Over the summer, we hosted two student volunteers, Fahmida and Hager, from the Nuffield Research Programme. They supported our Engagement Manager Natalia’s two projects for children and young people in Lambeth:
The volunteers helped with doing literature review and taking notes during 11 focus group discussions with social workers. They also helped Natalia in analysing the findings from the focus groups.
It was a pleasure to have them both and so we asked to hear their feedback and thoughts about the experience of volunteering with us.
Here’s what one of the volunteers Fahmida said:
I decided to volunteer with Healthwatch Lambeth because I wanted to jump out of my comfort zone and try something different. Having to take notes on key points made during interviews as well as follow what the group were saying at the same time was something I hadn’t done before. What I hoped to get out of the placement was key skills on researching and conducting interviews which I most definitely did.
Healthwatch Lambeth’s work is very important because it researches into the problems of the social care and health sectors. During my placement, I had the opportunity to research why many looked after children and young people were not having their initial health assessments completed. We held focus group discussions with social workers, managers, Independent Reviewing Officers, and Business Support Officers to gather their views on the problem. Originally, I was completely unfamiliar with the social care system however, due to this experience, I now know what the main processes and groups involved in a looked after child’s time in care are. Recurring problems to do with management and communication between groups was something that I explored during my time working with Healthwatch Lambeth.
What I most enjoyed were the discussions. I found them very interesting because some groups had positive opinions and others had negative ones. I found researching and writing the literature review to be challenging, however I received a lot of guidance and help which allowed me to write up a complete literature review that I’m proud of. As a result of this, I developed effective research skills and learned how to correctly reference literature.
I also learnt that finding and accessing relevant information from sources were very difficult however, I was guided to a few websites that had legitimate, useful articles and research papers. This experience is definitely valuable as it enriches the skills, such as research and independence, that are needed for university and further education.
We are glad to hear that Fahmida valued the experience with us, and that we were able to send her off with some new skills and learning that will help her with what she will be doing next.
Natalia also had nice things to say about Fahmida’s contribution to our work:
Fahmida has definitely set the bar high for all placement students via Nuffield Research Foundation. She has excellent work ethics and was keen to learn. She knows how to follow instructions and always had bright ideas to share. She has excellent writing skills and has shown critical and analytical thinking. She’s a team player and has a warm, pleasant personality. It has been a delight to supervise her. Healthwatch Lambeth wishes her all the best in her studies and future career.