It’s been just over a week since I started here at the Big Issue Foundation and already I’m starting to feel at home! I couldn’t have hoped for a more welcoming atmosphere that stands in stark (and pleasantly surprising) contrast to some of the places I’ve interned before.
And what an eventful week it’s been! I’ve met with people from across the organisation, in distribution, fundraising and Big Issue Invest. To a man, everyone has been lovely.
But one in particular sticks in the mind. On my second day here, I was introduced to a former vendor now working as a cycle courier, an exuberant character called Dean.
With the second week of the internship came that feeling of settled-ness where you enter the comfort zone of knowing what you’re doing and is expected of you. Although there’s still plenty of variety in the tasks that I’m assigned so there’s no time to get complacent or procrastinate really! Some new tasks I’ve been helping with include making promotional flyers for forthcoming editions of the journal. I also worked with another of the editors in the department to select reviewers for articles submitted to Interfac,e a more conventionally structured research journal published by the RS. It was really interesting finding out some of the different approaches taken for this journal, compared to TransB.
I have arrived at Rathlin Island!
I am currently sitting at McCuaigs pub, enjoying one of the few sources of WiFi on the island. The pub overlooks the harbour, from where I can see all the way to the town of Ballycastle in the mainland of Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland. It is my first time in NI and the views are absolutely spectacular. I have just started working at the RSPB Rathlin Island Seabird Centre two days ago.
I applied to be a residential volunteer with RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) in early April, and was happy to get a position working and staying on Rathlin Island.
Sadly, this week is my last at DWT. I was out with the reserves’ team again this week, this time at a coastal reserve called Blackhall rocks near Hartlepool. The views of the County Durham coast were fantastic. In my first week I was the only girl and this week I was one of only 2 girls out on site! But I go to Imperial, so I’m used to that. The habitat at Blackhall rocks includes woodland, scrub and para-maritime magnesium limestone grassland (wow, what a mouthful). Although scrub provides a good habitat for birds, it is common around the UK.
It’s my penultimate week at DWT. I’ve really enjoyed myself so far and I find the work I’m doing interesting and, most importantly, relevant to my future career goals. As well as this, I feel like the document I am working on will really be of benefit to the overall project and I have written something that my supervisor can actually use. I have been encouraged to add headings and any other information that I think is relevant while reading papers, and I am able to focus on the sections that I find most interesting. Not only does this keep me motivated, but I also have the opportunity to be creative and add my own input to the project, which I think is rare for an intern!
I’m currently sitting in a café in Vauxhall, counting down the minutes until I start my placement at the Big Issue Foundation. The pre-first day nerves setting my mind to run wild, publishing my first post to the blog seemed like a welcome distraction…
I imagine most of you will recognize the Big Issue. Having thousands of vendors on streets across the UK each week have turned it into one of the country’s most trusted and recognizable social enterprise brands. What you might not know is that it’s actually split into three arms: the magazine, the foundation and the social investment vehicle.
I have been continuing work on the user guide, this week focusing on producing case studies from Living Landscapes and NIAs, where the use of GIS maps would help. Living Landscapes is a nation wide project, created by the Wildlife Trusts, that aims to restore, recreate and reconnect habitats o support native wildlife. This will give species more space to move between patches, increasing their chances of adapting to threats such as climate change. The point of this part of the document is to allow people who would potentially use the maps (trust staff, housing planners etc.) to see how GIS maps would benefit their project.
This week I started my Charity Insights internship at the publishing office of Royal Society. I’m sure that most of you will have at least heard of the Royal Society (if not, here’s the wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Society for a quick blurb) It’s the oldest scientific academy still in existence and I ended up there because I’m interested in the work they do in communicating science and emphasizing the cultural role that science has to play in society. Oh and because I wanted to get a taste of academic publishing and their publishing division just happen to bring out some great journals!
Just some of the data Eleanor has been analysing!
Yesterday Eileen and I popped along to Shoreditch, East London to visit Eleanor who is hard at work at Idea (the international debate education association). Eleanor has been researching female participation at debating competitions which has meant analysing a huge amount of data!
Eleanor and Manos
Eleanor’s supervisor Manos told us a bit more about the charity. We were surprised by its size; the website receives up to 3 million unique visitors in a year and Idea has offices in several countries. Interns at Idea often later go on to be full time members of staff at the organisation so Eleanor is getting some great experience.
I had my last day at ACT! on Friday (and woke up pretty hungover on Saturday). I finished my project and discussed it with Charles – he seemed pleased with my work which was a relief. My framework for city ‘greening’ will be put together with a number of other parallel projects (focusing on energy, transport or land taxation for example) to build up a complete sustainable city model. With Bristol crowned European Green Capital 2015 the city has a lot to achieve ‘greening-wise’ in the next two years – so who knows, hopefully our sustainable city model will come to some use in Bristol…
I’m sad to leave Bristol, it’s such a lively and striking city, and I was so lucky with the weather – I spent many evenings on the Clifton Downs with some of my colleges from ACT!