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Why work for us

The Donkey Sanctuary has established recruitment processes that are designed to help managers ensure they are equipped to attract and recruit amazing people through a fair and transparent selection process. All our roles have a job profile which will give you details on the role, and a Person Specification which will detail the essential skills and knowledge we are looking for. This is used as a basis for selecting applicants for interview and appointing the successful candidate.


Gender pay gap report
  • Our departments
  • Employee testimonials
  • Living in the South West
  • Our departments

    Data and Statistics team

    Here at The Donkey Sanctuary, data can help us make the world a better place for donkeys. This is where the Data and Statistics team can really help. We enable Donkey Sanctuary employees, partners and supporters to understand, collect and use donkey focussed data, empowering them to help improve the welfare of donkeys globally. The team is a mix of data scientists, statisticians and donkey experts and we work across all of the operations departments from monitoring our herd to helping with international programmes of work. Examples of this include enabling faster problem solving - getting information on sick animals to our vets as quick as we can, generating new insights - identifying risk factors for donkeys globally or directly improving lives - disease studies. We are a dynamic and forward thinking team who are always looking to improve, utilise and develop new technologies and methods for understanding donkeys through data.

    Donkey Assisted Therapy (DAT)

    DAT is a continually evolving department with a focus on delivering Donkey Facilitated Learning to vulnerable people.

    We are made up of six centres across the UK. We work with a variety of client groups to develop their life skills through experiential learning and coaching support. Through our programmes we aim to develop life skills such as self-esteem, managing emotions and empathy as well as elevating the status of donkeys.

    As well as delivering our Donkey Facilitated Learning our centres are open to the general public and act as regional hubs for The Donkey Sanctuary. They are the homes of some of the resident adoption donkeys so have visitors from all over the country to visit their beloved donkeys.

    Typically, we have a diverse team at each centre which reflects the diverse service delivery on offer. Roles such as Equine Assistants and Equine Coaches care for the donkeys and deliver our Donkey Facilitated Learning Programmes. We also have other centre support roles which keep everything else going such as hosting visitors, maintaining the centre and ensuring administrative duties are in order.

    People enjoy working in the department for a variety of reasons, many say it is very rewarding to work with donkeys and also see the journey our clients go on to develop their life skills. There is a real variety of work to be done at the centres due to the different activities we undertake. No matter what role people do they are all very passionate and enjoy contributing the care and welfare of the donkeys.

    Each centre is a unique family and are very supportive of everyone on their teams. They often spend time together developing their skills and taking part in coaching and training each other. Centres also have a mindfulness ethos so do ensure this is built into the culture of their teams and often they create the opportunity to practice.

    Estates & Facilities Management (EFM)

    The Estates & Facilities Management (EFM) team provides support to the Donkey Sanctuary employees by ensuring that the Charity’s premises are safe, clean, well-presented and suitable for the important work that we do.

    Our employees deliver a wide range of services including maintenance, security, refurbishment, cleaning services and project management and include tradesmen, supervisors and managers operating at many levels across the organisation.

    EFM team members experience a great sense of job satisfaction as they make a constant and worthy difference to those people working to improve the lives of donkeys.

    Europe

    Two farms in Spain and one in Italy, holding bases around Europe including Portugal, France and Cyprus.  Working to improve animal welfare legislation and reduce cruelty and neglect.  Early intervention, training and rehoming are effective ways of ensuring donkeys in Europe have improved conditions.

    Farms - Axnoller Farm

    Axnoller Farm is home to 305 donkeys, 20 ponies and 24 mules. Set in 157 acres of the beautiful Dorset countryside we employ 6 full time and 6 part-time team members. Our daily tasks consist of the checking, feeding, and the administering of medications to donkeys, preparing donkeys for our rehoming scheme with the use of structured behavioural shaping plans, completing herd health assessments with our veterinary team, mucking out of barns and general farm maintenance.
    Typical roles on the farm include a Farm Manager, Farm Supervisor, Tractor Driver and Farm Worker/Groom.
    We are a dedicated and motivated team. Our working day is structured giving every individual the opportunity of variety within their work which enables them to not only hone their current skills but to also learn new ones to further enhance their personal development within the charity.

