Hello, my name is Siobhán and I interned at 3FF in the Schools team from September 2013 to March 2014.
I had studied BA Theology with Philosophy and MA Religion in Contemporary Society because of my curiosity about different ways of seeing the world and my interest in the stories and practices of different faith traditions. I discovered 3FF when I was interviewing fellow students for my MA research. One of them mentioned that they had been on ParliaMentors, 3FF’s university programme, and had found it a really fulfilling experience. As soon as I looked on the 3FF website and saw the organisation’s values and approach I knew that I wanted to be involved!
I remember loving my internship on the Schools team. In comparison with the lonely life of a student, burrowed away in the library all day every day, at 3FF I was embedded within a dynamic and passionate team who all worked together towards shared goals. I remember enjoying the supportive environment and reflective atmosphere straight away, as well as greatly admiring the goals and approach of the schools work. Despite my nerves and lack of confidence, the team pushed me to try facilitating parts of training days and workshops, and by the end of my internship I confidently co-facilitated my first Faith Awareness training for members of the public. After six months I felt that I had been at 3FF for years – I had grown so much and learned so much! I was fortunate that a role came up at the right time for me, and I stayed on in the Schools team for two and a half happy years. My areas of responsibility were organising the school workshops, recruiting, training and supporting volunteer school speakers, and leading teacher training sessions on interfaith and intercultural education.
The highlight of my 3FF experience was an event we organised for LGBT History Month 2016. I worked with team members from across the organisation to plan and deliver an Encountering Faiths and Beliefs workshop for members of the public to hear personal stories from four speakers who held different faiths, beliefs and LGBT identities. I had the joy of working with the speakers – Ed, Carly, Shanon and Shaan – to write their stories and prepare for dialogue using the 3FF methodologies.
We had hoped that the event would attract new visitors from faith and LGBT communities. We were delighted that of our 80 attendees, 65% had never been to a 3FF event or programme before. As well as achieving our goal, what I remember most from that evening was the atmosphere of respect and curiosity that was fostered. The stories were so different but all very moving. I was particularly proud that by the end of the event participants were committing to making their own communities more inclusive.
Since leaving 3FF in November last year I have worked for two completely different organisations, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, an animal rescue centre, and EqualiTeach, an equality and diversity training and consulting organisation. In both of these roles I was challenged, inspired and exposed to new ideas and ways of working. I have also had opportunities to take on some freelance training work, and got more involved in the Sunday Assembly community. It has certainly been a year of trying new things, reflecting, growing and becoming more confident within myself and more sure of my goals.
Last month my heart and feet carried me once again back to 3FF. I am utterly thrilled to have rejoined the team in a new role – Programmes Coordinator, Workplace & Community. Coming full circle in my journey, I will now be overseeing the voluntary internship programme here! I am so excited to recruit, train and support new cohorts of interns, and help them to make the most of their 3FF experience.
I will also be leading a new programme of workplace training for LGBT organisations, to support them to become more inclusive of people from different faith and cultural backgrounds. I am delighted that I will get to take the 3FF models and tools that I have come to love so much, to adapt them, and to bring them to new communities.
Looking back to 2013 and the start of my 3FF journey, I am so grateful to my fellow Schools team members who pushed me to pursue facilitation and training. Hundreds of workshops and training sessions later I have truly discovered a passion that is now so important to me. My advice to future interns and all alumni out there is to push yourself to never stop trying new things!
- Giulia and I have started thinking already about an intern alumni celebration for next year. If you would like to get involved with ideas and planning for this event, please get in touch!
- If you work at or are involved with an LGBT organisation that you think would be interested in our new workplace training programme, please send them my way!
Tel. 0207 482 9549