James began an interim placement at Swale FoodBank - just in time to help with Harvest Festival donations! This was a great opportunity to learn about the role and gain valuable experience, at a time when the warehouse was especially busy with a high volume of donations.

An interim placement is an opportunity within bemix Preparation for Employment programme for young people to build confidence and learn workplace skills before beginning a Supported Internship the following year. With a Supported Internship, sometimes bemix Supported Employment Specialists are not immediately able to secure the right placement for a young person. An interim placement is a great opportunity for interns to gain experience right away, rather than waiting for a long-term placement to be found.

Initially tasked with sorting donations, James learnt the importance of date checking, product quality and donation suitability. Each week brought new responsibilities, broadening James’ skills and knowledge in different areas of work in both the food bank and warehouse. James’ role now includes collecting donations, assembling food parcels and supporting other team members to deliver food parcels to those unable to get to the food bank.

Throughout his time at Swale Foodbank James has contributed to his local community whilst at the same time, gained an insight into the issues impacting people in society. He has developed an understanding of why people might need to use a food bank, and the different ways that people can be supported.

“I have been really enjoying my time at the food bank so far, I think it is really great in what they do. If I’m being honest I didn’t really know how a food bank worked before joining but after a while I started to know how it all works and I think Swale Food Bank does a really good job. I have always enjoyed helping people and I am glad that I can do just that. I used to be very shy around people and when I joined the food bank, while I am helping people in need, it has also helped me grow my confidence.” - James

Working at the food bank has given James the opportunity to grow confidence and develop a wide range of skills - from teamwork and communication skills, to organisation and problem solving. He has proved his value as a reliable worker and team member, approaching each task with care and close attention to detail, working efficiently alongside his co-workers. 

"James has been volunteering with us for around 6 months now and he has been such a great asset to the team. James has learnt all kinds of brand new skills since being with us and we are all so proud of how far he has come in such a short amount of time. It has been wonderful to see James come out of his shell and become a much more confident young man. We look forward to seeing how much more he develops over the next weeks and months." - Esther Hurwood, Project Manager at Swale Food Bank 

James' journey at Swale Foodbank is one of many examples which demonstrate the transformative impact of bemix Supported Employment programmes, both to young people and the organisations they work within. We believe that everyone should be seen, be heard and belong in workplaces, the local community and in wider society. As per our EPIC Values, we believe ‘a good society needs our contribution as much as everyone else’s’. We all have qualities, abilities and potential - with the right support, people can achieve their goals and provide valuable contributions in the workplace, and beyond.

To learn more about Swale Foodbank, click here

If you are a young person who is ready to prepare for the world of work, click here.

If you are an organisation interested in being involved in Supported Internships, click here.