    Farms - Brookfield Farm

    Brookfield Farm is located in Honiton in an area of outstanding natural beauty. It is at the top of a hill 245 meters above sea level and has amazing views looking out across the countryside of Farway valley. Brookfield is home to around 300 donkeys and has 134 acres of land, 10 of which are woodland. Brookfield is a busy farm as it is also home to other departments including our Veterinary Hospital, Pathology Lab, Fabrication Department and Dispatch Department. As a charity we promote wildlife and conservation and as part of this Brookfield has four grassland fields, two hedgerows and some woodland with in the Higher Level Stewardship scheme. This has to be managed by the farm manager and their team.
    Our donkeys are housed within seven barns according to their needs. We have groups ranging from Mares and Foals to geriatric donkeys with poor dentition. All our donkeys are fed and cared for to suit their specific age and medical condition.

    Farms - Paccombe Farm

    Paccombe Farm is set in 120 acres of grassland and 90 acres of woodland. We are a team of 15 employees who look after approximately 360 animals which includes a small number of ponies and a mule. Job roles within our team includes Farm Worker/Groom, Farm Supervisor and Farm Manager.
    Specific jobs within the working day consists of: mucking out all barns, shelters, stables and yard areas which can be either by hand/wheelbarrow or using tractor and telehandler, administering medications and treatments, preparing medications, grooming, dung sampling, twice weekly vet rounds and dentals, behaviour training both with resident donkeys and for the guardianship scheme, Herd Health assessments with the veterinary department, assisting with the farrier, working closely with our lovely volunteers and occasional work experience students. There are also opportunities to assist with processing all the data required on our Animal Management System. Tractor/telehandler drivers also regularly offload large deliveries of straw and all other feed and bedding orders. There is always something to keep us busy looking after all our lovely donkeys.

    Farms - Slade House Farm

    Slade House Farm is home to 248 donkeys and is the Head Quarters to ‘The Donkey Sanctuary Worldwide’. This Farm is open 7 days a week, our team not only look after the care of welfare of the donkeys, but work alongside the Visitor Team to make sure our thousands of visitors have an enjoyable visit. We have a variety of donkeys, from miniature donkeys, to large Poitou donkeys; along with a few mules and a pony. We support our Education department, with visits on and off site to schools, we also hold weddings and VIP visits on site; which involves our specifically trained donkeys. Here on the farm, you will work closely with donkeys who have different requirements, from breathing problems, limited eyesight in our specially built barns, and also donkeys with behavioural problems who have daily training plans. We have a team of 21 employees who work off a 7 day rota which includes weekends. You will need to be versatile, caring, have good IT and communication skills; as well as being able to work using your own initiative. Equine skills are essential for SHF, tractor, telehandler and ATV licence, is also an advantage although onsite training would be given.

    Farms - Woods Farm

    Woods Farm is set on 200 acres of farm land and is home to just under 600 donkeys. At Woods there are 19 members of established experienced employees who are managed by the Farm Manager. The groups that the donkeys live in are managed by allocated grooms which enables more continuity for the donkeys and is very beneficial for training donkeys that are selected for the Guardianship Scheme and DAT. More time is spent working on behaviour donkeys to help minimise stress in our herds and improve quality of life. By creating individual groups, it allows employees to use their own initiative and encourages independence within their working role. We are lucky to work in an area of outstanding beauty and pride ourselves on maintaining the land to a high standard.

    Finance

    The work of the Finance team lies at the very heart of The Donkey Sanctuary’s activities. We collaborate with every department within the charity, processing, recording, forecasting and analysing all income and expenditure, for both our UK and Global operations, and we provide a financial business partnering service to help our colleagues in other departments reach their goals.
    Our warm and friendly team possess the very widest range of accounting and financial qualifications, skills and experience. Our work is varied and rewarding, we offer superb opportunities for personal development and career progression, and best of all, we know that our work really contributes to our vision and mission of transforming the quality of life for donkeys, mules and people worldwide. Come and join our Finance team, and help make a difference!
    We regularly have summer internship roles available, as well as graduate opportunities from time to time. We also occasionally have vacancies for experienced hires.

    Internal Audit

    We provide an independent and objective assurance and consulting service aiming to improve the governance, risk management, culture and operations of The Donkey Sanctuary. We aim to enhance and protect organisational value by providing risk-based and objective assurance, advice and insight. Although we are a small team, our remit extends over the entire organisation, with responsibility to the Audit, Risk and Assurance Committee.

     

    The Internal Audit Department is committed to continuous learning and improvement. We value the different skills and experiences our team members bring to the function.

