Lauren Codling

How an intern supports the growth of social enterprise – Woodhub

Lauren left school in 2011 with an impressive collection of GCSEs. She was a Blackpool Elite Gymnast and coached other young gymnasts for many years. She worked in retail and leisure, as well as volunteering for Blackpool Carers Centre – now Carers Trust Fylde Coast – before taking a paid role in the charity in 2014 supporting young carers, fundraising, and working in schools and colleges to raise awareness.

Lauren completed her Time to Shine internship at The Woodhub, which is a newly-established social enterprise aiming to provide meaningful employment to serving offenders and those within the community who find themselves socially isolated, disadvantaged and subject to stigma, prejudice or judgement. It is a place where those wishing to make positive changes in their lives are welcomed.

As a new project, set up by Carers Trust Fylde Coast, Woodhub knew that the organisation needed a young person with enthusiasm, initiative, passion and resilience to support the Programme Manager in setting up the enterprise as a successful business. As intern, Lauren Codling’s role focused on raising the profile of the Woodhub and supporting the coordination of promotional events; working to identify new sources of income; recruiting, inducting and training volunteers, and undertaking a wide and varied range of administrative duties, including Human Resources support, daily banking and petty cash management.

In her December report, Lauren reports on her learning and development over the 12 months, noting that:

“Raising awareness of the Woodhub increased my confidence and allowed me to feel more at ease when talking to businesses and important funders”.

She defines her intern experience as “priceless”, helping her to learn more about how she wants to work in the future. Lauren has networked with “fantastic people including, most recently, Young Carers Development Trust” who have asked her to advise them in future.

The other interns have been “a life line at times of struggle” and the Action Learning set – available to interns for the first time in 2015 – has: “… given me many skills that have helped me in my personal and professional life to listen more effectively and assist decisions through questioning.”

In an email to the Action Learning set facilitator, Clair Ferguson of LYST, Lauren elaborated on the difference Action Learning has made to her and her work:

“The set itself has worked really well for me and has given me lots of skills that I now use on a daily basis during my line of work when speaking to young people about their issues and allowing them to come to conclusions through the guidance of action learning set. It has given me the peace of mind I needed throughout this internship and a time to express my true feelings in a safe and comfortable environment.”

In reviewing the year, Nigel McMurdo confirms the impact Lauren has had on the organisation, in terms developing the HR function, creating a social media presence and an eBay shop. He notes that she “has developed her confidence throughout the duration of the internship”.
At the end of the internship, Lauren will take up a role as Partnership Development Co-ordinator at the Carers Centre.