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My time at Safe Ground as a Volunteer

I joined Safe Ground as a student volunteer in September 2019, in part fulfilment of my BSc Criminology degree. Now, two years and an undergraduate degree later, I’d like to share my experience as a volunteer, what I have enjoyed, contributed, as well as the impact that Safe Ground has left with me. 

My role at Safe Ground has been very wide-ranging as I wanted to experience various responsibilities within the organisation, covering contributions to marketing and communication, administration, programme development, fundraising, and strategic planning. This has included general office administration, making website updates, writing blog posts and monthly newsletters, using social media, data analysis, and alumni network development. I also had the opportunity to engage in events including The Longford Lecture, The Expert Citizens Insight Awards, The Price of Punishment hosted by Safe Ground, a Fathers Inside presentation at HMP Parc, and Safe Ground’s annual ‘Away Day’ Board meeting.  

I attended Safe Ground’s ‘Away Day’ in 2019, where all Board members and staff gather to talk about future planning and what has been achieved in the past year. Having only volunteered for two months at this point, it was a very eye-opening process; hearing more about how the charity operates as a business behind the scenes of the day-to-day tasks that I had started working on. This opportunity was part of the privilege of working within a small organisation and allowed me to understand how important future planning and vision is. Being a part of this process developed my ability to think strategically and go on to consider the bigger picture within every task – a skill that is crucial to my ongoing professional development.  

Another memorable experience has been my ongoing work developing the alumni network. Safe Ground’s alumni network consists of programme graduates who wish to stay actively involved with the organisation. To increase engagement, I curated a series of alumni journeys featured in the monthly newsletter to share the experiences of longstanding alumni members Richard, Jason, and Jon from joining the alumni network to becoming Trustees of Safe Ground. I enjoyed working with Richard through a series of telephone interviews, hearing him reflect on his experiences first-hand, transcribing this and working together to write a five-part series of his journey with Safe Ground. Jason and Jon were both confident to write about their experiences and share their reflections with me in this way.  

Aside from the work that has kept me engaged and continuously learning, I have really enjoyed working as a part of a small team. I remember the first few weeks feeling like months had passed as I had settled in so well and became comfortable within the office environment. As my role varied, I quickly got to know all the team by working with each of them for different tasks. Another part of the organisational culture that I enjoyed being a part of was the continuous reflective practice within the organisation. I had always been aware of what reflection was and how it could be used, but never consciously made an effort to reflect on my actions or things I had seen or read. By seeing this in everyday practice, I have come to understand the importance of reflection for continuous learning and development and will continue to use this tool in my professional and personal life.   

I’d like to thank everyone at Safe Ground for being so welcoming, supportive, and giving me endless opportunities. I have learnt a lot, grown professionally as well as personally, and will never forget my experience as a volunteer for Safe Ground.   

 

By Niki Pavitt

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