Gap year opportunity


If you are thinking 'what next?', trying to discern what God is saying to you and wanting the opportunity to make a difference, this could be for you

We are offering a gap year experience for 36 weeks, from November 2021 until July 2022, with the opportunity to develop new and existing skills, be part of creative forms of Christian worship and community and the chance to work with young adults - helping them to develop in their skills, confidence and grow in community.

About Strawberry Field

Strawberry Field is a Salvation Army Christian community site in Woolton, Liverpool, reopened in 2019, it is a unique site that brings together people from all walks of life, encompassing a fresh expression of Church, a training programme for young people with learning disabilities and barriers to employment as well as a visitor experience including an interactive exhibition, café and shop. Across the integrated mission, it provides a place of community, a place of transformation and a place of rest.

Steps at Strawberry Field

The Steps at Strawberry Field training programmes offer an incredible opportunity for people in Liverpool and Merseyside with learning difficulties or other barriers to employment, to develop and achieve their goals; offering intensive support and guidance with the objective of being work ready moving to employment or meaningful volunteering. Our goal is to help even more people to realise their dreams.

Fresh Expression

The Strawberry Field Community is developed and encouraged by what is known as the ‘Fresh Expression’ Team. They create opportunities for those around them to find out more about what it means to explore spirituality and faith. They engage with the local community face to face and also further afield online, as well as supporting staff, volunteers, trainees and their families pastorally.

 ‘We aim to be an inclusive community with God at the centre. Welcoming all to connect, be still, create and grow’

Captain Louise Brown, an officer with The Salvation Army, leads the Fresh Expression Team. Working alongside her are Team Members Karen Carter and Joe Doogan. They journey individually with people and also in small groups. At the heart of the community is a growing team of prayer warriors who meet every week. A monthly gathering around the fire pit to explore creative ways of engaging with God has also recently begun.

What would you be involved in?

The Gap Year has three elements;

  • Based from the Strawberry Field site and other sites in the Liverpool area, for three days of the week you would work with the Steps at Strawberry Field team. You would be involved in the support of the trainees, have opportunities to lead small groups, support placements, work with employers and placement providers and develop your skills and experience.
  • One day a week you would have the opportunity to work with the Strawberry Field Fresh Expression team. Here you would be engaging with locals and visiting communities, be involved in supporting groups in creative worship and assisting in developing the spiritual rhythm of the site.
  • The fifth day of the week would be an opportunity for training and reflection on your journey. This will be split between training led by the Divisional Youth Specialist and self-directed learning through reading and self-reflection. 

The gap year may also include the chance to be part of the FORGE training, which is hosted annually and provides training to consider how to be more missional in your own community and a Christian tour for a week during the 9 month period.

We would be interested in talking with you as to your interests and gifts to ensure you get the most out of the experience. 

Why apply?

This experience will provide:

  • The opportunity to be part of the context of integrated mission
  • The opportunity to develop a passion to recognise and be involved in the mission of God
  • Time and experience to discern what's next in your walk with God
  • The opportunity to develop new and existing skills and gifts. This may include small group teaching and facilitation, support to individuals and families, linking with employers, experiencing the spectrum of expressions of worship, developing activities and working in creative ways.  

Who is it open to?

The gap year opportunities are open to you if you are a committed Christian wanting to explore their faith.

(If successful at interview and with positive references, you will be asked to complete a DBS application online, any potential gap year recruit with a schedule 1 offence will not be recruited, any other convictions will be subject to the discretion of TSA) 

Who are we are looking for?

  • Someone who is committed to putting their Christian faith into practice
  • Someone who enjoys getting alongside others and can work as part of a varied team
  • Someone who wants to learn
  • Someone who is open to new experiences
  • Someone who will work within the ethos, values and policies of The Salvation Army and Strawberry Field

We would not be able to reimburse travel from home to the site but would pay receipted travel expenses for activities undertaken as part of the gap year experience. You would also have access to a computer, a mobile phone (to be returned at the end of the 9 months), branded t shirts and workwear and access to The Salvation Army online training courses.

You will be positively supported by a Practice Learning Co-ordinator throughout your time, along with mentoring from the Divisional Youth Specialist and guidance from the Fresh Expression Lead to make the most of your learning and experience.

If you would like to come and visit Strawberry Field and have a conversation about this opportunity, please contact allister.versfeld@salvationarmy.org.uk.

"It’s a wonderful idea that The Salvation Army is going to cultivate youngsters in the precious soil of Strawberry Field."

Julia Baird, Honorary President