[Meet the Team] Placement Student’s time with Why me?

Published: Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

Lizzie is a second year Sociology and Criminology student from the University of Portsmouth. She came with some academic understanding about Restorative Justice, but was keen to learn more about how the process worked in practice. Read on to hear more about her time at Why me?

Being part of a small but mighty team has allowed me to take on real responsibilities and provide input in various areas of the organisation

Since starting my internship in July 2016 I have had several opportunities to observe and contribute to a whole range of events and campaigns with Why me? Being part of a small but mighty team has allowed me to take on real responsibilities and provide input in various areas of the organisation.

As a Sociology & Criminology student I found working in a Restorative Justice organisation has only enhanced what I had studied in my first two years of University. I also had the opportunity to meet participants involved in the process, many of whom describe the experience as ‘life changing’. I have especially enjoyed meeting practitioners from across the criminal justice sector at various workshops, such as the Observer Programme workshop in July and January’s 15 year anniversary event at the Clifford Chance offices in Canary Wharf. Both events were fascinating and I am consistently impressed by the team’s commitment to raising awareness and building networks across the country and Restorative Justice sector.

A day in the life of a placement student

No day is ever the same at Why me? Since I have been involved, I have worked on several projects along the way. These have been an excellent way to develop a wide range of skills, from co-planning a workshop and drinks reception to database management for our Service. These responsibilities have allowed me to grow in my organisational skills and professionalism, and I recognise I can work confidently under pressure. This was also a brilliant chance to network with contacts from both the Restorative Justice world and beyond.

In supporting the campaigns and policy side of the organisation I carried out varied tasks including assisting in the promotion of Valuing Victims National Survey and analysing responses.  This work has given me an insight into how to run a campaign from start to finish and the different elements that ensure its success. Social media has been especially relevant in my time with Why me? as I have put together promotional images for twitter as well as writing a newsletter for our external contacts.

Opportunities to train as an Restorative Justice Facilitator

I have had many brilliant opportunities to further my training and development at Why me?, namely completing the three-day training to become a Restorative Justice facilitator. Most recently this has allowed me to carry out some restorative work at HMP Wandsworth with one of our experienced facilitators. Visiting any prison is always a strange experience but I have found it to be incredibly useful in preparing my final year.  As facilitators we receive group supervision at our regular Restorative Justice Forums. This is to promote best practice and allow for casework discussion and these have been fascinating for me to understand the workings of our cases.

Working with Why me? has given me the chance to work independently and confidently in a range of areas, and I have felt supported by a friendly and encouraging team throughout. Regular reviews have given me the chance to give and receive feedback about my time with Why me? and have allowed  me to tailor my time to suit some of my interests.

I finish my placement at the end of April and over the summer I will spend 3 months in South East Asia but I plan to continue to support Why me? as a Restorative Justice Facilitator during my final year of university.

I have had a brilliant and worthwhile time here on my placement year and would recommend volunteering or doing a student placement with Why me? to anyone interested in Restorative Justice.  🙂

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