Here at the Marmalade Trust, we had the pleasure of Karen joining us for her Occupational Therapy placement as part of her university course. Here's what she had to say about her placement with us...
1. Tell us a bit about you and what it is like to be an Occupational Therapy student?
My name is Karen, and I am a final year University of Coventry Occupational Therapy Apprentice student. I work full-time for South Gloucestershire Council in Adult Social Care, attending university one day a week. I have worked in health and social care as a therapy assistant for over 20 years and never dreamed I would be able to gain my degree; however with the support of my family, colleagues and work it has become a reality. I love working in Occupational Therapy as I get to work with a variety of people in the community, supporting them to participate in meaningful activities, increase independence and empower people to participate in their communities. 2. What did you do during your placement at Marmalade Trust?
I have been closely working with the Marmalade Team on their upcoming Christmas Cheer and Marmalade Companions projects. I have been promoting Marmalade Trust's services through networking with individuals and organisations, encouraging people to talk about loneliness, supporting with new member (service user) referrals and recruiting volunteers to support Marmalade Trust's work. I have even helped facilitate a photoshoot and interview members to create case studies to help share individual's stories and the impact of Marmalade Trust's work.
I have also been speaking with members over the phone who would like to join the Christmas Cheer and Marmalade Companions projects. This has meant listening to their diverse and unique experiences, gaining a deeper understanding of loneliness and the impact on health and wellbeing. By collaboratively working with members and the team, I have been able to create a triage system which considers the needs of members and volunteers to fully participate and engage with the projects and ultimately (for Christmas Cheer) have a great Christmas Day! 3. Why did you choose the Marmalade Trust for your placement?
During my career and degree training I have worked in a number of large health and social care organisations. I wanted my final placement to be unique and to see the Occupational Therapy role from a different perspective in a smaller team. I therefore requested a contemporary / role emerging placement (environment where Occupational Therapy does not traditionally sit).
I have also always enjoyed supporting charitable organisations by raising awareness, volunteering and fundraising. My Occupational Therapy colleagues had told me about the inspiring work of the Marmalade Trust by connecting people in the local community and increasing health and wellbeing through their projects. I not only wanted to learn more, but also wanted to see if my knowledge and skills could help support the charity further and look at further ways to enhance the sustainability of the service. 4. What did you enjoy most?
I loved being able to spend time with members, listen to their story and learn about the importance of recognising loneliness and how it can be addressed by connecting people in their local communities.