Posted 26 September 2018

When applying for internships this past summer, my hopes were to find a position in the voluntary sector that could give me relevant experience towards my chosen career path, whilst simultaneously becoming involved with a cause that I really believe in. Glass Door has offered me both of these opportunities.

Homelessness, which is rife in London, is a crucial issue. I can’t help but notice an increase in the number of individuals sleeping rough over the course of my lifetime; it should be heading in the opposite direction!

After sending in my resume and meeting with the team at Glass Door, I took on a part-time internship.

 

Getting stuck in

I was given the chance to use my Tuesday lunches to volunteer in the kitchens of Chelsea Methodist Church, which sees up to 100 people come in for lunch three days a week. It was great to meet so many of the guests, who access many of the different services both at the drop-in. The guests were all so friendly, and surprised me by their diversity in age, background, gender and ethnicity.

Chatting to people while serving I felt as though I could have been in a university cafeteria, or as if I was at a big family party meeting relatives.

The lunch shift proved to be an eye-opening experience. People who used this service came from all different walks of life and I was reminded that we shouldn't judge a person by their housing status. 

The kitchen team, led by Rosie, made delicious meals that we then served in generous portions. I hope that when I come back from university I will be able to volunteer with a team like this again.

Getting to know the office

The office environment at Glass Door was so friendly; everyone welcomed me into the team.

The constant supply of coffee made me feel at home quickly.

Everyone was so willing to talk about their roles so I could learn about the different parts of the charity and how they work together. The caseworkers were happy to explain how they would approach various issues and provided examples of the kinds of discussion they would have in one-to-one meetings with guests. This was invaluable as it helped me comprehend how the office and front-line staff can work together to achieve the best results for our guests.

 

My future plans

Upon graduating from university (hopefully!) next summer, I plan to return to London and start a career, potentially in marketing and communications.

Social media and digital marketing are areas that are every increasingly important. Learning how to approach platforms appropriately, what tone to use in messages and posts and learning about aesthetics have been crucial skills to learn over the last two months. These are skills I hope to be able to carry forward into my future career.

One of the projects I have supported whilst at Glass Door involved a corporate partnership, and I discovered that this is another area I would be keen to get more experience in.  If I was not going to have a job within the charity sector, I would like to have a role in Corporate Social Responsibility, as CSR is a growing area with such potential to help charities.

My time interning with Glass Door this summer has been a very thought-provoking experience. It has shown me gaps in my knowledge – varying from understanding the complexity of homelessness, the incredible impact of caseworkers and the difference volunteers can make, to learning new skills in marketing and fundraising.

 

Thank you to everyone in the Glass Door team for making my experiences as an intern such positive ones, and for being such a lovely team!

 

Siena