We are not recruiting for any of our Resident Coordinator positions at the moment.
- We will be looking for a Kitchen Coordinator to start in Jan/Feb 2014 so the recruitment process will start in Sept/Oct 2013
- We will be looking for a Household Coordinator to start in the Spring 2014 recruiting early 2014.
- If you have any questions about the position, your application or working at Gaia House please contact our HR Manager, Sarah Abdy, by telephone on 01626 323881 or by email at ku.oc.esuohaiagnull@nimda .
All about working as part of the residential Coordinator Team at Gaia House:
- The Role of Coordinator
- Qualities of a Coordinator
- The Five Precepts
- Questions to Consider
- The Work
- Living Environment
- Benefits and Time Off
- Visitors and Guests
- Support for Coordinators
- Applying to become a Coordinator
Working at Gaia House is an opportunity to explore mindfulness, service and meditation within the framework of daily life.
Our Residential Coordinators are the bedrock of Gaia House, they:
- Manage the retreats
- Look after the retreatants
- Do much of the retreat administration
- Maintain the building and grounds
- Cook the wonderful food (growing some of it as well!).
The Residential Coordinators live at Gaia House during their period of service. They take on a position in one of the departments: Kitchen, Household, Garden, Maintenance and Reception; and commit to a minimum 12-month period of work (which can extend to 24 months by mutual agreement).
The service given by our team of Coordinators makes it possible for all those who come to Gaia House to benefit from the silence and teachings, but being a residential Coordinator is very different from being on silent retreat. This role is an intensive learning and growing experience, and demands a strong commitment. Life as a Coordinator can be peaceful, bringing joy, friendship, meditation and support, but it can also bring hard work and solitude.
The role of Coordinator at Gaia House requires a serious commitment of one’s time and energy. We ask that Coordinators consider carefully their motivation and interest in taking on this role at Gaia House.
Some of the important qualities, experience and expectations of a Coordinator at Gaia House are:
- a sincere interest in the exploration of meditation and bringing meditation and mindfulness to all activities of daily life.
- an interest in service and community living, including the ability to interact cooperatively with others.
- a committment to live by the Five Precepts as a foundation for practice:
- A non-harming relationship with all living beings.
- Only to take that which is clearly given.
- Not to engage in harmful speech.
- To refrain from harmful sexual conduct.
- To refrain from the intake of drugs, cigarettes and alcohol while at Gaia House.
- to have completed a silent meditation retreat at Gaia House or similar retreat centre.
- a committment to a regular meditation practice – usually sitting for a minimum of one session each day – all Coordinators are also encouraged to sit together when possible.
- a committment to making Gaia House their first priority during their period of service. Opportunities for participating in courses and activities outside Gaia House are limited – long term training courses or other commitments cannot be accommodated within the rota system and work requirements.
- a committment to being responsible for the smooth running of the house and the implementation of the policies set down by Gaia House Trust
- adherence to the Gaia House Code of Conduct.
- Practice: Are you committed to bringing the qualities of awareness, inquiry and compassion into your life, work and relationships?
- Service: Are you willing to give your time and energy in service to others? Residential Coordinators need to be flexible and open and be able to work in an environment that may at times be stressful. The quality of service given by Coordinators is vital to creating a safe environment for all those who come to practice at Gaia House.
- Community: What can be gained by living and working closely with others, especially those who share a commitment to inquiry and meditation? Are you willing to take part in the communication required, to speak truthfully, to listen and make space for others?
The day-to-day running of the house is the responsibility of the Coordinators, who are primarily responsible for the welfare of retreatants. At times the needs of the house may require long hours, but Coordinators are generally expected to work between 6 and 8 hours a day. A Coordinator works within a tightly-knit team and is expected to attend and contribute to regular meetings with other staff members. Coordinators work in conjunction with the team of non-residential staff employed by Gaia House Trust, who manage the organisation, looking after finances, admin etc. under the guidance of the Director.
As well as sharing responsibilities for the day-to-day running of the house and the welfare of retreatants, each Coordinator usually cooks about twice a month. Each Coordinator has a particular area of responsibility, and below is a guide to these specific roles:
- Kitchen (2 Coordinators): The Kitchen Coordinators provide retreatants, other Coordinators, staff and guests with nourishing and wholesome vegetarian meals, and have the responsibility of ordering kitchen supplies. Kitchen Coordinators organise, oversee and supervise work retreatants assigned to the kitchen. The ability to work within a budget is needed. The Administration Manager supervises both Kitchen Coordinators.
