The Catalyst Programme is a residential volunteer experience where young people from all over the world participate in a rhythm of service, community living and teaching at Ashburnham Place.
Here to serve
Service is at the heart of our programme. Volunteers have the opportunity to grow in hospitality and generosity and learn important life skills.
Join the gathering
An international and diverse Christian community, made up of staff and volunteers from all over the world.
Your whole life
Christ-centred teaching set around ten modules, aimed at helping you to reflect on how following Jesus involves your whole life.
What will my
week look like?
If you’re wondering a the typical week might look like, below is an example timetable taken from someone in the Hospitality Team.
Life in community
Your timetable will include the following: Serving in a volunteer team, being part of our communal rhythm of prayer and worship, attending weekly teaching sessions and activities, and much more.
Gaining skills for life
You will spend up to 32 hours in one of our serving teams learning important and transferable skills, and growing in hospitality and generosity.
In their words
Listen to the experience of volunteers
At the end of the programme, you will attend a graduation ceremony where you will have the opportunity to reflect and present on something significant you have learnt throughout your time in our community.
In addition to serving on site, our Catalyst Go trips provide you with the opportunity to put into practise everything you’ve been been learning on the Catalyst Programme in a different setting.
The majority of our trips take place in the UK, which reflects a desire to forge local and ongoing partnerships with organisations that might benefit from having a few extra pairs of hands to help.
Meet the team
Christian has lived and worked at Ashburnham Place for several years and has been managing the Catalyst Programme for the last three of those. As someone who has a passion for theology and teaching young people the profound truths of the Christian faith, Christian is engaged in on-going academic study and is nearing the end of a Masters in Philosophy and Theology. He is particularly interested in early Christianity and is convinced that the dynamic and spacious theology of the Patristic period has much to teach the contemporary Church.
Outside of work and study, Christian loves connecting with nature and is a passionate birdwatcher. He can often be seen during lunchtime filling up the Ashburnham Place bird feeders or scanning the skies for any signs of passing migrant species. Christian is blessed to be the husband of Lucy and father to two wonderful children, Josiah and Sophia.
Hannah Atkins-Latty is a seasoned singer, speaker, songwriter, and worship leader with over two decades of experience. Serving as the Ministry Director at Ashburnham Place, Hannah oversees community gatherings, prayer and worship teams, the Catalyst Volunteer program, and loves to collaborates with other community organisations locally and nationally.
Hannah is passionate about facilitating encounters with Jesus; not just in traditional church gatherings, but in more diverse settings including festivals, clubs or on the street. Her latest album, ‘Presence’ recorded with the Epiphany collective, combines classical music and improvisation with a heart to create transformative soundscapes.
Committed to social justice and the creative arts, Hannah has a big heart for marginalised individuals, welcoming refugees and those struggling with mental health into her life and home. Living and working as part of the team here at Ashburnham Place is an absolute dream for Hannah and she considers herself and family amazingly blessed!
Frequently asked questions
To come and serve as a volunteer at Ashburnham Place is absolutely free. With that said you will have to cover the cost of your flights, to and from the UK, and any Visa charges.
To come and volunteer at Ashburnham Place you will need a T5 Charity Work Visa. The application fee is £259. There is also an IHS health surcharge which costs £624. This is payable for all volunteers who wish to stay at Ashburnham Place beyond six months. All applicants, including now those from European countries, are required to pay the charges listed above.
English weather is changeable, no two days are ever the same! In the Winter the temperatures are usually not colder than -5 degrees Celsius. In the summer it’s not normally hotter than 30 degrees Celsius but most of the time it will be less than that.
For work you will need:
• – Flat closed shoes
– Comfortable clothes that can get dirty
– Smart black, flat, closed shoes
– Smart black trousers or skirt
You might also want to bring:
• Smart clothes for special occasions
Warm jacket or coat
A Bible in your language
Musical instrument, if you play
Medication (see above)
You do not need to bring any bed linen or towels, unless you prefer to use your own.
