Hi, I’m Abbigail, a final year Digital Business student studying at the University of Salford. Throughout my time at Salford, I have had a group project to focus on each year, however in my final year, it is a solo project. The thought was daunting at first but once I got my placement with Emmaus Salford and had a solid plan, I was confident I would be able to do it.

The opportunity to work with Emmaus Salford came about when one of my lecturers, Alex, posted on Microsoft Teams about potential project ideas and that included Emmaus. I was considering taking a SEO placement with Emmaus Salford, however since after university I want to focus more on social media analysis side of things as that’s what I’m most passionate about, I decided the social media placement with Emmaus Salford would be a better fit.

Placement planning

After speaking to Alex about working with Emmaus, we had a call with Andy, the communications officer for Emmaus Salford and I learned more about Emmaus and what they do. This first initial call with Andy was reassuring and very informative. This is where we decided that I could take over the Emmaus Salford Instagram page for four weeks and experience myself what it takes to run a public Instagram account. My aim was to try to gain more traction to their website via social media and get people involved with Emmaus Salford, and attempt to raise awareness of the issue of homelessness in Salford.

Meeting the team

During the four weeks I had access to the Instagram account I learned so much about Emmaus and what they do day to day to help the Emmaus companions, members of Lucie’s Pantry and how the support of the local community really does help the charity. As I did my placement during a national lockdown, the shop was not open so I was limited with what content I could post, however I still has the chance to visit, and it was great getting to meet the companions and see first-hand how Emmaus has helped them. It was also great seeing the amazing things Lucie’s Pantry is doing, as even in lockdown they are still fully stocked and providing families with food.

Emmaus is a great organisation that I was grateful I was a part of, even if it was for such a small amount of time. Hearing stories from companions at Emmaus Salford, for example Keith has been heartwarming, I had the pleasure to post about how Emmaus has changed his life on the Instagram page and got a lot of positive reactions from followers about that post.

Overcoming challenges

The main challenges for this placement were the obvious, lockdown. Not being able to make the most of my experience at Emmaus by going to the shop to volunteer a couple times a week, allowing me to get content for the Instagram page has affected my project, but everyone is in the same boat, and I’ve learnt to adapt to these challenges. Whilst I have loved being involved with this project, I have also struggled with the reality of the extent of homelessness as I was not aware before I started this project, as well as the number of families that are relying on food banks and operations such as Lucie’s Pantry to be able to have food on the table. I am going to make more efforts to raise awareness of this on my personal profiles as well as try my hardest to donate more to these organisations. I am grateful for this opportunity with Emmaus for making me more aware of this.

Thank you for the opportunity

I’m incredibly appreciative of the opportunity Emmaus has given me by allowing me to do a social media placement with them, the insight and experience has been invaluable, and I’ve enjoyed every second of it. The people I have been in touch with from Emmaus have supported me so much during this time by always being ready to talk via email, messages or video call, if need be, they are a group of people who I would happily work with for longer. If you ever get the opportunity to do a placement with Emmaus Salford I would recommend getting involved as I have learned loads about managing social media channels from the team but also about homelessness in Salford and which organisations are making movements in Greater Manchester to help support this cause. Emmaus Salford truly is an amazing community to be a part of!