L’Arche is an international federation of Communities that support individuals with Learning Disabilities. Here in the UK, L’Arche has a network of 11 Communities which provide high quality care, allow members to explore and participate in faith activities and create environments where people with and without Learning Disabilities can achieve mutual transformation through meaningful relationships.
One of the ways in which they facilitate this is by inviting individuals to spend time living in one of their Communities. Live In Assistants usually spend a year (although many stay a part of the L’Arche family for decades!) sharing life in a home with people who have Learning Disabilities. This can look like sharing a cup of tea together, relaxing on the beach, going to the cinema, cooking together and any number of fun activities.
Live In Assistants are also trained to deliver a degree of personal care that empowers their Community friends to live life to the full. In return, Live In Assistants receive food and lodging, the opportunity for trips and retreats, a modest monetary allowance, and (hopefully) life-transforming experiences.
Nationally, care vacancies are at an all-time high (owing in part to the effects of the pandemic). It won’t surprise you to learn that L’Arche, too, is feeling the impact of this recruitment struggle.
If you or someone you know would benefit from spending some time in a L’Arche Community, you can find out more from the information pack which gives greater detail about what being a Live In Assistant looks like. You can also find out more information and how to contact them from the L’Arche website.
L’Arche assistants come from all walks of life. Some are not yet 20, others are in their 60s. Some are taking a gap year, others are in retirement. Some are looking for care experience, others are in need of a career break. Others still are using time at L’Arche to reflect and consider their spiritual vocation. What qualifies somebody most is a willingness to get ‘stuck in’ with Community life, to value people with Learning Disabilities and support them to flourish physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Clearly this is a very unique and niche opportunity, and one which simply won’t be the right fit for everybody. Even if you don’t think you would be a good fit for L’Arche, you are invited to pray for them. L’Arche UK’s core team are taking time to discern wise steps in the organisation’s future, particularly in light of recruitment issues. Please pray that L’Arche make decisions that support and benefit its Communities well. Please pray that God would bring an influx of fantastic new assistants, who can contribute well to the life of L’Arche, and receive spiritual nourishment in return.