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Life as a hospice intern

17 October 2017

Meet Sophie Duncan, our Community Fundraising Intern. Currently studying English Literature at the University of Birmingham, Sophie has been a crucial member of our team for over four months now. From recruiting volunteers to organising our ‘Big Brum Bucket’ event, here, she gives us an insight into life as a hospice intern. 

I first heard about Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice at a careers talk at my university. An inspiring member of the charity’s community fundraising team did a presentation and she completely opened my eyes to the Hospice and the work it does. I hadn’t really heard of Birmingham St Mary’s before then but I quickly realised what a gem we have sitting right in the heart of Selly Oak.

I have always loved volunteering and have had several volunteer roles at schools, at a local library and most recently the MS Committee at university. I had been thinking about pursuing a job in the charity sector for some time and so, after hearing the talk by Birmingham St Mary’s, I knew I wanted to get involved and support the Hospice.

Doing an internship was important to me as I wanted to gain valuable work experience over the summer break. Not only would it provide me with practical skills and useful knowledge but I knew that it would allow me to meet new people, network with other professionals and launch me into an environment that was completely out of my comfort zone. So, when I saw a position had become available at the Hospice, I knew I had to go for it!

When I landed the role of Community Fundraising Intern, I felt a huge sense of achievement. I felt proud knowing that the work I would do, would enable others to learn more about the Hospice, encouraging them to donate time and vital funds to help us.

Since I’ve started my internship, my main responsibility has been coordinating the ‘Big Brum Bucket Collection’ – an annual campaign which sees hundreds of volunteers take to the streets, supermarkets and shopping centres across Birmingham and Sandwell to help raise crucial funds for the charity.

Alongside my colleague, Maria, I’ve helped plan and manage the entire campaign. Together, we’ve done all sorts of tasks, from working with HR to recruit volunteers, encouraging local businesses to get involved, arranging PR and Marketing support and planning social media posts. We’ve also liaised with the Council in regards to permits, worked with the finance team, prepared buckets and t-shirts and even ‘bucketeered’ during the campaign. Being able to get completely stuck into a project like this has been a fantastic experience and from the start, I felt like an integral member of the team.

Overall, the campaign was a great success and we have so far raised over £7,000 for the Hospice. The collection weekend went brilliantly – lots of volunteers took part and everyone had a really good time! In fact, collecting that weekend was one of my favourite moments at the Hospice. Being out there in the community and discovering why people were supporting us was incredibly humbling. I particularly remember two lovely women who were bucketeering with me over the weekend – they told me how grateful they were to the Hospice after we had cared for their father-in-law. When you hear stories like that, it really makes you realise that the work you are doing is having a big impact to other local families.

That’s what I have loved about being an intern at Birmingham St Mary’s – working together to help other people. I have met people from all walks of life – not just the staff here but the volunteers, the corporate supporters and all the people I met during the collection weekend. When I finish my internship and go back to university, it will be the people that I’ll miss most – it really is like a big family here.

Doing an internship has made a big difference to my confidence. I feel much more confident in myself and my own abilities, especially when I tell people about what Birmingham St Mary’s do and what the Big Brum Bucket campaign is. It has also had a positive impact on my university work. Normally, when I go back to uni after the summer, I feel really overwhelmed with the amount of work I have to do. But now I prioritise a lot better – I’ve got all my reading done, I’m much more organised and I feel on top of things.

Although I’ll be sad to finish my internship soon, this won’t be the last time I work with the Hospice. I’ve already signed up to do the Jingle Bell Jog this Christmas and I look forward to supporting other events in the future!

Thank you Sophie for being such a brilliant member of our team. We wish you the best of luck with your final year at university and look forward to seeing you soon at our events!

If you are interested in doing an internship with us, why not take a look at our current vacancies?