After a few week break I am back again, with your weekly insight into the future of the UK energy infrastructure! Many of the Green Alliance staff are on holiday, making desk space plentiful, which means I have been able to work my first 40-hour week at an office job ever! Takes a bit of getting used to, but overall sitting at a desk for 8 hours straight is more fun than expected.
Just another day at the office… (Sorry I just couldn’t resist!)
So what have I been doing in my first full-time week? Well, the focus in the past five days has momentarily shifted from dusty data archives to the forward looking analysis of future electricity generation projects.
My last week at The Passage was full of meetings with representatives of the various organisations that I had contacted over the preceding weeks. If nothing else this gave me an excellent opportunity to visit some parts of London that I hadn’t previously been aware of. Fortunately the majority of my meetings were extremely useful and provided a new perspective or some new information.
One issue that I discovered through these interviews was the problem of supported accommodation beds being occupied by EEA nationals who are in fact ready to move on. These residents are covered by the saving section of the new legislation which exempts those who were in receipt of housing benefit before the legislation came in to force.
For the first week that I worked at The Passage I mainly did research from my desk. This meant working out exactly how the changes to benefits eligibility worked; a non trivial task. Reading the actual legislation was only marginally helpful so I had to look elsewhere for information. This lead me to find that the Social Services Advisory Committee (SSAC) was investigating the effects of the change. Thankfully the minutes of all the SSAC meetings are published online and I was able to find out more about the intended effects of the change. As part of their investigation, SSAC called for ‘evidence’ from organisations working with homeless people, such as St Mungo’s.
Since my last blog there has been quite a few events at RECLAIM. Firstly I conducted one of my focus groups with some girls from the Gorton project last year. The group was of about 5 or 6 girls who were very willing to express their opinion and give us some useful information. I arranged for the group to take place at the Gorton Monastery; a beautiful building that has recently been restored in the slightly disadvantaged area of Manchester. The girls had been there before and had an existing relationship with the director, Elaine. Elaine took time to speak to the girls about an exciting re development opportunity at the monastery and an old run down community center down the road.
This week has been great! I am continuing on with the data organisation project that I started last week. I have come to realise that I may not be able to get through the entire data set so I hope to design a formal method to approach the organisation (without delving into the world of code to make it easier).
I also accepted a side task proposed by my supervisor to give myself a slight change. The task regards File Case Retentions. All young carers within the Barnardo’s scheme require Barnardo’s to store their data for multiple years depending on their situation.
I thought I would let you know what I have been up to on my charity insights placement and a little bit about me/ my project.
So why did you choose the British Red Cross as your charity?
Well I have been a Volunteer with them for 4 years as a Peer Educator in First Aid and love it, so it was an obvious choice. They are always keen to take on Interns to help out as well!
What is the project and why are you doing it?
I am working in the People and Learning department where I am linking two pieces of research data together, one on volunteer rentention ( quantitative) and a second on staff and volunteer engagement (focus groups).
Today I thought I would provide a brief summary of developments over the last few years.
The first wave of A8 nationals (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia) arrived in 2004. Within 8 hours of the borders opening there was a queue from the passage all the way to Victoria Coach station. At the peak of the influx 53 coaches from Warsaw arrived in a single day. As many migrants were from Catholic countries they immediately went to nearby Westminster Cathedral which directed them to The Passage. At that time a potential client did not have to have ‘support needs’ to be eligible for The Passage’s services.
On my first morning at The Passage I was granted the blessing of a leisurely start: at eleven I presented myself at reception and met Miranda, who was to be my supervisor, for the first time. No work got done that morning, instead we talked about the project that I was to work on and agreed some first steps.
My work consisted of researching, and then writing a report on, the situation of European economic migrants with ‘no recourse to public funds’. These are both terms that would benefit from clarification. For the purposes of my report, I effectively considered any national of a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) other than the UK to be an economic migrant.
Almost a week has passed since I finished my internship at the MS Trust and I have had time to reflect on what has been a wonderful experience. My fourth week involved finishing the literary search and a final visit to the local therapy centre. I was also lucky enough to spend two days with my supervisor, a physiotherapist, in Norwich, where I saw more people with MS receiving therapy.
Norwich MS Therapy Centre
I have deliberately kept this entry short as I have written a detailed blog for the MS Trust website detailing all my experiences – both during my final week and over the whole placement – which can be found here: http://www.mstrust.org.uk/interactive/mstrust/2014/my-summer-at-the-ms-trust-learning-from-people-with-ms/
Overall I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience that the Charity Insights Scheme has given me.
For someone who hardly spends time in East London, it’s weird to look back and realize I’ve been spending 10 days doing just that. It’s quite a quaint little part of Camden that I’m tucked away by too! I don’t think I’ve seen so few ATMs and so many artisan bakeries during my time in London.
A recap of what’s happened since the first day:
- Dissemination plan – First draft completed! A nice little list of allergy-related charities, clinics and research centers both large and small. Once again let it be known that there’s probably a charity for every type of disorder there is out there (what might this mean in terms of sustainability of nonprofits?