Hattie Gibbs

Environmental Health, St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Forest Heath District Council

I graduated from the University of East Anglia with a degree in Environmental Geography and Climate Change.

I have had the great opportunity to work with the Energy and Environment Team for 12 weeks over the summer. I have been able to take part in organising events, attend contract meetings and liaise with various departments across the councils.

My main projects during the internship contributed to improving air quality. I got involved by organising an eco-driving course for staff, facilitating a Bike to Work Week 2018 and helping to run the West Suffolk Electric Vehicle showcase event in the Arc Shopping Centre.

The eco-driving course was run in conjunction with the Energy Saving Trust and has a number of advantages that include reduced fuel consumption and carbon emissions, as well as increased miles per gallon, by up to 15 per cent! This was offered to 12 members of staff and is really beneficial for those who regularly travel long distances for appointments.

I have really enjoyed being involved with the West Suffolk Electric Vehicle showcase event, as I have a great interest in electric vehicles and understand that a showcase is a great way to advertise the many benefits of the technology. It is also a productive way to engage with the public and inform them as to what the Council is doing to improve the local charging infrastructure. I have also had a role in designing the new leaflet, getting flag banners produced and creating an interactive myth-busting quiz for the public.

Furthermore, Bike to Work Week 2018 was also a great success that aimed to encourage members of staff to cycle into work and claim a free service run by a local bicycle shop. Staff received a free service and this helped to show West Suffolk’s commitment to improving air quality in the local area.

Aside from my air quality work, the 2018 interns were tasked with creating a community engagement event to tackle loneliness. We had the opportunity to plan, organise and run an event in August called the ‘Togetherness Fayre’ that brought together 30 local businesses, charities and community groups to showcase the opportunities available to reduce loneliness. We were fortunate to have a stall in Bury Market a week before the event, where we handed out over 800 leaflets to people of all ages and backgrounds. Feedback forms were handed to each of the organisations in attendance at the Fayre and all said that they had thoroughly enjoyed the event and would like to see another held in the future.

Overall, I have really enjoyed my internship with West Suffolk councils and I am grateful for all the support that members of the Environmental Health Department have given me. I have been able to demonstrate my organisation, time-management and communication skills, whilst improving my confidence in the workplace - I look forward to using these in the future.