- Household (2 Coordinators): The Household Coordinators are responsible for the preparation and allocation of rooms for retreatants, laundry, and the cleanliness and appearance of the house. Household Coordinators organise, oversee and supervise work retreatants assigned to Household. They cook on 1- 2 days each month. The HR & Admin Manager supervises both Household Coordinators.
- Maintenance (1 Coordinator): The Maintenance Coordinator is responsible for small repairs and minor alterations associated with building, vehicles & equipment, and for the disposal of household waste & recyclable materials. The scale of projects undertaken depends on the skills the Coordinator brings to the work. For larger or more complex work the Maintenance Coordinator is supported by the Buildings & Maintenance Manager and outside professional contractors. The Maintenance Coordinator organises, oversees and supervises work retreatants assigned to Maintenance. He or she cooks on 1- 2 days each month. The Maintenance Manager supervises this position.
- Garden (1 Coordinator): The Garden Coordinator is responsible for running the organic vegetable garden and for the maintenance of the ornamental gardens, lawns, hedges and wooded areas. The Garden Coordinator organises, oversees and supervises gardening work retreatants. He or she cooks on 1- 2 days each month. The Garden Coordinator is supervised by the Maintenance Manager.
- Reception (2 Coordinators): The Reception Coordinators are responsible for the administration of reception and booking at Gaia House. This includes responding to post, telephone & e-mail enquiries, taking retreat bookings, preparing information for retreat registration and making information available. Reception Coordinators take bookings on the computerised database, issue confirmations and keep all wall charts up to date. Other responsibilities include maintaining the book library (including ordering of books for resale) and dealing with Dana (donations) and payments as necessary. Reception Coordinators cook at least once per month and occasionally support Household. Both Reception Coordinators are supervised by the HR & Administration Manager.
Gaia House is situated in rural South Devon. It has several acres of secluded mature gardens with views of Dartmoor and the surrounding countryside. It is one mile from the village of Denbury and four miles from Newton Abbot. All Coordinators have private rooms within the house, and share a communal staff living room.
Gaia House is deep in the countryside with no public transport, so we try to have at least 4 Coordinators at any one time, with a current UK driving licence. Any non-drivers thinking of applying to work here, should bear in mind the relative isolation of the house and the recognised importance of being able to ‘get away’ during days off.
We have a car which Coordinators may borrow for private use when it is not needed for House business. Private usage is charged at 15p per mile.
Coordinators receive board and lodging plus a monthly stipend of £115. They also receive a share of any donations (Dana) given specifically for Coordinators.
New Coordinators may take one week’s Silent Retreat before beginning their period of work if the change over time allows. This can only be taken before the handover and general induction begins and cannot be carried forward or taken later in the period of service.
During every 3-month period there is a rota allowing for differing amounts of days off and time on retreat each month. The allocation of this time is agreed between the group, each month being identified as either A, B, or C as follows:
- Month A: 8 days off, 2 retreat days.
- Month B: 6 days off, 7 retreat days.
- Month C: 11 days off, 2 retreat days.
Coordinators may have visitors, generally for up to a maximum of three nights stay at any one time. Longer stays may be possible with the agreement of the other members of the group and depending upon availability of accommodation. Guests are asked to contribute a small amount for each night stayed. Visitors must be sensitive to the needs of the house and other group members.
A support package is provided for Coordinators, consisting of a weekly 90-minute facilitated group meeting with the other Coordinators, and a fortnightly meeting with one of the Gaia House teachers. A regular study class is also held.
The weekly group meeting and fortnightly meetings with a teacher are considered an essential part of maintaining the well being of the residential community at Gaia House and attendance is obligatory. A commitment to participation in the study class is expected. The issues discussed in these classes are often directly related to life in the house and attendance is recommended.
If you apply to become a coordinator and have submitted your application form, depending on your suitability and our requirements, you may be invited to participate in a 6 day ‘try-out’ period. We usually invite two people to try out for each position.
This is an informal opportunity to meet the staff team and teachers and to explore whether offering service to Gaia House feels appropriate for you at this time.
Coordinators are asked to make a minimum commitment of 12 months, up to a maximum of 2 years. This supports continuity and stability in the house. Extensions may be possible, if this is appropriate to the needs of the House and all those involved.
If you offer a gift of service to Gaia House, we think you will find it both rewarding and enjoyable.