The University of Reading students who took part in the project in 2016 were more than happy to share their experiences and insights, read below what Abbie and Harriet had to say about their 2016 UROP placement
“It not only opened up my eyes to a lot of different issues but also hugely increased my connection to the communities of Reading”
Last summer I became a member of the Whitley Researcher’s, assisting on their 2016 project researching financial exclusion. It was a great experience, and not only opened up my eyes to a lot of different issues but also hugely increased my connection to the communities of Reading.
Throughout the summer, myself and my co-intern Harriet worked on aiding the Researchers with their research through helping with their focus groups. The focus groups centred around opening up a channel of dialogue with residents about their thoughts and feelings on their financial situations. We invited a whole host of community members in order to gain a representative view of what financial issues the community was facing.
Our second task was to design and develop a leaflet to represent the Researchers and encourage new members. We interviewed each member of the group in order to find out what they thought would best represent them. We then created the leaflet, written in such a way that it would be accessible to all enquiring community members.
The best part of my placement was being able to produce a physical leaflet which is now a staple piece of the Whitley Researcher brand. It was also a joy connecting more deeply to residents of Reading who live outside of my usual university ‘bubble’. There were struggles and hiccups along the way, but overall it was a brilliant experience.
“I loved being part of such a positive project that challenges local negative perceptions of Whitley as “deprived” or “poor” and encourages others to think differently!”
I joined the Whitley Researchers during my university summer break last year. I assisted with the Whitley Researchers’ ‘Financial Exclusion’ research project and helped to develop a leaflet and website to explain what the team does and how others can get involved. I also assisted with running focus groups, as well as analysing the focus groups and interview data.
One of the highlights of being involved in the project was being able to become more involved in my local community. As a student, I had seemed to live in a little bubble and I hadn’t explored much beyond the university campus, and the project was the perfect way to branch out and meet new people from different areas.
I also loved being part of such a positive project that challenges local negative perceptions of Whitley as “deprived” or “poor” and encourages others to think differently! The Whitley Researchers were very inclusive too.
As I joined the research project half-way through, I was playing catch-up initially and therefore felt a little overwhelmed at first. But the team were very welcoming and allowed me to get stuck in straight away, so I quickly began to feel up to speed!