ESC FAQs | Depaulcharity

ESC FAQs | Depaulcharity

Depaul helps people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.


Why European Solidarity Corps?

The European Solidarity Corps (ESC) under the umbrella of the Erasmus + programme provides young people with the unique chance to express their personal commitment through unpaid and full-time voluntary activities in a foreign country within or outside the EU.

All costs, including the pre-departure training, travel, accommodation and subsistence are paid; volunteers also receive a small monthly allowance as 'pocket money' during the project.

What is the Depaul ESC role?

The ESC volunteer's principle role is to encourage our service users to participate in meaningful activities within the host project and also with the local community.  Volunteers can also help to identify service users' needs, skills and interests and to respond to them in order to assist them realistically. Their activities are additional to work carried out by the project staff.  Volunteers should bring their own skills and abilities to the project, to do a larger scale projects or a programme of activities but also to make the most of their experience of volunteering with Depaul.

What is the age range?

Open to all young people aged 18 to 30 Please note you must be over 18 years old by your activity start date and below 31 years old by the application deadline.

Deadlines & Application process

The deadline for applying to volunteer in Dublin is February 21st 2020. The deadline for volunteering in Northern Ireland has already passed for this year.

Potential volunteers should complete the application form and return it by February 21st. You should also be registered on the European Solidarity Corps website.

Volunteers who are shortlisted will be required to give details of two referees, a relevant police clearence certificate from the country that they are travelling from and information relating to thier medical history.

Partners in ESC

Depaul partners with National Agencies in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland who support Depaul in the implementation of this programme.

National Agencies include:

Republic of Ireland: Léargas

Northern Ireland: British Council

In addition, we work closely with Supporting Organisations in our volunteers home countries who help us to advertise and identify potential volunteers and prepare them for their volunteering. In addidtion they help tp support volunteers upon their return home.

Volunteers must check the EU database of accredited organisations to find a suitable Supporting Organisation from their country.  


Volunteers will be offered a single room in a fully furnished house in their host city. This will be shared with other volunteers, but each volunteer will have their own bedroom.

Language Support

A good level of spoken English is required as much of our work requires the ability to communicate and build relationships with our service users.  We recommend that volunteers are at an intermediate level.  Depaul will follow Erasmus+ guidelines for specific language support. (Online Linguistic Support).

Holidays/Time Off

Volunteers will also be given time off to investigate Ireland and visit volunteers based in other projects. Annual leave entitlements accrue at the same rate as other project team members (i.e. ESC volunteers get approximately 2 days of annual leave for every month volunteered, and also are entitled to take Bank Holidays).


Volunteers will be provided with a weekly pocket money allowance. Volunteers will prepare their own meals in their house, in a kitchen shared with other volunteers.

Travel costs & visa requirements

Depaul will cover the travel cost for the volunteer from place of origin to the host project (within limits of ESC grant).

All volunteers are responsible for ensuring that they acquire the correct visa required to travel and live in Dublin. It is also essential that their passport is valid for the duration of the placement. The volunteer may seek assistance from the sending organisation, or coordinating organisation in order to prepare these documents.

If you're in any doubt about whether you are allowed to volunteer, please contact the relevant Visa Agency.



Support & Learning

Each ESC volunteer has the support of a dedicated mentor and service based supervisor ESC.

Beyond benefiting the host Services, young volunteers can develop new skills and  improve their personal, educational and professional development.

Volunteers can benefit from specific training throughout their activities and agree on their expected learning outcomes, processes and methods in advance.  The ESC learning experience is formally recognised through a Youthpass

What are the challenges?

  • Understanding the Irish accent and local way of speaking
  • Service user apathy
  • Service user physical and/or mental health issues
  • The chaotic lifestyles of the service user and the impact on the Service

Service users can be difficult to engage:

  • Our service users can be alcohol and/or drug dependant and can be under the influence
  • Our service users can have varying mental health issues
  • Our service users can have daily personal commitments and or self-contained flats

Project Information

There are a number of host projects for ESC volunteers to get invloved in. These projects vary from long term accommodation, supported temporary accommodation to young people experiecing homelessness. Below is a short description on each host project.

Sundial House

Sundial House was opened in September 2008. The first of its kind in Ireland, Sundial House is a long-term housing project operating in Dublin providing low threshold housing for people who have experienced extended periods of street homelessness and need support with their alcohol use. Sundial House works from a holistic harm reduction approach with the aim to support each resident based on the principles of alcohol management and hard reduction.

The project has been purpose-built to ensure high quality accommodation with adequate support. The service accommodates 30 people, men and women, single people and couples all rooms are kitted with en-suite facilities. The building consists of both single and twin rooms (27 long-term beds and 3 rooms with enhanced care facilities).
Sundial house is staffed 24/7 all year round, offering all residents meals throughout the day/ night and offering laundry support. Residents can avail of a weekly GP service, along with health care assistant and nursing support on site.

Each resident when moving in to Sundial is allocated a keyworker. The keyworker is an appointed staff member that aims to support and advocate for the resident, ensuring they can access the correct support, reach achievable goals and address any health-related issues. Sundial House provides a warm, homely, secure environment offering onsite supports for people with complex support needs with an aim to provide all residents with the help they need to live healthy and positive lives.

