Helping halow: My Work Experience

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    Last week we welcomed our lovely Work Experience student Lara to the halow office. Read on to find out what she got up to, what she learned and her thoughts on what we do at halow!

    Work experience can be daunting. Such a task, however, was made easy and enjoyable when I decided to spend my week with halow, an amazing charity that support young people with learning disabilities. I have always been interested in charity work and therefore was excited to be given the opportunity to experience the invaluable ‘behind the scenes’ work and support that halow provide. My week involved learning all about halow, helping out with paperwork and of course meeting the young people that everyone at halow works tirelessly to support.

    On my first day I was introduced to the fundraising team and gained a further understanding of the journey that halow young people undergo. Ann, Head of Fundraising and Communications, kindly spent time explaining the stages of this journey, which includes services such as ‘Social Activities’ and ‘A Reason To Get Up’. Whilst learning more about the charity, I also created a Tea and Coffee List, depicting everyone’s drink preferences, a simple task that allowed me to introduce myself and meet everyone in the halow office.

    A large part of the experience was to gain an insight into the world of fundraising and the inevitable paperwork involved. In order to do this, I helped file and organise donations received from recent halow fundraisers, including the famous halow250, noting the date and amount donated. In addition I created a file using Microsoft Excel to record fundraising activity, an important asset for future reference.

    Whilst I enjoyed my time in the halow office, it was also valuable to get out and about in Guildford’s town centre to raise awareness regarding the charity’s local profile. In order to achieve this I undertook the task of delivering leaflets and flyers, promoting halow, to local coffee shops. I did this with Sarah, a halow young person, and enjoyed chatting and learning about her halow experience. Overall the mission of getting halow noticed was a success, with over ten local organisations, including Café Nero and Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, accepting and displaying halow promotional leaflets.

    By far my favourite experience was the time I spent at Crafty Creations, an activity that runs as part of the service ‘A Reason To Get Up’. Here I met many halow young people and had a great time talking, getting to know everyone and making various pieces of artwork, including greeting cards.

    I have gained much from my week with halow that I am able to take away with me. Firstly I have learnt that I have the confidence to meet new people and have recognised that interaction with young people is a significant factor to look for in any future employment opportunities. Additionally I have understood the importance of having an underlying worthwhile cause which, at halow, gives everyone their motivation. Lastly my preconceptions concerning how a charity is run have altered, as I now realise the enormity of planning and preparations needed prior to any fundraising event. More importantly, however, I have gained a greater understanding of learning disabilities, the challenges that those affected face and the consequential importance of organisations like halow.

    Overall I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working at halow and would like to thank everyone who has made my experience here so brilliant. I have learnt a lot about the incredible services provided and have seen for myself the confidence and independence halow has given its young people. As a result, I would encourage anyone thinking about volunteering to do so.  It is a wonderful experience that I guarantee you will not forget in a hurry.

    By Lara Robertson