Richer for the experience – university placement’s final chapter

COVID-19 may have cut Charlotte’s placement short, it’ll certainly make it memorable but we were determined to end on a high note. During the start of 2020 Healthwatch Sheffield has been supporting Charlotte, a Sheffield Hallam University student.

You can read about her first few weeks here.

Although face to face celebrations were not possible on her last day virtual high 5’s and many thanks were given; Charlotte’s contribution to our priorities work was unparalleled. I asked Charlotte to round up her experiences to share with everyone in a final blog entry.


Burton Street Foundation – Eye Health Awareness Event

It has gotten hard to count my favourite days at Healthwatch on one hand. The eye health awareness event that myself and Sarah attended was such an insightful experience. The room was filled with individuals keen to learn about how to keep healthy, it was obviously something really important to them.

On our stall we got the opportunity to ask everyone to take part in an activity which involved them answering three questions: What do you love? What worries you? And what would you like to see in the future? For me, the most amazing part was hearing about what everyone loved and cherished in their lives, from family to singing to Disney movies!

Being involved in these events really opens your eyes to the challenges faced by vulnerable people every single day and how more fortunate people take these small things for granted. Overall, the experience for me was something that I will remember for a very long time.

Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind

There’ll always be days where people don’t want to talk to you or fill out any survey or questionnaire that you’re offering and that can be quite demotivating. But all of that is forgotten when you luck out on a day like this one.

Unfortunately, fewer people have had the opportunity to learn about Healthwatch Sheffield than we’d like. That makes trips like this seem even more important, we gave a room full of people the opportunity to speak up about what’s important to them, a voice that I don’t think they’d really been given before. My favourite part was the eagerness that was bouncing off people and the, almost, excitedness people felt to finally be heard by someone.

We received such invaluable feedback and it’s days like this one that really help you keep up morale and feel like you’re making a difference.

ZEST Centre

You only need to take one step through the door of this place to get a sense of the community that lives within. People don’t just go there to use to pool or eat at the cafe, they go there because there’s the security of belonging and inclusivity.

In my opinion, places like Zest are invaluable to Sheffield. Getting the opportunity to visit the centre and talk to the people passing through was something I’m really grateful for. Not only did I get to meet such a diverse set of people, but I genuinely felt like we were helping them in a way that was important, which is exactly why I love working with Healthwatch.

My time at Healthwatch Sheffield overall

It’s hard to sum up this placement in just a few words. I know most students just want to tick off work placement as one of their many university requirements, but Healthwatch Sheffield provides you with so much more than the 60 credits you need to pass your year. This work placement has gifted me with skills I never thought I was capable of developing. Not only did I work with an amazing team everyday, but I got to meet so many new faces from all over the world – an opportunity I know that I’m lucky to have been given. I feel happy to be walking away from Healthwatch Sheffield with an increased sense of confidence in my own abilities and an invaluable sense of productivity. Healthwatch Sheffield is worth the hours you give, I promise you that. I would recommend this volunteer opportunity to anyone, I know that I’ll be back whenever they need me.

Want to volunteer?

If Charlotte's experiences have inspired you, contact us:

0114 253 6688

Interested in volunteering?

Becoming a volunteer is easy. Get in touch to find out about volunteering opportunities with us.

Find out more