Orchid House

Orchid House provides supported temporary accommodation for up to 23 men, women and couples with entrenched alcohol issues and complex needs, including mental health issues and addiction issues. The service offers 24/7 support for the residents. The beds are for up to a 6-month period but with housing difficulties some residents have been with us for longer periods. Each person will be allocated a key-worker who will work with them to address their needs and support them to ensure they can access all the services they require, such as long-term housing, addiction support and alcohol management. Further specialist support is made available through the support of Sundial House, a neighbouring Depaul service who provides a visiting doctor and the service user can access treatment for physical health needs.

At Orchid House we also encourage participation in education and the arts through neighbourhood projects and clubs. This helps our service user reconnect with the community and begin to take steps to live independently. Orchid House aims to offer a homely and welcoming environment to service users while they are with us, supporting them to address the root causes of their homelessness and helping them to identify pathways out of homelessness for good. Each floor has a communal room and we offer internet access for job search and apartment hunting. We also offer a wide range of activities each week and trips every quarter.

Our previous volunteers would have been involved in The Breakfast club. They would help to provide the first healthy meal of the day for our residents, often experimenting from their native countries’ cuisines. We have huge participation with art projects and trips and depending on the skill set of the volunteers we host sculpture making and pampering beauty sessions. We host movie and karaoke nights and get involved in some friendly competition playing pool/ snooker with our neighbouring projects. Volunteers are a huge part of our organisation and none of the services we provide would be possible without the dedication and support they provide, not only to the service users but also to the staff. Volunteers gain valuable work experience, improve their English, have some fun and help Depaul brighten our service users’ day.

Back Lane

Back Lane is a 60-bed all male hostel in the heart of Dublin City Centre that’s been in operation since 1915. We have a well-deserved reputation for providing high quality accommodation, single rooms for all residents, excellent home cooked food and a highly motivated and experienced staff team. Back Lane is divided into two parts, short- and long-term accommodation.We look after service users from the age of 18 upwards and we pride ourselves on the activities and care we provide for all. From music nights, quizzes and concerts, to trips into the countryside. We have a specialist support worker for those with mental health issues, an onsite nurse and a GP who visits weekly and volunteers to accompany service users on appointments, or just for coffee and cake! We have two-wheelchair accessible rooms, a modern dining area, a pool room and two TV rooms.

When they arrive at Back Lane every resident is given a warm welcome and is shown around the project. They receive an in-depth assessment of their needs and from this a variety of care plans and supports are put in place, each one tailored specifically to the needs of the individual resident. They each have an individual key worker who will support them while they are in Back Lane and be there with them as they make the transition out of homelessness and back into independent living.We pride ourselves on always going that extra mile for the residents, everyone gets a Christmas present left in their room on Christmas eve, they all receive a card and cake on their birthday and on the day they leave we make sure they have enough food with them to stock up the presses in their new home. When it comes to supporting our residents, we believe passionately in imagination, creativity, dignity for all and most of all. celebrating potential.

Peter's Place

Peter’s Place became part of Depaul’s services in 2013 and was formerly managed by the YMCA. Peter’s Place offers 35 accommodation places for young people, male and female, between the ages of 18 and 35 who are experiencing homelessness. The service is a short-term project for a six-month basis (sometimes longer), for single young men and women experiencing homelessness.Each en-suite room also provides residents with a small kitchenette. The service has access to a variety of communal areas and laundry facilities.

During their stay, all residents are appointed a keyworker to ensure they can access all the services they require and receive the appropriate support to move on and out of homelessness. Together the young person and their keyworker develop an individualised support that often covers areas such as life skills, budgeting, welfare entitlements, relationship work, education, employment and health support. Taking the time to learn to manage their own day-to-day independent living skills within the service is so important in equipping each young person with the skills needed for a positive move on. There is a strong focus on resettlement and finding long-term suitable accommodation so they can move out of homelessness and into local communities.

Tus Nua

The words Tus Nua mean “new start” in the Irish language. Tus Nua is a specialised accommodation service for women with complex needs who are leaving prison; the first service of its kind in Ireland. It provides a structured environment which supports women to reintegrate into society, rebuild relationships, develop independent living skills and minimise the risk of re-offending. Tus Nua was established by Depaul as a result of research and visits to prisons in Dublin by the Guild of St. Philip Neri, and a St. Vincent de Paul conference, who recognised an acute need for programmes to assist women released from prison in their transition to independent living in the community. The service aims to prevent the risk of re-offending by supporting women to recognise their short-term and long-term needs upon leaving prison.

The support offered also includes learning life skills and identifying opportunities, to assist the women living in Tus Nua to manage independently. It is also vital that the women are encouraged to take a positive role in their community. Tus Nua accommodates 15 women in single rooms for up to 6 months. All residents have access to communal spaces and the garden. Each woman is appointed a keyworker. Together they identify a support plan for their stay which covers life skills, budgeting, alcohol harm reduction, detox access, and physical and mental health support. The professionally trained staff also assist in accessing more suitable long-term accommodation for each of the residents.

As one resident says: “I came from a very bad place in my life, I’ve been through homelessness and addiction. I thought there was no hope after leaving prison. I had a bumpy road but I suppose you have to go through the ups and downs in Tus Nua to get where you want to get”.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We do not share your information with any third parties. You can disable cookies in your browser but please note this may prevent some parts of our site from functioning correctly.