I did a work experience at Severn Vale Housing shadowing Janette Vizard, their Grants and Social Value Officer. Our agenda for the week was very busy and I was a little nervous.
We did a tour of the building and all the departments and I then had to sign a confidentiality agreement which made me wonder what we would be doing as I have never had to do that before!
During the week I visited Priors Park Neighbourhood Project and The Roses Theatre, as well as attending a Groundworkers meeting. I didn’t realise some of the places were actually charities, such as The Roses Theatre, so that surprised me.
Another thing that I had never thought about was just how little most charities actually have and the massive lack of funding they face. I thought they would have much more money than they actually did but in reality, they had to put in bids, in which usually only 1 in 10-11 are accepted.
I was also surprised to see that the Priors Park Neighbourhood Project was where my old playgroup was and the change to it was big, with it now holding activities like job clubs and training.
We had a meeting with a lady from Travis Perkins Managed Services about social value. I had no idea what this was, but learnt that it meant if Severn Vale Housing bought things from them a certain percentage of the money they spent would be given back to them to put towards a project to help the community. This happened to be funding for 32 iPads and training to be given to older residents who were part of Severn Vale retirement schemes.
We visited Brockworth Link library which is an asset transfer library where we spent hours writing out bids for new automatic doors and core funding. I learnt that core funding was salaries and bills, and charities have to constantly raise money to cover them.
At Winchcombe Day Centre I met some of the elderly living locally. I realised just how lonely they are and how they have a very strict routine where they do and see the same things every day and how dull it must be for them. I also learnt about how socially isolated they become and how it’s important to organise clubs and socials and outings so they don’t become completely withdrawn and depressed.
Towards the end of the week we started off by visiting GL3 Hub, which is a community centre in Churchdown. They try to incorporate and integrate the whole community by having Age UK in every day for lunch and activities, running a youth club, having exercise classes, mum and toddler mornings and, once a month, a Japanese food night.
Sophie Price (far left) meeting staff and residents at Tynings Court
Our next stop was to Tynings Court where they were planning a big event next month for residents of Severn Vale schemes. There seemed to be masses of planning involved in a one day event but it was great to try and bring lots of older people together who may be lonely or isolated to spend an afternoon having fun and socialising.
We finished the day at Gloucester Rugby who were running a programme for young people where they could take part in a 12-week scheme in areas such as catering, leisure and coaching and where they could do English and maths. They also do work experience to help them become more ready for employment along with activities and events in the area they chose to join, acting as a stepping stone from school to work and in building confidence. They wanted to forge partnerships with employers where they could help each other with their scheme and work experience and build links.
I learned a lot throughout the week about things I had never even heard of and enjoyed myself thoroughly as the experience was very valuable and an insight into another world I did not see myself in before.