SPEAR win St Mary’s University award for our volunteer placements

SPEAR win St Mary’s University award for our volunteer placements

Heidi Shrimpton, Head of Fundraising at SPEAR collecting the award on behalf of SPEAR alongside St Mary’s Placement Provider – Maxine Edwards

SPEAR have been delighted to have multiple St Marys student placements at SPEAR over the last few years.  The large majority of these have been within the fundraising team, but placements have also happened in the Fresh Start team and will soon be happening in the Homeless Healthlink team too. 

These students have been a fantastic asset to SPEAR helping with events, client work, our website, comms – bringing ideas, energy, skills and enthusiasm.

It was wonderful for SPEAR to be recognised for hosting these students through gaining a ‘Outstanding Placement Provider Award’ from St Mary’s.  We thought we should share with you, the lovely review written by St Mary’s about SPEAR’s placements.

“I have worked in this placement role for two and a half years and when I came on board the University had already been working with SPEAR for some time.

As a charity with limited resources and a huge demand for its services, SPEAR is reliant on volunteers, but they are also incredibly generous in the time they give their volunteers, showing they really value their contribution to the charity’s work.

They have been flexible with what types of roles students undertake, always wanting to meet them and discuss their interests beforehand to make sure it is the right ‘fit’ for the student.

For example, recently a student went on placement there who was interested in the psychological aspects of homelessness, and whereas commonly our students volunteer in their fundraising team or on specific office-based projects, Julie, the Volunteer Coordinator made a special effort to accommodate this particular student in their Fresh Start team, so the student could work more towards their particular interests in Psychology.

Students have always enjoyed their time at SPEAR and found them to be fulfilling placements – I have never had any negative feedback from a student who has worked with Spear for their placement. In fact, students have often continued to volunteer with the charity beyond their placement, in their own time.

Joanna one of our valued volunteers took on many roles on her placement

A particular point to note is that SPEAR will always consider working with students with additional needs / disabilities. They are very understanding and put a lot of effort into providing positive experiences to all students, regardless of their level of ability or particular needs in the workplace.

It is a very open, inclusive organisation and feedback from students says they really feel valued when they volunteer there and feel like they are a part of the team. I always feel SPEAR is a provider I could call at the last minute if a student was suddenly left without a placement and they would almost certainly be able to accommodate them at short notice. 

They are very reliable and committed to placements and we have a great professional relationship which has been built up over the years.

SPEAR is a well-known local good cause and the organisation has also been involved with the University in other ways and in the past particular teams and societies have fundraised for the charity, so over the years SPEAR has built up a mutually beneficial partnership with St Mary’s and we are continuing to see positive outcomes for students off the back of that.”

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