I am Riddhi and I have completed a 6 week placement with Birmingham Friends of the Earth. I first heard of the organisation at an employers event at my university, after hearing what the organisation was about, I was convinced that I wanted to carry out my final placement here. I loved what BFoE stood for and loved that they were committed to campaigning against important local and global environmental issues.

I completed most of my placement in the office, which is located past Moor Street Station in a wonderful building called the Warehouse. The Warehouse consists of many organisations, including the Warehouse Cafe and Brum Radio, which added to the family-like atmosphere that I noticed straight from the offset. With a warm welcome from everyone in the office, I instantly felt so comfortable on my first day and knew that the placement ahead was going to be a special one. I got a tour around the whole site, met all the tenants and explored the incredible community garden. I then proceeded to fill out a form that shaped the rest of my placement. I was so pleased that BFoE genuinely cared about what my passions were and what skills I wanted to develop during my time there – I really do feel like the placement was catered to me and the campaigns I really cared for, hence why I enjoyed every minute ‘working’ here.

From discussions within the office with fellow BFoE members, reading BFoE documents and articles, using new applications to conducting my own research – there wasn’t a single day that went by where I didn’t learn something new. One of the very first things I worked on was creating a leaflet to encourage people to write to their Councillor to end the Tyseley incinerator ‘lock in’ – when completing this task alone I learned: the impact incinerators have on the environment, the importance of lobbying for change, how to generate QR codes and how to use the design application Canva. I thoroughly enjoyed this whole process, so much so I asked to take part in the creation of their social media posts. By the end of the placement I created social media posts for: COP26, the Waste Isn’t Rubbish Campaign and eco-friendly Christmas ideas.

A few weeks in I got the opportunity to enhance and improve my written skills, when I got asked to rewrite a few campaign articles for the BFoE website. I felt honoured to be trusted with the task and overwhelmed by the positive feedback I got given after. Working for BFoE has given me a real boost in confidence, which I hope to take onto future work roles. I was given my dream assignment during my final weeks at BFoE: merging the topic of climate change to public health. I got the freedom to write anything I wanted about the topic when creating a blog post and leaflet on the public health impacts of climate change.

My time at BFoE has been the most incredible experience – I have met some amazing, inspiring people, learnt so much about important environmental issues and gained a range of new skills. I want to thank everyone at BFoE for the opportunity and a special thank you to Libby, who has been the most brilliant mentor and guided me from start to finish. I truly urge anyone who is thinking about volunteering to get involved – I promise you won’t regret it!