I am Essie, a Social Policy Undergraduate student from The University of Salford. For my third year at university I am required to take part in a community placement. I decided to complete this over summer to allow me to dedicate my full time to the placement.

I saw a job advert on my university website for a Communications Intern at Emmaus Salford. I was aware partially that this was a homeless charity and I jumped at the chance to apply as the prospect to gain work experience in communications and be able to mix this with experience for my university course was an amazing opportunity for me to prove myself professionally and academically.

During my time at Emmaus Salford I found myself able to immerse myself within the community and got know the companions, employees, volunteers and others taking part in placement as well as the parrots! I have contributed to the profile raising on social media channels and particularly Instagram by completing tasks such as taking photos and videos to create content on the pages. Here I found myself starting to become a part of the welcoming community and think Emmaus has allowed me to develop a variety of skills, from how to use Instagram effectively to how to stack shelves and I even discovered that I am a parrot person!

Upon joining Emmaus Salford I found out the founder, Abbe Pierre, set up the very first Emmaus in Paris. Soon after my second week in Emmaus by chance I took a family holiday to Paris. This was the perfect opportunity for me to take some pictures promoting Emmaus Salford next to the Eiffel tower!

I have had to overcome some challenges during my time. Professionally I struggled to gain consent for photos as a few people were not too keen. Academically I got to apply in practice some things I have learned from my studies. Personally I struggled with the demand of users within Lucie’s Pantry as I believe that food and general hygiene should be a basic human right and to view first-hand the social policy shortcomings in practice was really difficult for me. Although I found the good in the bad and this made me realise how helpful and needed Emmaus Salford is not only to companions but also the wider community.

I have loved every second of my internship at Emmaus. The charity has really allowed me to grow on many different levels. I have gained a further understanding of not only homelessness but also how poverty and Universal Credit can affect a person’s life majorly. At the end of my internship, I plan on continuing with Emmaus by volunteering once a week as the people I have met and the experience I have gained has been invaluable.

This is an amazing charity to get on board with and I would highly recommend Emmaus Salford to anyone looking for a placement or volunteer work who wants hands-on experience and a true insight into everything that contributes to making a homeless chairty run in working order!