Lizzie Robinson, Families and Communities

Lizzie - Intern 2019"I am currently a History student at the University of Edinburgh, and shall be returning for my third year in September 2019. I have been in the Families and Communities team for 12 weeks, working with the different locality officers regarding different areas within West Suffolk but also with their different specialisms. The locality teams have really allowed me to explore different areas of West Suffolk and come to terms with the impact of rurality within a district.

I have been involved with the development of Work Well Suffolk, both interpreting a foreign bid and developing it for enactment within the whole of Suffolk. This bid provided significant challenges as it was submitted two years prior and thus needed a complete reconsideration for the current context. This required particular focus on ensuring we met the terms of the bid within a current and useful context. To support this, I mapped already existing provision in order to move forward with implementation - working with the Department of Work and Justice to collate a broad view.

A key part of my internship with this team has been getting out into the community and involving myself with different groups and events. My team have encouraged this as this is a key part in what they do. I have visited many areas of West Suffolk I did not even previously know existed and got involved. Such projects include a street art event in Newmarket, boarding Suffolk Mobile Libraries, and getting involved in different community groups such as Meet Up Monday’s and Peer Support.

I have also been lucky to work with external organisations on tasks and projects. This has included working with the Department of Work and Pensions to map work-related support for those living with mental health and muscular-skeletal issues. I have also worked with the Adult Care Team at Suffolk County Council and the Housing and Homeless team from within West Suffolk Council on a research project regarding the potential for ‘Shared Lives’ in our area. This has given me an insight into different groups within local and national governance and their role within individuals lives.

Additionally to my work with my department the Interns collaborated on a project to address the skills gap within West Suffolk. With my focus to be on community outreach, so ensuring that ‘softer skills’ were addressed. In 10 weeks we hosted two events, created a flyer and leaflet. We also attended seven markets and joined the Suffolk Mobile Library to ensure we covered the majority of West Suffolk. Not only did we promote our own event we wanted to get information on the skills provision/need within West Suffolk to feed forward for future use.

The internship has been a really good insight into the workings of local government at district level, making me realise the extent to which local government are involved with varying aspects of individual’s lives. It has been an intense and challenging few weeks but I have thoroughly enjoyed it – making me possibly consider a career in local government after graduation."