     

    The Internal Audit Department utilises a rolling cycle of development to nurture talent and embed key skills and behaviours within our team. We have a supportive mentoring culture and place great value on talent development. We are an accredited training provider for the Level 7 ACA qualification from the ICAEW, and develop talent from within.

    Ireland

    We have four farms in North Cork, one being open to the public, and several holding bases caring for donkeys on an interim basis until we have space on the farms. We also operate our Guardian scheme in Ireland with over 700 donkeys being cared for in this manner, and effective early interaction is enabling us to support donkeys in situ or rehoming them. Training and education in donkey care, interacting with school groups who visit and veterinary professionals.

    Ireland -Veterinary department

    The Veterinary team in Ireland includes 2 veterinary surgeons, 2 laboratory technicians, veterinary nurses and New Arrivals.
    We tend to the welfare needs of all donkeys coming into the sanctuary, as well as the donkeys out on farms. We offer support to guardian homes and sometimes even travel to them if they find it difficult to attain veterinary services.
    We are increasingly more involved with the Donkey Welfare Improvement Scheme where we try to address the welfare issues of private donkeys. Most common procedures under the scheme include castrations, dentals and farriery.
    We are an excellent department with great collaboration, where everyone’s common goal is the betterment of donkey welfare. We are intrinsically linked to farms and welfare departments as well as providing support to private veterinary surgeons, veterinary students, donkey guardians and private donkey owners.
    Someone who works in our department would have the joy and satisfaction of being part of a team that transforms the lives of debilitated, poor donkeys that are often in pain; to happy interactive, inquisitive and playful donkeys.

    Ireland - Welfare

    The Welfare department in The Donkey Sanctuary Ireland is responsible for responding to donkeys in need, growing and supporting a quality rehoming scheme and implementing the donkey welfare improvement scheme. Typical roles within the department include Donkey Welfare Adviser and Administration Support. Each day brings a new opportunity to significantly improve the lives of donkeys, mules and people in Ireland. Our work makes a difference. On any typical day you could be rescuing a donkey in distress, offering advice to a donkey owner, delivering a pair of donkeys to their new home or running a donkey care course.

    IT Service

    The Donkey Sanctuary IT Service provides support for the corporate network, servers, MS Office products and internet connectivity for employees based in the UK, Ireland, Cyprus, Italy and Spain. Providing operational support to over 700 users, across a diverse and complex technical environment.
    Many of our systems are Cloud based, such as Microsoft O365, providing collaborative platforms which underpin the Donkey Sanctuary’s business and longer term strategy. Alongside locally hosted systems based at our main sites and farms.
    There is significant ongoing investment in the IT infrastructure and systems as technology has been recognised as a key enabler for the success and future of the Charity.
    The internal IT team work closely with external technology providers to provide the breadth of skills and knowledge needed, then develop the internal skills to support the IT environment.
    Training, experience and professional development are encouraged and seen as a priority to ensure that the right skills are in place and sustained.
    There are opportunities to travel to our remote sites and become actively involved with the Donkey Sanctuary’s activities, including supporting events and volunteering.

    Marketing and Communications

    With its finger on the pulse of everything happening at The Donkey Sanctuary, the Marketing Communications department is a creative, fast-paced and ever-changing environment where no two days are the same.
    Land a role in our department and you’ll get the chance to connect with our amazing supporters, work with lots of friendly, talented people and, most importantly, spend time with the adorable donkeys that reside right outside our offices.
    This dynamic department comprises a wide range of teams working collaboratively to achieve the charity’s aims.
    You could find yourself amid the hustle and bustle of the busy Communications team, broadcasting awareness-raising messages across multiple platforms that support the charity’s goal of raising the status of donkeys.
    Why not join our experienced Fundraising team and use your excellent communication skills to deliver impactful direct marketing campaigns that raise the funds we need to help desperate donkeys and mules – ably backed by our CRM and Supporter Services teams, who respectively ensure that we maximise the potential of our data and keep our supporters satisfied.
    Perhaps you have a talent for storytelling, a burning desire to create compelling multi-media content, or an eye for striking visuals – if so, you could be a natural fit for our Content or Brand and Design teams. Meanwhile, our cutting-edge Digital team uses our website, social media and email to spread the word about our work helping donkeys and mules around the world.
    Our Visitor Engagement, Events and Commercial teams ensure a first-class on-site experience, extending a warm welcome to visitors who come to enjoy our wonderful new restaurant, Gift Shop and Exhibition Barn, as well as supporters who buy products through our online and mail order shops.
    The purpose of The Donkey Sanctuary’s Marketing Communications department is to raise funds to support the charity’s objectives, communicate its aims and activities internally and externally via multiple channels, offer care for its supporters and process and analyse data using its CRM system.
    Brand, Design and Print team

    Marketing and Communications - Brand Design and Print

    The Brand, Design and Print department are here to help you create materials for your projects that are in-keeping with the Donkey Sanctuary brand. We can design anything from an advert to a full suite of resources – both for print and online use.

