Residential on Reserve (Less than 4 weeks) (Rathlin Island Visitor Engagement)

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Available from 1 April 2024 to 26 August 2024

Commitment: 2 week minimum (placements run Monday to Monday)

Please note you will be sharing a bunkhouse bedroom with other people of the same gender. You will need to tick 'willing to share' for your application to be processed.

Why We Want You:

This is a truly unique volunteering experience.

Rathlin Island has the largest seabird breeding colony in Northern Ireland. The West Lighthouse Seabird Centre welcomes in excess of 15,000 visitors during the summer, all eager to see the puffins and other seabirds at this internationally important Seabird Colony.

We want you to be the welcoming and knowledgable face of the RSPB to inspire, engage and motivate our visitors to support the work of the RSPB through donations and membership.

What’s In It For You

As an RSPB volunteer you’ll be part of something big – a team of amazing and dedicated people who donate their time, energy, talent and skills to help birds and other wildlife.

You will play a vital role in the delivery of the visitor experience at the Seabird Centre. You will also learn about other conservation work being undertaken on the island, for corncrake and chough and help to raise awareness of this important work. Please note that this is not a practical conservation placement.

Away from the Centre you will have the opportunity in your spare time to enjoy the wild and untamed landscape of this beautiful island, and get to understand the unique ways of island life.

"When you’re standing on Rathlin Island, looking at puffins or looking at razorbills, or listening to your first ever corncrake, like I was last summer, it’s incredible. It’s a lot of fun." - Dakota Reid, former residential volunteer.

Accommodation is provided in a cottage bunkhouse 3 miles/5km from the harbour and 1.5miles/2km from the Seabird Centre. There are two rooms - upstairs is dormitory- style for up to six people and the other, downstairs, for three. You will be sharing a room with members of the same gender.


Minimum age 18. Enthusiasm, ability to work both on your own initiative and as part of a team, interested in conservation and wildlife but, above all, good with people and quick to learn. Please note that there are 160+ steep steps to the Viewing Platform.

You need to be friendly, relaxed and able to engage with visitors.

Please note, specialist bird knowledge, whilst helpful, is not essential .


There is no charge to take part in the scheme.

It is your responsibility to cover the cost of your transport to and from the reserve, and to provide and cover the cost of your food during your stay.

The RSPB will provide accommodation, together with basic services, free of charge for the period you are volunteering.