We are lucky at Suzy Lamplugh Trust to be supported by a number of excellent volunteers. This post comes directly from one of our volunteers, Alex, who has been supporting our Policy and Development team for the past 3 months.

"Over the past three months I have had a wonderful experience volunteering with the Suzy Lamplugh Trust. It feels strange using the word ‘volunteering’ as if I have been doing a selfless act, when in reality I have definitely benefited more from this than the Trust has from having me. I applied for a Policy and Development Internship with them after completing a three month placement with an NGO in rural India, working on women’s health. My aim was to improve my knowledge of the third sector in the UK, as well as gain a more in-depth knowledge of how to influence change at a policy level.

On my first day at the charity I was nervous and was not sure what to expect after hearing horror stories from friends about their experiences of volunteering. Would I be doing filing for 7 hours straight? Would I be the office tea maker? What if the office was unwelcoming? Victoria, one of the people I have been working for, immediately took away these fears by having a meeting with me to discuss what I was hoping to achieve, and what her expectations were from me. I realised then that this was going to be a great experience.

The most enjoyable aspect of volunteering for the Trust has been how interesting I find the work. Whether I have been compiling lists of contact information, or writing up policy briefings, I have always felt the projects I have been contributing to incredibly worthwhile and motivating.

Whilst volunteering I have gained a huge amount of knowledge of the language used in policy, through writing up policy briefings, meeting minutes and formal emails to government and police officials. I have also carried out a wide amount of research around future training programmes for the charity to run and used this information to draft innovative project proposals. One of the most fulfilling parts of this internship was representing the charity during a Select Committee meeting in the House of Commons. I represented the side of the charity that supports victims of stalking, and spoke about the improvements I thought were necessary within the criminal justice system to improve victim support. The most exciting part of that experience was realising how much trust my team had in me, and feeling like more than just a ‘volunteer’.

Looking back on my internship, I feel I have contributed to valuable work which aims to improve victim support within the criminal justice system with regards to stalking. I also believe I have helped to contribute to important work that improves the personal safety of people across the UK. Personally, I have gained a huge amount of knowledge, experience and confidence. I now understand much better the timescale and how much hard work it takes for policy change to come about. I feel motivated to pursue a career in the Third Sector and to continue developing the skills that I have gained whilst volunteering at Suzy Lamplugh Trust. If you are considering volunteering for Suzy Lamplugh Trust, I would really recommend the experience."

By Alex Hudson - Policy and Projects Volunteer