JOIN as an Assistant:
What sort of people do we look for?
We are looking for people of all ages; young and old; vibrant or quiet; thoughtful or spontaneous - basically, all different personalities and backgrounds are welcome to come and live with us here in community. We only ask that you come with an open mind and a respectful attitude.
Where do Assistants come from?
Assistants come from ALL OVER THE WORLD. At present there are people from Bolivia, Poland, Moldova, Lithuania, Philippines and all over the UK. As a Christian community WE WELCOME people with and without religious beliefs. We welcome assistants aged 18+. At present the oldest assistant is 60. Our longest serving Assistant has been here for 21 years.
Why do Assistants Come?
Assistants may come:
- to make their first step into a career in the caring professions
- to get to know people with learning disabilities and assistants from all over the world
- to find a place where they can live a simple life style and develop a sense of community and BELONGING
- to experience a time of discovery and personal development.
- as part of their Gap Year programme.
"The best thing about L’Arche Bognor is meeting people who want to spend their time with you. Beginning may be hard, but it disappears after the first month. Believe me, I’ve experienced it!"
Hanna Lizakowska-Campkin was an active member of Faith and Light (a sister organisation of L’Arche) in Poland, as well as having a degree in languages from Poznan University. She married Hugh, another L’Arche assistant and has just had her first baby
"It’s a completely unique experience to be able to live and work alongside people with learning disabilities – and not simply working for them."
Hugh Lizakowska-Campkin had over five years experience of working with people with learning disabilities with other organisations before coming to L’Arche Bognor. In addition to L’Arche Bognor, he has also spent time at L’Arche Syracreuse, New York.
"Coming to L’Arche has helped me to accept myself. I don’t feel I need to show off or prove that I’m the best in everything."
Grzegorz Jankowski spent time in the Workshop. He is studying to become a teacher.
What does L’Arche provide?
- A rich experience of living and working in one of the houses with people with learning disabilities
- Training in both care and community building
- The opportunity to study for NVQs and other nationally recognised qualifications
- Pastoral care and personal support through regular meetings with your house leader and a separate mentor with more experience of community life
- Spiritual development with opportunities to attend retreats in an international setting
- The opportunity and support for you to take on responsibility in line with your skills and desires
- A thorough review process to help you to develop your intellectual, spiritual and personal life
- Full-board accommodation and food, together with a monthly allowance of L50 a week in your first year, increasing to L88 in your second
"The core members are a mirror. I see myself in them and show me how I need to change. When I am tired they are an inspiration."
Sergio Archondo is from Bolivia, having spent time in L’Arche in France and the Netherlands. He enjoys football and having barbeques.
What do Assistants do?
- Primarily assistants live along side people with learning disabilities, providing their day-to-day care. This can involve:
- Helping people to get up and get to work in the mornings
- Preparing meals in the house and celebrations
- Day-to-day housekeeping, giving out medication and other basic administration tasks
- Supporting people with learning disabilities with social activities, outings to the shops, sports clubs
- Supporting people to go on holiday
- Overseeing the wellbeing of people with learning disabilities through reviews, and team/house meetings
- Organising and attending community events, for example, Community morning, pilgrimage and preparing other spontaneous events, such as football, discos and outings
- Drive Community members to College and further afield
- Liaise with parents, Social Services and other Medical Professionals
- Prepare prayers, services and Days of Reflection
Following a degree in Chemistry, Luigi left Italy for the UK where he came across L’Arche. He’s been with L’Arche Bognor since 1996, during which time he met and married Katrin, another assistant in the Community. They have two children, Luca and Max. Luigi currently works in the Garden.
How long can I come for?
We generally ask for assistants to come for a minimum of one year to the Community. In practice, many choose to stay for longer. The first year includes training in Care work and Community life and is an opportunity for you to build relationships with people in the community and attend a retreat with other L’Arche assistants from around Europe. The community also seeks to welcome visitors wanting to experience Community life for a shorter period of time.
"I originally came for just a sho rt visit and ended up staying thirteen years (so far)!"
Christopher Bemrose, Community Leader
How do I apply?