    Our department is made up of the following roles:
    • Design and Brand Manager
    • Multi-platform Designer
    • Graphic Designers x3
    • Print Production Officer

    If you are someone who strives to tackle new challenges, likes thinking creatively to produce new ideas and concepts in order to develop new designs, enjoys working with other professionals such as printers, copywriters, photographers, marketing specialists and other designers, as well as working with the Adobe Creative Suite software, including InDesign and Photoshop then this is the career path for you. This path will enable you to build and develop a career in graphic design, encompassing a wide range of skills, experience and expertise within the field.

    The Brand, Design and Print department will enable you to work on a variety of products and activities such as adverts, newsletters, books, posters, product packaging, mailings, exhibitions and displays, as well as corporate communications and identity, i.e. giving The Donkey Sanctuary a visual brand. You will be able to work to a brief agreed with the client and will develop creative ideas and concepts for the client's objectives.

    Marketing and Communications - Commercial Team

    The Commercial team is one of the largest teams within The Donkey Sanctuary. We aim to provide exemplary customer service through a welcoming smile, a handy map to navigate around the site, or a delicious coffee. Talks, tours and demonstrations are delivered daily. Families are encouraged to take part in the themed trail, which educates, entertains and exercises! Retail and catering is our business. Whether it’s a unique gift or a fresh, local and in season meal. We take pride in our delivery and aim to surprise and delight all our visitors. Promoting the attraction is vital as we aim to increase annual visits to 400,000 over the next few years. We deliver nine ‘signature events’, which weather permitting, bring a new demographic of visitor to the sanctuary. Our days are never the same with roles from chefs to retail assistants, our team is varied and fast paced.

    Marketing and Communications - Digital Team

    The Digital team is responsible for all of The Donkey Sanctuary’s public facing digital output through a variety of digital channels. At the heart of this are our digital communications through our website and engaging with our supporters through our social media channels.
    We also like to take a holistic approach to digital that goes beyond digital communications, fundraising and marketing and thinks about innovative digital tools, products, services and applications that supports the delivery of our 5 year strategy and the wellbeing of the donkeys we all love.
    We work very closely with all departments across The Donkey Sanctuary. From our Fundraising, Commercial and Visitor Engagement teams, through to our Welfare, Research, Donkey Assisted Therapy and International teams and everything in between. We are here to understand their needs and implement digital solutions to support them.
    Such a broad remit and numerous needs to fulfil means we require a wide breadth of skills across the team, from creative through to technical. You might enjoy writing web articles or creating carefully crafted social media posts or videos. You might prefer research and working with our supporters, planning campaigns, marketing and analytics or you might be a beekeeper with a love of developing websites.
    Whatever your skillset, if you are a collaborator who enjoys a fast paced, ever changing working environment surrounded by donkeys, then there may be a place in the Digital team for you.

    Marketing and Communications - Fundraising CRM Team

    The Fundraising CRM team oversee and maintain the data for the Donkey Sanctuary’s supporter database, the Raiser’s Edge. The database holds the information for all of our supporters and stakeholders, including how they support, the donations they have made and what the supporter has consented to receive from the Donkey Sanctuary, ensuring that we are GDPR compliant.
    From this the team produce the data for the newsletters and other mailings that the Donkey Sanctuary send to their supporters, as well as lists for email newsletters.
    We receive data from sources across the Donkey Sanctuary, such as our website, digital, events and volunteer teams and transform it into useful reports and data insight using the Raiser’s Edge and other data analytics tools. This helps the fundraising, commercial and other teams make informed strategic decisions, helping to raise much needed funds to support the donkeys in the care of the Donkey Sanctuary.
    The team is made up of 5 people, one manager, one senior technician, two technicians and an import assistant. We are a close team and work together to maintain the integrity of the data, to ensure the quality of the information that we provide is the best it can be. We pride ourselves on our ability to collaborate with other teams to achieve the best result for the donkeys.
    We love data, but more importantly we love getting data right! So if, like us, you get excited when you solve a tricky data problem, perhaps this is the team for you.

