how WWOOF works

Click here to read a Guardian article giving a good introduction to how WWOOF works.

WWOOF UK holds a list of organic farms, gardens and smallholdings, all offering food and accommodation in exchange for practical help on their land. These hosts range from a low impact woodland settlement to a 600 hectare mixed holding with on-site farm shop, cafe and education centre.  Hosts do not expect you to know a lot about farming when you arrive, but they do expect you to be willing to learn and able to fit in with their lifestyle.

 All of our hosts must sign a declaration stating that they are farming using ecologically sound methods.  Some are also certified organic or biodynamic by national bodies.  Certification is an expensive process and only really necessary for those growers who wish to sell their produce to the general public with the 'organic' label.  We do not discriminate between those who are farming organically for sale and those who are farming ecologically for self sufficiency.

The list of hosts is available by joining WWOOF UK for a membership fee (£20 single membership, £30 joint). Once you have the list, it is up to you to contact hosts directly to arrange your stay.  Your host should discuss what kinds of activities you will be asked to take part in, what accommodation is on offer and also the length of your stay.

Volunteers do not pay to stay with hosts and hosts do not pay volunteers for their help (generally 25-30 hours a week). WWOOFers are volunteers and therefore are more free to come and go than an employee. For this reason, hosts should not depend on them as an alternative to paid, skilled labour. For more details about how it all works, see our FAQs page.

Please remember that for insurance reasons, you have to be over 18 to WWOOF in the UK, unless you are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

WWOOF UK is a registered charity.

 

INFORMATION FOR PEOPLE FROM OUTSIDE OF THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AREA (EEA*)

Entering the UK as a “general visitor” (tourist)

Since recent changes to immigration rules, the situation has become confused regarding non-EEA nationals who wish to enter the UK as general visitors (tourists) in order to WWOOF.

You need to be aware that there have been cases where such people have been detained by immigration officers, refused entry to the UK, and put on the next available flight back to their home country. This is a traumatic experience, and it’s guaranteed to ruin your trip!

However, there have been other cases where people in exactly the same situation HAVE been allowed to enter the UK to WWOOF after intervention by senior immigration officers.

WWOOF UK is currently trying to resolve this confusion. At this time, however, you need to bear in mind that trying to enter the UK to WWOOF as a general visitor or tourist may result in you being refused.

For full details of the eligibility requirements and the documents you may be asked to show, see:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visitingtheuk/visitors/

Please note that WWOOF UK can offer no guarantees that our help will result in you being allowed into the country and that WWOOF UK can in no way be held liable if you are refused entry to the UK.

You should avoid these difficulties if you are eligible for one of the other visas outlined below.

Youth Mobility Scheme

If you are from Australia, Japan, Canada or New Zealand and aged between 18-30 years old, you might be eligible for the Youth Mobility Scheme. You can only get this kind of visa once in a lifetime, and if you have previously visited the UK on a working holidaymaker visa you will not be eligible for this scheme.

Visiting the UK on the Youth Mobility Scheme entitles you to stay in the UK for up to 2 years, and undertake whatever work you like, including voluntary placements – such as WWOOFing. To be eligible you must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Aged between 18-30
  • Have no dependents
  • Be from a participating country
  • Demonstrate that they have at least £1600 in available funds
  • Obtain entry clearance

For more details, read:

http://www.lawfirmuk.net/english/tier5.htm

To download an application form, visit the UK Border Agency website:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/workingintheuk/tier5/youthmobilityscheme/

Other visas for volunteering in the UK from outside the European Union or EEA*

If you are coming to the UK principally for an activity other than volunteering (such as employment, studying, or as a spouse), it is possible that you will be able to volunteer with WWOOF as an additional activity. Please make sure to check your visa or entry clearance requirements, and make sure that you are allowed to volunteer on your visa.  

The link below is to an information sheet produced by Volunteering England and it lists the rules for volunteering under specific visa types:

http://www.volunteering.org.uk/NR/rdonlyres/825E4C7D-08AA-4CF2-BFA7-1186040424EB/0/ISAcceptingVolunteersfromOverseasVE09.pdf

You can also check the UK border Agency website for the details of your specific visa or entry clearance:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/

* The European Economic Area (EEA) comprises the countries of the European Union, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.