Izzy Howlett

Families and Communities, St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Forest Heath District Council

I am a Sociology and Philosophy Graduate from the University of Glasgow, now entering employment within the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in Central government.

I have been working within the Families and Communities Department for 12 weeks through the Rising High Internship Programme. Every week, I have been out of the office at site visits, conferences, public consultations, town council meetings, and strategy meetings. I have gained insight into the Families and Communities Department and worked on multiple projects. 

One project I worked particularly closely on was a Social Prescribing project called LifeLink. This involved shadowing the officers in all aspects of their roles, interviewing participants, analysing data, and rewriting the master document and service evaluation in preparation for their anniversary and funding bid. I have also played an active role in the reshaping of mental health services, working alongside the NHS West Suffolk CCG. I was able to attend consultations and symposiums, as well as inputting data and surveys online. It has been great to view the behind the scenes aspects of services and policies from both the council and NHS stances, and to take part in their reform.

I am deeply passionate about disability rights having worked in the sector previously, and through the internship I was chosen to represent the council at multiple forums, conferences and bi-annual events independently. This was a fantastic opportunity and gave me further confidence and the chance to make connections within the community and the sector. During the internship I have also written multiple reports for Families and Communities, and worked closely with Democratic Services for their Civic Leadership Consultation in town councils, housing association board meetings and public consultations. 

Alongside my work in the Families and Communities team, the interns were tasked with organising an event to tackle loneliness within West Suffolk. In nine weeks, we managed to hire a venue, secure sponsorship, invite stallholders, advertise our event and lead the event as a team. The event itself was a huge success, receiving 100% positive feedback from all stallholders and I have enhanced my skills set in the process.

The internship has been fast paced and challenging, however I have felt supported throughout. The Families and Communities team have been fantastic and I have enjoyed working closely with other departments both at the local level and the county level. Local government has exceeded my expectations and has prepared me for working in government at local, county and central levels.