    Marketing and Communications - Philanthropy Team

    We are a diverse team and our roles cross over various departments which shows collaboration and compassion.

    The Philanthropy team is responsible for building long term, meaningful relationships with Major Donors and Trusts. We work with a supporter/trust to find out their interests and present them with funding opportunities in line with these interests.  Once a donation has been made, we take the time to show the donor what impact they have had on our work, and ensure they receive the recognition they deserve.

    Marketing and Communications - Reception Team

    Working in Reception is very varied; we deal with business visitors, interview candidates and Donkey Sanctuary supporters who call in for appointments or just drop in to say hello. We operate the main switchboard, dealing with all the incoming calls, fielding them to the correct departments and dealing with supporter’s general queries.  We project manage Donkey Week - the largest event held by the Sanctuary, when around 300 of our most loyal supporters join us for a week’s holiday where we take them around to all the farms that are not normally open to the general public and organise interesting talks about our work for them to listen to. We also deal with all the Supporter Services queries that need a personal letter.

    The Telecommunications needs of the charity, both land line and mobile are dealt with by the team. Other responsibilities include looking after the plastic collection boxes that are placed in shops and restaurants; this ranges from issuing the boxes to processing the donations and writing the thank you letters.

    Marketing and Communications - Supporter Services Team

    We have a mantra here at The Donkey Sanctuary that ‘donkeys come first, second and third’, but we recognise that our wonderful supporters come a very close fourth.

    They are the lifeblood of our charity and without their continued support we could not carryout our vital work.

    The Supporter Services team is committed to strengthening the charity’s relationship with its supporters and delivering the best possible experience through outstanding stewardship and service.

    We’re a passionate team of 14 full and part time administrative employees who work collaboratively with our colleagues throughout the charity to support their fundraising and operational needs.

    No two days are the same in Supporter Services, but our tasks and activities include;

    • Being the principal point of contact for general enquiries
    • Handling incoming mail
    • Maintaining an accurate and legally compliant database of supporter records
    • Financial processing, including direct debits
    • Thanking supporters for donations
    • Gift Aid processing
    • Administering the Adoption scheme
    • Administering the Memorial Scheme

     

    We’re so lucky to be able to work in such a wonderful environment and privileged to work for the donkeys in a role that is both fun and rewarding.

     

    New Arrivals Unit

    All donkeys coming into the Sanctuary undertake a minimum period of 6 weeks in the New Arrivals Unit before they can join our farms. The donkeys will undergo a range of assessments and treatments whilst in the unit to ensure all of their requirements are met and to reduce any possible introduction of disease into our herds. The team at New Arrivals work around the clock to settle the donkeys in and get to know them, whilst minimising stress and keeping a close eye for any signs of illness or disease. They work with the Veterinary department to ensure all donkeys have medicals, dung samples, blood tests, vaccinations, dentals and farriery work, plus any other treatments they may require. The team also work hard to start a training programme for the donkeys, as some may come in completely unhandled- the aim is to get them more relaxed around people and enjoy having contact with us, so we can carry out everyday tasks such as grooming, which in turn also improves their welfare. All of the information we gather during their time here helps us decide where the donkey will move onto depending on their needs. It’s a complex but very rewarding role here

    Paccombe Training Centre

    One of the aims of The Donkey Sanctuary is to improve the lives of both donkeys and people through positive human donkey interactions.
    Education through training delivery and development is essential to enable us to meet that aim.
    We have 14 venues around the UK where training of our Stage One and Stage Two Donkey Care courses is delivered regularly; this training can be to employees, supporters or potential new Guardian homes.
    As a Donkey Care trainer, you are vital for us to reach all those donkeys in the UK and overseas by creating educational opportunities.
    Paccombe Training Centre support the development of the charity employees through the Donkey Sanctuary Diploma programme.
    As a diploma co-ordinator, you are working closely with our donkey “facing” employees to maintain the high standards of care that is required to keep our donkeys happy and healthy.
    Being part of the Paccombe Training Centre team means, you will spend lots of time with our amazing donkeys and that you are directly responsible for influencing how the education and care of those donkeys is developed.

