Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation is dedicated to helping the town’s younger generation. Former Highfield School student Lucy Cook-Allen took part in some work experience in September 2021.
Before starting her law degree course at Durham University, Lucy spent a fascinating and informative week working with Alastair Stewart, our Head of Charitable Projects and Partnerships.
Lucy’s work experience diary
My name is Lucy, I am 18 years old and have lived in Letchworth my whole life. I also have family links to the town – my Great-grandfather, Lieutenant Edward E Shaw MC, has lived in Letchworth since the 1940s. These links have made me a passionate advocate for the local community and have enriched my love of Letchworth.
I volunteer for Letchworth’s Scouting Movement and St John’s Ambulance Unit and am Head Chorister at St George’s Church. I was Deputy Head Student at Highfield, where I studied Sociology, Geography and Politics at A-level. I was also a member of the judging panel for the Foundation’s 2020 Community Awards.
I applied for a work experience placement with the Foundation because I felt it would give me a valuable insight into a possible career after completing my degree.
I met everyone I was going to be working with and discussed my main project with Alastair: following my previous involvement with the Community Awards in 2020, this was to re-imagine a more youth-facing Community Awards programme. We also brainstormed some focus-group discussion points.
After planning for the focus groups, I contacted Highfield’s sixth-form team to set up a meeting with a small group of 16- to 18-year-old students. I then met with Research and Evaluation Manager Fiona Grant. We discussed her role and how the Foundation’s evidence-based approach affects every aspect of her work.
Next, I visited the Made with Clay Studio on Gernon Walk with Communications and Marketing Business Partner Ciara Ginty. We discussed the Foundation’s grants programme and contributions to the studio with its tutor and founder, Debbie Bent.
Ciara and I then treated ourselves to lunch at Vutie Beets in The Wynd!
I spent the afternoon with Joshua Andrews, who’s on the government-funded Kickstart Scheme. We looked at Local Insights, an online data and analysis tool, to understand more about Letchworth’s communities and services. It was interesting to have access to so much data about life for people in Letchworth and to understand some of the differences in life chances based on location alone.
Fiona explained how her team had created personas for groups of people within Letchworth. We rang Josh Tidy, town historian and Curator at the International Garden Cities Exhibition – we investigated audience development and how Fiona’s work on personas could aid Josh and the museum team. Fiona then tasked me to look at some of her work on young people.
I visited Highfield and conducted a focus group with sixth formers to imagine what a more youth-facing Community Awards programme could look like.
Alastair and I discussed several family projects that the Foundation is working on. I then met Foundation Chair Pam Burn, who talked about her career journey. It was particularly refreshing to hear her passion surrounding volunteering.
I met with Fiona to reflect on my work with her on personas and Local Insights. I also discussed the Foundation’s Financial Inclusions pilot with Alastair and shared with him the framework of the Young People's Community Awards project that I’d been working on throughout the week.
Learning about some of the many incredible things the Foundation does was extremely insightful. I highly recommend this work experience placement to other young people.