At ICANN, we work alongside local universities such as UCLAN and Edge Hill to facilitate various placements for students to spend time learning about the charity sector and the support we offer to people. As well as medical students, who come to learn more about the benefits system and health assessment process so they can help their future patients, we also work with students reading criminology, psychology, sociology, and related subjects.
As part of her degree in Social Work, Sarah came to spend 14 weeks at ICANN, working as an advocate to support people applying for PIP/ ESA, as well as participating in our befriending project.
Here’s what she had to say about her time here:
“I am a second year Social Work student from UCLAN, and was placed at ICANN for my 70 day placement. Before my placement I had very little knowledge of the benefits system in the UK and the role an advocate can have in the processes.
At ICANN I have learnt about the important role advocates have in supporting, listening to and empowering people to have a voice to make decisions in their own lives.
The team at ICANN are knowledgeable, supportive and eager to help me improve my professional confidence. Support and advice has been available throughout from all the staff. Everyone works collaboratively to help those who are vulnerable. These individuals often feel powerless in a system that should be working towards helping them. I have had weekly supervisions with my on-site supervisor, who has helped me to reflect on my practice to develop my knowledge and skills.
My caseload has varied from form-filling to assessments and tribunals. I’ve worked with a variety of people with physical and/or mental health problems, and training from ICANN helped me to support my clients through the process of applying for benefits, building relationships based on respect, trust and openness. This has enabled me to support my clients to get the outcomes they have wanted or to take the next steps to achieving their desired results. My role also included befriending, where I called or visited someone once a week with the aim of them feeling less isolated and getting back out into the community, which I will continue do as a volunteer after my placement.
Overall I have loved working at ICANN, it is such an underrated service that more people in Lancashire need to know about.”