    Operational Support

    “We are a team of multi-skilled professionals sharing and supporting the expansion of knowledge, innovation and demonstrating best practice to improve the lives of donkeys, mules and their humans”
    Equine and Human Behaviour change team
    Welfare assessments team
    Education Lead for Higher and Further Education
    Lead Harness developing harness interventions/ resources and training
    We are a fun eclectic family who care and work for each other and work as one in a professional but flexible working environment to develop skills and resources globally to improve the lives of donkeys and mules. It is important to us that we continue to work on succession planning and to develop our teams’ skills in existing or new areas.

    Pathology Laboratory

    The Pathology Laboratory is an essential support service to departments such as veterinary, welfare and research. The diagnostic work covered is required for clinical need, facilitating movement of donkeys, monitoring the ongoing health of a herd and assisting in research projects. The department consists of a laboratory manager leading a team of 6 laboratory technicians and a veterinary pathologist who is supported by a pathology technician and a pathology assistant. The team are forward-thinking and enthusiastic which creates a positive and fun environment to work in with the added benefit of knowing the work provides huge benefit to donkey welfare. The day to day work exists in a variety of fields including biochemistry, haematology, parasitology and post-mortem examination.

    Procurement

    The Procurement Department works to ensure that the Charity makes the best use of its resources by seeking value for money on ethical and sustainable third party spend, offering strategic advice and guidance on purchasing and supply issues, managing supply risk and providing operational support.

    We work with a network of UK and Internationally based suppliers covering such diverse categories of spend as animal welfare, feed and veterinary supplies; utilities, building and facilities management products and services; capital equipment and projects; marketing and communication services and IT and telecoms, general administration and professional services.

    The Procurement Team is comprised of our Head of Procurement, a Procurement Category Lead, three Procurement Specialists, a Procurement Buyer and a Procurement Analyst. These are exciting times for our dedicated team, as we are currently reviewing our procurement practices and procedures and building on the key relationships that we have worked hard to develop over recent times to improve our links with suppliers and enhance the value that we can add to the Charity.

    A day in the life of a member of the Procurement Team can be very varied; including holding meetings with suppliers to discuss contractual and supply issues, working closely with stakeholders to scope out future requirements, managing sourcing procedures to identify the suppliers best suited to delivering our needs, developing category and procurement strategies to determine our direction of travel and managing spend data and electronic procurement systems.

    With this amount of variety across such a breadth of different categories, a career in Procurement at The Donkey Sanctuary is hugely rewarding and not only brings with it a number of role-specific benefits including training and development but also wider benefits such as volunteering opportunities.

    Research and Wildlife and Conservation

    The Donkey Sanctuary’s research team works in collaboration with experts around the world to improve understanding of donkeys and their welfare requirements. Half of our research team is dedicated to domestic research, while the other half faces very different challenges conducting global research. The ecology and conservation program also sits within this team, ensuring that we work to enhance the integral links and mutually beneficial relationships between donkeys, the environment and people. We are a diverse, multi-skilled team, with opportunities for researchers with varied backgrounds and specialisms, conservation officers and ecologists. Working with us offers exciting opportunities to work with many of the UK’s leading universities, overseas institutions and a broad range of practitioners and professionals. Our research crosses many academic fields including veterinary science, behaviour, nutrition, microbiology, social science, anthrozoology and working equids, ecology, conservation and grassland management. The conservation program primarily addresses ecology and conservation issues relating to the habitats and wildlife, helping to enrich our donkeys’ lives and promote wellbeing for people whilst enhancing the biodiversity on our farms. Sharing our findings is an important part of our work, to help educate and inform at all levels of society, from academia to rural communities. In short, nothing that contributes to improving donkey welfare is beyond our remit.

    The People Team

    The People team has a real mix of responsibilities which makes it a really interesting team to work in.  There are a number of vital roles we play which starts with recruiting people into the Donkey Sanctuary into either permanent or voluntary roles and making sure that, when they join, they feel part of the team as quickly as possible.  We also help to train and develop our people to ensure they have everything they need to do a great job and that they are ready for the next step in their career when it comes along.  It is our responsibility to ensure that our people are fairly rewarded and provided with good benefits and that they enjoy the environment they work in.  We have a number of different roles in the team including our business partners who work very closely with the managers, recruitment advisers, learning and development specialists and our People Advisers and administrators who provide advice and help ensure that everyone is paid correctly by working closely with the Finance Team.  One of the greatest things about working in the People Team is how varied the work is, from interviewing candidates to coaching or running a training workshop or working on engagement or well-being initiatives, however the best part about working in the team is the people we are lucky enough to work with across the wider Donkey Sanctuary.

