A summer internship with Moving On Durham turned out to be an eye-opening and inspirational experience for Dana. Here, she writes in her own words about the impact the eight-week placement had on her.
During the course of this summer, I had the opportunity to complete an eight-week internship with Moving On Durham. As this chapter comes to an end, I can only say that it was a life-changing experience that taught me more than I can ever imagine, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Moving On is a charitable organisation dedicated to helping young people and marginalised groups in County Durham who are experiencing housing insecurity; with a mission of providing a ‘safe home and a fresh start’. By means of transitional accommodation, personalised guidance, and fostering skill development (including but not limited to budgeting, relationship building and finding their role in society), Moving On works to break the cycle of youth homelessness.
As an intern, I was able to shadow the three main departments of the organisation – Central Services, Housing, and the Support Team. Working with Central Services taught me how much hard work goes into running the organisation to constantly young people in need. Central Services includes everything from development, finance, grant applications, administration, and marketing – the team that holds down the fort.
Shadowing the housing team was a totally different experience. The housing team are responsible for maintaining relationships with landlords by conserving the conditions of the houses, as well as constantly searching for other houses Moving On could rent for prospective young people. Given there are over 150 properties to manage, I have learned that the job is not always easy, but working with this team is.
One-to-one support to help young people reach their goals
Finally, working with the support team was by far the most eye-opening experience. The support team are responsible for providing one-to-one support and helping young people reach their goals, whether that is to get into education, break a toxic cycle, improve their mental health, find a job, or anything else.
The young people Moving On support come from various backgrounds, and have become homeless for multiple reasons.
I have learned that these young people want to do better, but they simply have not been given the same opportunities as other people their age.
They look to their support worker as a trusted friend, and can rely on their advice and guidance regarding any situation they wish to share. I have also learned that because of young people’s backgrounds, they may not have the trust or reassurance other people may have. It is up to the support worker to create a trusted relationship even if this young person may seem ‘troubled’.
Seeing and hearing first-hand the struggles that so many young people have to go through on a daily basis was an experience incomparable to one I have ever had before. I have learned that what Moving On is so amazingly unique, with not only providing young people with a stable place to live, but also giving our young people the opportunity to build all of their skills – a complete fresh start. This focus on holistic wellbeing gives our young people a far better chance of sustaining their own tenancies in the future, setting what Moving On does apart from the crowd.
After almost two months at Moving On, I can proudly say that there is no other place like this charity. All the staff are determined and motivated to do better for their community. They are kind, caring, positive, open-minded, selfless, and go above and beyond for our young people. This experience is one that I will never forget.