Please do not bring more than 25kg of luggage even if your airline allows you to bring more. We have limited storage space. Remember your return journey will be via train so only bring what you can carry.
You may want a little money for when you arrive at the airport in case you need refreshments or want to purchase a UK SIM card.
While you are at Ashburnham, we will provide all your food and accommodation. You will receive £22 per week. Usually that is enough for personal expenses, plus some extra, but that depends on your spending habits. You might want to have some cash while you travel to get some food or drink.
Volunteers share their rooms with 2 – 4 other people. Usually at least one person will have been there for longer than you, so can help you to find your way around. You will have a bed (or bunk) and share a wardrobe and set of drawers. Space is limited so please pack carefully.
Every new volunteer has a ‘shadow’ when they arrive. This is a volunteer who has been here for some time. They will be able to explain to you where you can find everything, how things work, and what you have to do. We will let you know who your shadow is when you arrive. If possible your shadow will be your roommate as well.
ACT is a dynamic community of Christians and we spend most of our time serving and being a gift to others. Many of our volunteers come from church backgrounds where a Pastor will care for your spiritual walk on a Sunday and run your church.
ACT does not have a “Pastor” who will do this for you.
We do have many people who have pastoral gifting and you will never be short of somebody to pray with and help you in your walk with Christ. Our Resource Team spend most of their time facilitating and thinking about events and activities that will encourage you to grow and step out in your faith. The leaders of the community are spiritual leaders as well as operational leaders and as such have a duty of care for you. However, the emphasis of community life is to learn how to be a disciple of Jesus Christ through doing and serving.
You will have the opportunity of meeting with a mentor on a monthly basis if you wish. Furthermore, you will be placed in a Connect Group when you arrive and this is a smaller group of volunteers (6-8) that often meet each month in the home of a permanent member of the team. This may give you a more personal pastoral experience.
We also have a counselling service on site that is available to volunteers that may want to deal with some deeper issues. The sessions are free for volunteers.
Prayer Ministry is available every week at specific times. Outside these times there will always be somebody willing to pray with you.
All volunteers have free wireless internet access that is intermittent and often very slow due to our rural location. If you have a laptop, you may wish to bring it but you may want to think about insuring it.
There is a telephone available for you to use in an emergency only.
Letters and parcels should be sent to our postal address clearly marked with your name.
While you are here at Ashburnham, you will get holidays that you can use however you choose! The number of holidays depends on how long you stay at Ashburnham. If you are only here for the summer you will get 2 days; if you come for 6 months you will get 6 days and for one year you will get 12.
However, we recommend that you do not plan all your holidays before you arrive as many of the volunteers choose to travel together either around the UK or further into Europe.
Yes, it is possible for you to have visitors while you are here. It will cost approximately £14 per person per night, including all meals.
You need to check with the Bookings team before making plans to check we have rooms available as there are times when we are very busy and fully booked.
Your English will improve with constant use and through your own study.
You will have the opportunity to attend English workshops during your time here in order to improve your English and give you opportunities to use it.
If you are interested in taking the Cambridge English exam we can arrange this for you but you will have to pay and study by yourself in your own time. Apart from that your English will improve depending on how much you use it and how much you study in your own time. It depends on you!
Ashburnham Place does not allow exclusive or romantic relationships due to the negative effect this can have on the community. We believe your time here should be spent living, serving and seeking God in the context of community.
If you do develop feelings for another person during your time with us please speak with us, we would be happy to support and pray with you.
Please let us know immediately if there is any problem with you coming, whether it is financial, a change in circumstances or whether you just change your mind. It is important that we know as soon as possible so that your place can be given to someone else who would like to come.
Work with us
Check here for available employment positions at Ashburnham Place in paid positions and specific volunteer roles.
Our bookshop has an excellent variety of bibles, Christian resource books, ethical gifts, cards and snacks.
In the library you will be surrounded by shelves of theological texts and enjoy views out across the lakes.
Keep in touch
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