This is a unique job!
Usually there are two workers who live at the house and co-ordinate the day-to-day running of the Women’s Holiday Centre (W.H.C.) including administration, house keeping and maintenance and dealing with all aspects of visitors’ stays. It is a maximum 3 year live-in post, with an initial 1 year contract, and subject to annual reviews.
Interviewees will normally be expected to stay overnight on the night before the interviews (free of charge).
The centre is open 7 days a week and normal working hours are 30 hours per worker, per week. Workers are responsible for providing adequate cover within these hours between them. Workers are expected to take 2 full days off per week, to be negotiated between co-workers. This has to be shown to be satisfactory to the Management Committee.
This is a live-in job and is definitely not 9-5. In fact, weekends, holiday times and evenings are the busiest times. Work patterns will vary depending on the day of the week and the number and type of visitors. For example, Friday usually sees a big turnover of visitors and a great deal of housework, restocking etc. before waiting to settle the visitors in at whatever time(s) they arrive. Midweek can be quiet and a time for routine jobs, admin etc. and days off. When there are lots of small children the day may start earlier; whilst at other times the visitors may expect to be able to find a worker on hand to answer questions when they get up much later! Some workers have done specific shifts e.g. early or late; others have preferred to work together most of the time. Whatever arrangements are set up, the essential requirements are flexibility and the ability to negotiate, compromise and communicate with your co-worker.
Originally workers had to apply as a team, via a joint application, but in the interests of equal opportunities it has become open to individual applicants. This does not necessarily prevent women who want to make ‘linked’ applications from doing so. The nature of the job means that you will be living and working with one other worker, with whom you will equally share the responsibilities of the day-to-day running of the house. It is essential that workers are willing to build a good working relationship, as well as creating and maintaining individual support networks outside of work. In addition, you will each have individual support, on a regular basis, via one-to-one sessions. There will also be meetings with the Management Committee approximately every four weeks where you will have the chance to discuss any practical issues. While these meetings are currently taking place on-line, some face-to-face meetings are likely to resume in the near future.
But you don’t have to work all the time! There are beautiful walks right from the doorstep, two pubs in the village, a town with banks, shops and cafes about 5 miles away, and women’s events, discos, etc. about an hour away in Leeds, Lancaster or Calder Valley. The house is in the heart of the village, and is ideally placed for those who appreciate the great outdoors, with scope for walking, cycling, wild swimming and bird-watching within easy reach of the house. There is a train station in the village and a bus service runs around 3 or 4 times a day.
Some periods of the job can be challenging – the ebb and flow of guests means sometimes workers need to plan ahead to ensure a good work/life balance. This needs to be in negotiation with your co-worker, as holiday periods in particular can be demanding. At other times you will meet the most amazing women and young people as you sit round the fire, swap stories or songs and bask in their appreciation of you as the workers who have provided them with such a wonderful holiday.