Student life is "hands-on" at Equinox Lewisham

Posted by on 6 June 2012 | 0 Comments

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Marian Karvonen is studying an MA in Social Work at Goldsmiths University. From November 2011 to May 2012, Marian was on placement with Equinox Lewisham. In this article, she reflects on her experience...

“I’m one of a group of seventeen students from Goldsmiths and Southbank University who were with Equinox Lewisham, working across the service. I was working at the New Cross office." (Marian is pictured here, right, with fellow students Larry and Lumbi).

Equinox Lewisham - university students from Goldsmiths and Southbank University

“Equinox has a really great student culture," Marian says. "Staff encourage students to raise ideas and discuss issues. The managers at the New Cross project are really willing to try out our ideas – it’s a very hands-on experience. For this reason, students say that being placed at Equinox is immensely gratifying work.

“I had an on-site mentor, Simon, whom I had weekly supervision with throughout my placement. This supported me with client keywork sessions. As it’s a completely person-centred approach at Equinox, I used many communication styles with service users. I spoke regularly with GPs, care coordinators, police and family members.

“I’ve also been on a weekly office duty shift, where I organised work for the day and allocated staff members to specific tasks. I made sure written records were all completed and I greeted visitors to the office. And on daily rounds, I checked that all service users were doing well and that the medical records were in order.”

Putting service users first...

“As students at Equinox Lewisham, we have all learnt to put service users at the heart of what we do. For example, I formulated with another student Larry a service user satisfaction survey to identify what was going well and where we could improve our services. All the students have learnt new ways to capture the voices of the service users and put them at the centre of the planning process.

“I was also given the opportunity to facilitate an art workshop with another student Aimee.

Equinox Lewisham university students

"Each workshop was tailored to the individuals taking part and we now have a piece of art displayed in the office at New Cross.”

Equinox Lewisham - service user artwork

An empowering experience...

“Being on placement at Equinox Lewisham has made me think about working with service users with mental ill health – I’m now applying for work within the forensic mental health field.

“It’s been such a benefit for us students to draw on staff experience at Equinox Lewisham – you always feel there is expert guidance on hand and support. It’s a really relaxed but hardworking atmosphere – and because the team there start out by trusting us, all the students found the experience very empowering.”

Contact Equinox Lewisham for more about student placement opportunities.

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