If you would like to find out more about being involved in the Community in any way, please contact:
The Assistant’s Coordinator:
Telephone: 01243 872 081
If you would like to apply as an Assistant please ask for an application form. We generally ask for assistants to come for a minimum of one year to the Community. This is structured in such a way that you have a Probationary Period of 3 months before continuing to complete your first year.
Join as a person with a learning disability
Who do we welcome?
Anyone with a learning disability who wants to live as part of a friendly and open-looking community. We are a Christian Community but welcome people of all faiths and none.
Where do we live and work?
We have three Registered Care Homes which provide a high level of support, with people with and without learning disabilities living and working alongside one another.
- Zacchaeus – about to
and sun room
- Bethany – has an open conservatory and dining room
- Jericho in the snow –
though Bognor is one of the sunniest places in Britain
- We recently opened Fieldway, a supported living
house. It is home to three people with learning
disabilities sharing with a volunteer friend or
We offer a wide variety of day activities both to our own residents and to others whom we call day users. Many of our residents attend College and other day services, and some are employed in shops and an animal centre. Other activities include riding, swimming, bowling and outings.
The workshop has its own shop and provides arts & crafts, candle making, cooking, computer skills, dance & drama, music and an accredited course in self help skills. In the garden we do potting, planting, lawn mowing, weeding, contract gardening, carpentry, chopping wood and pottery. The RAP project offers virtually all the other activities we offer – but at a slower, more relaxed pace.
What makes L’Arche a Community?
We are a Community because we believe that we all – people with learning disabilities, assistants and Community friends – have need of one another. We all have something to give and to receive from one another. Often this involves doing small, simple, day to day things: going for walks or having a cup of tea or just spending time together. We also organise monthly Community Gatherings, days of reflection, celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, parties, games, prayers, retreats, pilgrimages and an annual ‘Friends and Family’ day. Weekend activities include shopping, walking and other outings. This year we had a pilgrimage to Trosly in France where L’Arche began in 1964.
Holiday groups go throughout the UK and Europe. They generally staying in other L’Arche Communities. Members help take decisions though house meetings and a monthly members meeting. Some are involved in giving talks and presentations to churches, schools, universities and other groups, ranging from Butlins to Greenbelt, the Christian Arts Festival.
What’s special about L’Arche?
We have a positive regard to the gifts of people with learning disabilities. We value people for who they are rather than what they can or cannot do, and believe that people with learning disabilities can lead us to be a more caring, open and compassionate society.
We focus on developing mutually transforming relationships between people with learning disabilities, assistants and the wider community. People share their lives together, discovering that everyone can give and receive from others in different ways.
We seek to develop the potential of people with learning disabilities.
Whether it’s self expression through dance and drama, learning to cook or discovering the joys of gardening, we give people the opportunity to discover what they can do and enjoy.
We place particular emphasis on developing people’s spirituality – the things that give purpose and meaning to life.
We are inspected by the Care Quality Commission and work closely with social workers and other professionals. However, we also seek a homely atmosphere, avoiding too institutional an approach.
How, as a person with learning disability, can I become a member of L’Arche Bognor?
You may wish to become a resident or just use our day services. We are always happy to show you around, whether or not we have a vacancy. However, to avoid wasting your time, we suggest asking Social Services in your own area to see if they are open to funding you at L’Arche. To arrange a visit or find out about vacancies, please contact
Mary Ann Bart at L’Arche,
51 Aldwick Road, Bognor Regis,
It is important in filling vacancies to ensure that it works well both for you and existing members. We ask you or your parents and social worker to complete a form before preparing a shortlist. We then ask one or two people for visits – short ones initially, longer as time goes on. It can take several months to ensure it is the right choice for everyone.
Join as a Friend or Volunteer
You can be INVOLVED by:
- Providing help on a regular basis (e.g. driving, cooking, helping to organise Community events, assisting in the Workshop or Garden , accompanying people to Church)
- Becoming a friend of people with learning disabilities (this usually starts by joining us for meals, prayers, pilgrimages or other events)
- Becoming an advocate for a core member (helping them to represent themselves in meetings with the Community, Social Services etc)
- Joining the Committee or organising Fundraising events
For further information please contact the Assistants Coordinator on:
Telephone: 01243 872 081