Katharine Baxter at her desk

The University of Bristol’s Covid-19 SME Internship Scheme

Kat shares her experience of working as our Fundraising and Communications Intern During Lockdown

This blog post was originally published by the University of Bristol Careers Service and has been reproduced with permission. Kat Baxter, who is currently our Volunteer Social Media Officer, spent much of lockdown working as an intern at The Harbour.

I spent lockdown working as a Fundraising and Communications Intern for The Harbour, a local charity providing free counselling for people facing death, dying and bereavement in Bristol.

This year, the University of Bristol offered students the chance to apply for internships with local Bristol SMEs that were responding to challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Across the last three months I have been privileged to work for The Harbour, a local charity that provides free counselling services for people facing death, dying and bereavement relating to life-threatening illnesses in Bristol.

The Harbour has over twenty years’ experience providing in-person counselling at their home on Frogmore Street. When it became evident that in person services could not continue in March, the team at The Harbour worked hard to develop a remote counselling service, on Zoom and via the telephone. Once this was in place, the charity felt that there was a need to spend time thinking about they could improve their online presence and external communications. 

Fundraising and Communications Internship

My role involved a number of different responsibilities for fundraising and communications:

  • Producing a range of copy to describe The Harbour’s services. This included a master document will be used for social media posts, press releases and the website.
  • Developing an extensive Communications Guide. This document examined The Harbour’s existing communications and outlined how The Harbour could develop communications to serve their organisational goals.
  • Meeting with the Digital Manager to discuss ways to improve the website. (User Experience/ Information Architecture)
  • Updating existing templates for client letters.
  • Writing blog posts for the website.
  • Managing The Harbour’s MailChimp account and producing templates for future newsletters.
  • Managing The Harbour’s social media accounts and scheduling posts for July, August and September.
The Harbour CEO Sam Thomas outside the office

Between the date of my graduation in 2017 and the start of my M.A. English at UoB in 2019 I have had my fair share of first days at work. In my experience, the best way to settle into a new workplace is to arrive early for your first day and offer to make tea or coffee for your colleagues! Due to lockdown restrictions, by first day at The Harbour was unfamiliar. Luckily for me, it began with a friendly face as I launched my Zoom call with The Harbour’s CEO Sam Thomas!

The team at The Harbour on a Zoom call. In this picture they are holding signs thanking donors for their support.

As it would not be possible to come in for a full induction, Sam emailed me a selection of useful documents to read so that I could familiarise myself with The Harbour’s purpose and approach. As I would not be able to meet the team in person, Sam suggested I should organise Zoom calls with a few members of the team, as well as attending fortnightly team meetings.

The internship was a great success! I am fortunate that I already had some experience of working remotely and that the team made huge efforts to make me feel welcome. Much of my time was spent working alone on projects. I gained valuable experience that has helped me understand when to take initiative and when to ask for support. The work I completed during my internship has provided a good foundation which The Harbour can use on an ongoing basis.