From time to time we are blessed to have students with us who choose to spend their work placement hours helping at the project and observing what it is we do here. The most recent student is Emily from the University of Chester and this is what she had to say about her time at the Brierley Hill Project (BHP):-
I am a second-year student of criminology and decided to come to the BHP for a 5-week work placement, to expand upon my theoretical knowledge in a practical environment. Throughout my time at the project I have been able to engage with various service users, mainly in group sessions, and have observed the key services that the project provides which include; drop-ins, foodbank, mentoring and detached youth work.
Building a rapport with the service users is key to understanding their different experiences which have lead them to the project, I have witnessed people in the early stages of their journey, others in recovery or in the developmental stages of rehabilitation and some who (with support) have managed to rehabilitate to a considerable level of stability. The overall experience of my placement has been a very positive one; in terms of my academic studies I have witnessed first-hand how social and environmental circumstances hold a weighted influence over a person’s lifestyle choices (especially regarding criminality).
I have also been given the opportunity to engage with the wider community, other volunteers, foodbanks and other professionals, such as a social worker and a representative from the Mary Steven’s Hospice to learn more about new and upcoming community initiatives that engage with harder to reach individuals to improve their access to services.
On a more emotive level I have been exposed to people who may be categorised and labelled in a societal and legal sense, but realistically have a wealth of knowledge to be learned from. Their own personal experiences should be treated as a point of reference that we can reflect on and from which we can learn and develop for future improvements.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the entirety of my time at the BHP and have learned more each week about the breadth of the fantastic work that the project does, each individual I have met and every story I have heard have had a remarkable impact on my own learning experience and will definitely influence the work I hope to accomplish in the near future……
From all of us at the BHP I’d like to thank Emily for getting stuck in and for this personal insight into her time with us. Emily don’t be a stranger, we wish you well for your future accomplishments!