October 6, 2014, by Jacqui Storey
Our guest blog is written by Tamsin Stanger who is a 3rd year Nutritional Biochemistry student based at the Sutton Bonington Campus. Tamsin took part in a Nottingham Advantage Award Module, Communicating Nutrition, in the Spring of 2014. The module is jointly run by Community Partnerships and the Careers & Employability Service and involved Tamsin working in a team with two other students. They supported Pulp Friction, a local charity that works with young adults (members) with learning disabilities with the aim of helping members develop employability skills. The students worked for around half a day a week over two months looking at how Pulp Friction could extend their range of healthy food and drinks which they sell at events and festivals, raising funds to continue the work of the charity. Tamsin tells us her reasons for taking part in the project and what she got out of the experience.
I applied for the Communicating Nutrition project to gain a deeper understanding of the role of nutrition in the community and to apply my knowledge to these settings. I also wanted to improve my communication skills, not only to large audiences but also to Pulp Friction members. I wanted to contribute to the improvement of nutrition-based issues in the community and utilise my skills to help Pulp Friction diversify its menu. Working on the project was very enjoyable as I gained valuable insight into a charity and developed my passion for community nutrition. I enjoyed developing recipes to suit the needs of the members and equipment available to make the products. It was also a good opportunity to get to know students from other years who I would never have otherwise met. It has been incredibly rewarding and humbling to be involved with a charity that changes the lives of young adults.
At times I found it challenging working in a team where we had differing approaches to our work and to fulfilling the project brief. Balancing course commitments, placement applications and extra-curricula roles with the project was very demanding and became overwhelming at times but with applying myself to managing my time and asking for help, the brief was met and Pulp Friction were happy with the outcome. Since finishing the project I have continued to volunteer with Pulp Friction by providing nutritional guidance and advice through the development of new smoothie recipes and explaining the nutritional content of the products. I have attended charity events with the team including a Good For Nothing event which involved skilled individual volunteers working together for the benefit of a charity, in this case Pulp Friction. The events allowed me to greater develop my understanding of Pulp Friction, get to know its members and to meet new people with a shared passion and drive in helping the organisation’s goals.
I’d tell anyone thinking of taking part in Communicating Nutrition next year to do It! By taking part I have gained employability skills that stand out on my CV. In every placement interview I have had I always get asked more about the project and what I continue to do for the charity. You get out what you put in, so be prepared to work hard and you will be rewarded by the significant change that you are able to make in someone else’s life.
Applications from students for the 2014/15 Communicating Nutrition Project are currently being accepted, further details of which are available here http://tinyurl.com/ogvro9n