    Veterinary department

    The Veterinary department is based at the sanctuary’s purpose-built hospital at Brookfield Farm, Honiton and is composed of 12 veterinary surgeons, 5 veterinary nurses, a hospital manager and two equine dental technicians as well as a full front of house team.
    The team work at the forefront of donkey welfare and medicine providing optimum care to the sanctuary’s 2,700 donkeys across Devon and Dorset. The hospital is fully equipped for anaesthesia, diagnostic imaging, surgery and in-patient care. The veterinary department also provide ambulatory care to the sanctuary’s donkey population with routine farm visits. The team is also involved in providing education and advice to students, owners, vets and paraprofessionals around the world.
    The Veterinary department team is passionate about donkey health and enthusiastic about collaboration with other departments within the sanctuary. We strive to work to the highest standards to support our goal of providing every donkey with a healthy happy life.

    Welfare

    A team of Donkey Welfare Advisors, Office admin support, Drivers and Donkey Care trainers work collaboratively with other equine agencies to ensure good donkey welfare around the UK.  They support our Guardian homes to enable our fitter donkeys to live with families and organisations who benefit from the mutual donkey and human interaction whilst leaving space in our resident herds for donkeys who need more specialist support.  Our bespoke donkey care training is delivered free of charge to any prospective Guardian and to all new employees as part of their induction training.  Collaboration with other agencies when donkey welfare is compromised has enable us to support the RSPCA, Blue Cross, Redwings and World Horse Welfare by providing refuge for donkeys that they have seized. Collecting relinquished donkeys and delivering donkeys to Guardian homes

    Weston team

    The Weston team comprises the Maintenance team, the Gardeners and the Fencing team. It carries out a wide range of duties that help with the smooth day-to-day running of the Sanctuary, but one of its most easily defined roles is to maintain the grounds at Slade House Farm: the gardens and the memorial walks.
    The early morning routine consists of delivering milk to other departments and waste management: collecting recycling, and emptying the bins ready for use by our guests. After that, the team regroups to address a dazzling array of duties: cutting and strimming the memorial walks; cutting hedges; planting, maintaining and replacing memorial trees and their associated plaques; furniture removals; drain clearing; erecting marquees, staging and fencing – and delivering tables and chairs - for events; delivering machinery, materials and equipment to other departments; clearing waste materials, particularly the huge amount of green waste generated by the site. The Gardeners tidy and maintain the gardens at Slade House Farm: cutting and strimming, planting, pruning, weeding, watering, raking and sweeping; building and maintaining trellises and other structures, and erecting gates; as well as propagating and bringing on new plants, and growing some herbs and vegetables for the restaurant. The Fencers build, repair and replace stock and post-and-rail fencing at Slade House Farm, but also at Woods Farm and other sites.
    People hoping to join the Weston team would need a wide-range of skills and the ability to acquire new ones, but particularly a willingness to work with others and collaborate with other departments. They would need to be flexible – you never quite know what you are going to do next – as well as organised, swift – when required – good at problem-solving and self-motivated.
  • Employee testimonials

    Abigail Sefton

    Veterinary Surgeon

    "There is no typical day. 08:00-16:30 with 30 donkeys in a day, or a single case - making sure we do a great job."

    Adam Bird

    Gardener

    "Nice atmosphere. All the staff and visitors are friendly. Visitors always come and ask questions. Getting the positive comments from everyone which is lovely to hear."

    Brandon Prince

    Carpenter

    "I enjoy working for The Donkey Sanctuary because of the variety of work within carpentry at the sanctuary and not being stuck in an office, moving between indoors and outdoors."

    Charlotte Lockett

    Equine Coach

    "Working for a charity like this is really rewarding. You know that everything we get (money) goes back to the donkeys. Ultimately, we are here for the donkeys and they are here for the clients. No matter how bad their life has been, they are so forgiving."

    Chris Legg

    Electrician

    "Varied work load, steady hours, one location of work."

    Chris Morris

    Head Chef

    "I enjoy working with fresh, seasonal and sustainable ingredients. It’s fantastic to have a job that not only am I doing what I love but I also feel that our work is helping the charity to make a difference to the lives of mules and donkeys worldwide."

    Chris Phillips

    IT Operations Technician

    "I like being an ambassador for the charity and helping people in different departments. This is my way of helping the donkeys by enabling the employees to work more efficiently."

