Friday, 24 April 2015

Pamela McGlone, Student Placement with Healthy Valleys

Hi I'm Pamela and I am a student at South Lanarkshire College doing my SVQ 3 Social Services and Healthcare placement with Healthy Valleys. Although I had heard of Healthy Valleys I didn't know the extent of the work they did until I started my placement with them and can I tell you – THEY DO LOADS!!!!

I was very apprehensive about starting my placement – who doesn't find something new daunting?!? – but it turns out the staff are actually a friendly bunch who quickly put me at ease. I can’t thank them enough for all the questions they have answered and the help they have given to me. But it’s not just the staff – the volunteers and service users play a major role in the work Healthy Valleys does and like the staff team they have been very welcoming. I look back now and wonder why I was so nervous in the first place.

Although I have been able to experience a lot of the different activities and courses that Health Valleys have to offer I have to say that the Rural Café based in Lanark has been my favourite. It was set up from funding received from the Tackling Poverty Fund and its aim is to provide a hot meal every week to adults/families who are struggling financially. Those who attend the café do so by referral and receive a warm welcome from staff/volunteers along with a lovely bowl of soup and another to take home. It is a safe and confidential place where people can share their hopes or worries or simply just come and sit without saying anything. It allows service users the opportunity to gain information which may be of benefit to them and to be signed posted to other agencies that can offer help and support. Those attending the café have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and say that it gives them something to look forward to as well as ensuring they always have a hot meal. I think the reason I have enjoyed it so much is firstly because it turns out that I actually quite like cooking (although still can’t follow a recipe) but mainly because I have had the opportunity to meet and build relationships with some lovely people from different backgrounds in different situations and watch them grow as the weeks have gone by.

Healthy Valleys is a great organisation doing fantastic work for the rural communities. It has an outstanding team of staff and volunteers and I am grateful to each and every one of them for their guidance and support since I started my placement.

Keep up the excellent work everyone as it is making a difference to people’s lives J

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