My name is Caroline and this summer I joined the SWLEN team as the Communications Intern! I am a rising fourth year student at the University of Virginia. Coincidentally it is not too far from Richmond Virginia, in the States, so it was fitting that I worked in the London Borough of Richmond.
I arrived amidst preparation for the 2019 Get on Board Litter Pick. On my first day about 200 litter pickers were delivered to the office! I attended the event and was impressed with the community’s involvement (and the scrumptious burger at the closing celebration). My expectations for this intership were set high after the excitement of this first week.
These expectations continued to be met as I was assigned tasks that had meaning and were fun to complete. This included creating meaninful content, both written and visual, which I scheduled the charity’s various social media accounts. Much of it centered around promoting other environmental events in South West London, such as conservation, community gardening and nature walks and talks, all hosted by local Friends of Parks Groups and volunteers.
I got to experience some of these events firsthand, as we attended one of the volunteering sessions with The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) and the Friends of the River Crane Environment FORCE. This involved a lovely bike ride to Little Park (in Crane Park betwwen Richmond and Hounslow), where we interviewed and filmed in preparation for London’s National Park City Festival (which was also pretty cool to be here for).
I also got to see not one, but two crowdfunding capaigns successfully completed during my time here. It was so exciting to see the rewarding outcome of these projects, after seeing all of the thought and time put into them over the weeks. The first one, ‘Batting for Bats’, showed the importance of collaborating with other groups, thanks to the goal-meeting donation from London Bat Group and the Friends of Carlisle Park. The other project, ‘Let’s Restore Moor Mead Pavilion’, showed me the importance of community involvement, and how dedicated they could be to a cause they were passionate about. Both projects exceeded their goal, which was astounding to me!
Overall, it has been a rewarding experience that has taught me about the non-profit world, and the dedicated people I worked with. I am extremely grateful for the opportunities this summer gave me and know that they will be quintessential to my future path.
Many thanks to all at SWLEN,