Involving young people in shaping practice is a key principle of Young Devon. Our team is currently working with Alice Palmer, a second-year University student from Bristol, on a new project; to evolve Young Devon into a trauma-informed charity organisation. Read Alice’s blog below, to find out how the project is going so far…

Hi there! I am Alice Palmer, a second-year politics and international relations (BSc) student at the University of Bristol. For my SME (Small/Medium Enterprise) internship, I am delighted that I approached Young Devon, a top 10 UK charity in 2021.

Young Devon’s mission is to make Devon a better place for all young people; something they have been doing for over 70 years. Young Devon’s staff support young people across Devon with their Skills, Wellbeing, Accommodation and Voice services; helping over 2,000 young people every year. One of the main reasons I chose to approach Young Devon is because of the impact their work has; working with the organisation has only exemplified this for me.

Throughout the organisation, the care for their young people and staff is predominant. This is clearly seen in the research project I was asked to begin, which establishes what it means to be a trauma-informed organisation. Young Devon want to become a trauma-informed charity to ensure that they are better placed to deliver work to young people and support to staff in ways that recognises the impact that trauma can have on development and how we respond to different situations. The ultimate aim of the project is to see what a ‘trauma-informed Young Devon’ would look like, in order to create a framework and set of principles which governs how they work with young people and look after staff at the same time.

As a student researcher, my main role has been to conduct a series of interviews to establish a baseline as to where Young Devon currently is as a trauma-informed organisation. I have also been speaking to other trauma-informed organisations, and reviewing Karen Treisman’s literature. I will then be running a couple of workshops with Andrew Moreman (Chief Executive of Young Devon) to create the core principles and the first steps to take to embed this practice across all teams.

Whilst conducting the interviews with staff (in Young Devon’s Central Office) their love of the work they do for the charity really comes through in their passion for their role, as well as their core principle of building relationships with the young people. My interviews also enabled me to capture knowledge and views that already exist, to establish a sense of their current practice. I have also been given a good taster of a workplace environment, and being part of a team which I know will be invaluable for any future employment.

For anyone worried about sourcing their own internship, I would say just do it! The amount of experience I have gained is invaluable, particularly working alongside an experienced workforce which is continuing their important work throughout the pandemic. I am sure a lot of companies would be pleased to have students to help them carry out short-term intensive work.

I am so privileged to be able to be conducting this exciting research project and I cannot recommend working with Young Devon, or sourcing an SME internship, enough!

Author: Alice

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