    Daniel Brown

    Conservation Officer

    "There is a strong seasonal element to what we do – focusing on woodland and hedgerow management in the winter and grassland management in the summer. It makes me proud to work alongside a diverse group of people with differing backgrounds and skill-sets"

    Dave Church

    Cleaner

    "A pleasant place to work. Great people."

    Donna Roberts-Trevett

    Visitor Services Assistant

    “No day is the same, however, everyday does incorporate public talks, lots of visitor interaction and talking about the work of the charity; from the donkeys to the history; worldwide work, assisting the grooms with exercise - walking the donkeys or moving them from place to place."

    James Peschel

    Plumber

    "Make a cup of tea, look at all jobs for the day. Varied work, working outside, with the donkeys, with the troughs, etc."

    Jess Morris and Laura Giblin

    HR Advisers

    "It was the role and the organisation that interested me. I liked the variety - a general HR role." "Everyone is so friendly and welcoming here, our values of compassion, collaboration and creativity can be found in our employees and volunteers across the charity.”

    Katy Padgham

    Laboratory Technician

    "Very busy! Vets coming in on the hour, every hour. Constant flow of samples both internally and externally; looking at bloods, dungs, urine samples, cytology."

    Leon Woods

    Graphic Designer

    "Very different kind of place to work. Not like anywhere else I have ever worked. I get to do what I do with a wide variety of departments, it's not just one department like previous places I have worked. Good to build up a wide portfolio of different aspects."

    Libby Norman

    Digital Communications Officer (Web)

    "There are not many places where you can work in the digital realm with real life donkeys outside your window. I'm proud to work for a charity that has the ability to reach not only donkeys, but the communities they support worldwide."

    Luke Poore

    Head of Clinical Veterinary Services

    "Making a difference - providing gold standard veterinary care."

    Marleen Stroes

    Farm Supervisor

    "I mostly enjoy being with the donkeys and working with my colleagues. It's a really nice team and we all help each other out. At Slade House Farm there are lots of visitors and I tell them stories with the donkeys - I am proud to share experiences with them."

    Paula Legg

    Deputy Content Editor

    "The content team hold a mirror up to the different areas of the charity and reflect back their good work and the impact they have on the donkeys."

    Ryan Trawford

    Laboratory Technician

    "I like how the results at the laboratory help the donkeys. I know my results are helping those that might be ill."

    Sam Dabner

    Apprentice Gardener

    "I applied to work here as I like working outdoors. I volunteered here originally and then asked if I could do an apprenticeship. I like gardening."

    Simon Cake

    Recruitment Adviser

    "Working here provides a variety of different roles , not just recruiting for one particular sector. One minute it can be Front of House Assistants and the next it is Global Programmes Director."

    Sophie Channon

    Equine Assistant & Equine Coordinator

    "Working in this department makes me proud to work at The Donkey Sanctuary; seeing the difference the donkeys make to us and vice versa."

    Sophie Haines

    Cleaning Supervisor

    "I enjoy the general splendour - being on this site (Slade House Farm), beautiful views, changeable weather. And the people who work here - colleagues - such a mixture of people."

    Tom Dean

    Farm Worker / Groom

    "Seeing the donkeys bright happy faces in the morning. I like to care for them."

    Tracy Highet

    Site and Maintenance Worker

    "A nice place to visit. Lots of natural tracks. Pleasant place to work."

    Zena Hawkins

    Retail Supervisor

    "I love my job and enjoy meeting people and seeing children come and appreciate the donkeys and learn about their welfare."

  • Living in the South West

    We know just how important a good work-life balance is, so we’re pleased to say that The Donkey Sanctuary isn’t only a great place to work, it’s situated in a great place to live. Welcome to Sidmouth – the West Country’s best kept secret!

    A few miles south of the historically famous lace making town of Honiton, Sidmouth is located within the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – home to any number of idyllic villages, beautiful valleys, nature reserves, and some of the most breath-taking coastal and hilltop views you’ll find anywhere in the country. The town lies on the Jurassic Coast, England’s first UNESCO designated World Heritage Site, and the vivid red sandstone cliffs that frame it evidence 185 million years of evolution.

    Then there’s us – The Donkey Sanctuary. In addition to being one of the world’s foremost equine charities, we are undoubtedly one of the West Country’s premier visitor attractions. Last year, over 350,000 people came to see our lovely donkeys, explore our fabulous visitor centre, and enjoy the fare on offer at our stunning new restaurant. Small wonder we were voted 2018’s “Large Attraction of the Year” at the prestigious Visit Devon Tourist Awards!

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