for volunteers to be Christians, Being a Christian organisation volunteers should be sympathetic towards its aims and values of Christianity and the Christian ethos of the centre. The Campus has a no smoking policy and no alcohol is allowed on the site. All staff and volunteers are expected to show respect and tolerance for eachother - person and property. A spirit of cooperation  and mutual support is encouraged.



The Pioneer Centre is located on the edge of the picturesque Shropshire town of Cleobury Mortimer (20 minutes walk to town, 10 minutes level walk to the bus stop). The project is in a rural environment but is within commuting distance to Birmingham (1 hours drive by car to the centre) and is well connected by regular buses during the day to Kidderminster (13 miles East) which has a train station. Lifts from the project to town are nearly always available on negotiation with members of staff etc.

Hosting Situation (Board and Lodging)

Volunteers’ accommodation is situated in staff “lodges” on site. They accommodate between 10 – 20 people per lodge, and all volunteers and staff live there. Volunteers may share a bedroom with one other person there are single rooms as well and sharing rooms depends on availability of single rooms. In each lodge there is a living room with a television and video recorder, which you share with other people living in the lodge. There is a small kitchen with basic cooking facilities. Washing and laundry facilities are available. Access to Internet/Email is available. The centre provides all meals. In addition, there is a kitchen with basic cooking facilities. Staff and volunteers normally prepare their own breakfast in the lodge kitchens.

More Information

Please note that the start dates for this project are sometime earlier than the normal start dates for the ICYE programme in the UK. Volunteers at this project will still attend an On Arrival camp with ICYE-UK but it maybe 2-4 weeks after their arrival date.


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