There are various ways for you to work in a L'Arche Community, the main route is usually by becoming an live-in Assistant (support worker), but there are other ways you can work with L'Arche, read on for more information.
What is a L'Arche Assistant?
A live-in L'Arche assistant will support people with learning disabilities to take part in community life, to cook, clean and run a household, perhaps go to work, have a social life, see friends and family and sometimes with their personal care.
Not all assistant roles are live-in. Each community is different and has developed services that are particular to the needs of the people it supports. Some people with disabilities are helped to live in their own flats, supported by a network of relationships. Some communities offer day provision. Different services require different skills and need different types of assistants.
Live-in or live-out, the role of a L'Arche sssistant is complex, challenging and ultimately very rewarding.
Why become a L'Arche Assistant?
In a world that placessuch value on success and winning, L'Ache communiteis are places where people can take time to explare who they are, not just what they can do. They are places of welcome where people are transformed by an intense experience of community, relationship, disability and difference.
Whatever your stage of life, whatever your background and experience, L'Arche has something to offer, and so do you. We believe that as we live our ordinary moments together in community we experience something extraordinary and develop long lasting relationships.
People choose to join L'Arche as a support worker (we say 'assistants') for a variety of reasons. Some are mature individuals wanting to give their lives new meaning through genuine and trusting relationships with others. Some come to L'Arche to learn or develop new skills and attitudes to people with a learning disability. Others may be professionals seeking a new context and deeper meaning within which to practice their chosen career.
L'Arche Communities are Christian. We welcome people of all faiths and none; if you are hoping to develop your spiritual life there will be opportunities through regular worship, reflection, prayer, retreats and pilgrimages. Whoever you are, in return for the gifts you'll bring, you will discover a very simple and honest joy in the relationships you build with other people, both with and without learning disabilities.
L'Arche is unique. We are a good quality care and support provider, regulated by the Care Quality Commission, with faith and community values at our heart. Excellence in care and a commitment to living community life are essential.
What challenges to expect
Becoming a L’Arche assistant is an extraordinary and life changing experience. There are some things you need to consider if you are interested in joining one of our communities:
- The rhythm and culture of each L'Arche house is set by the people with learning disabilities who have made it their home
- Each Community is different but typically as a live in assistant you will get your own bedroom and 2 free days per week, and you will learn to share your space as a member of a household of typically 8 or 9 people
- You will live with a diverse group of people who have different ways of communicating. Some may express their needs and frustrations in ways that may challenge you.
- you will be expected to support people with their personal care.
- You will be expected to do housework. We have a saying in L'Arche – everyone needs to be prepared to clean the toilet!
- L'Arche is a Christian Community. We welcome people of all faiths, or none, but we expect you to be open to all aspects of other people's spirituality.
- It is important to understand that in the UK, L'Arche communities are faith communities and professional support providers. We are regulated and inspected, and must legally meet set standards. This means we have to insist on a level of competence and expect all assistants to undergo initial and on-going training. Find out more.