Aberdeen Foyer Placement success - farewell Finn!

28 Jun 2023

Aberdeen Foyer relies on volunteers and with those volunteers, we also welcome student placements to conduct a part of their studies by learning what we do and aiding in our service delivery. A placement student Finn Merchant, who has been with the organisation for 80 days, had his last day on Friday (30 June). Aberdeen Foyer wants to wish him all the best, but not before answering a few questions:

Who are you?

My name is Finn Merchant. I am a first-year student studying for MSc in Social Work at Robert Gordon University. I am passionate about Formula One, an avid reader of books and I also enjoy watching live theatre (particularly musicals!).

How did you come to Foyer?

I was matched with Aberdeen Foyer as part of my university course for an 80-day placement between March and June. Although I did not get to choose to come to Aberdeen Foyer, I am very glad that I got to come to such an amazing workplace.

What have you done while at the Foyer?

My work has been with the Foyer Futures team, helping young people achieve their potential through gaining qualifications and skills in employment. This has involved helping clients in 1-1 sessions around various things such as CV writing, job applications, confidence building skills, and even some maths (which I confess I am not brilliant at!).

I have also been involved in group activities such as trips to Codona’s, Pottery Workshops and a Photography Workshop for the young people who attend Foyer Futures. It was amazing to see young people trying things they had not done before and to gain something from the opportunity.

I helped with Aberdeen Foyer’s Open Day through designing a quiz about the teams who work within the Foyer. I also helped to give information to others about Foyer Futures and overall joined in with making the day a success.

What have you learned?

Life may be difficult but there is always someone who can be there to guide the way. The young people that I have worked with may have started their journey with Aberdeen Foyer with a need to address issues facing their lives, but I have watched young people thrive and grow in their time here and become more confident. This is down to the work of every staff member who puts the time and effort into becoming that caring and compassionate individual for that person.

I have also learned the importance of community, and this is a key part of what Aberdeen Foyer is trying to foster. By having a place where individuals can come and get support, but also be socially with other individuals who may be experiencing similar issues to them, is important for improving both physical and mental health.

What is your highlight of your time at the Foyer?

The people! Everyone who works and volunteers at Aberdeen Foyer has been so welcoming and supportive. Over the past four months getting to know all the staff, I felt truly like a staff member by being included in events which made me feel part of a team; trying to do achieve something in a world, which is difficult at the moment. I now know that the people that work for Aberdeen Foyer are special. I shall miss coming into Marywell Centre and being part of an amazing place.

What’s next for you?

I am heading back to university to complete my Master’s and then to be a qualified social worker but who knows I may end up back at Aberdeen Foyer?

Do you have final greetings and well-wishes to clients and colleagues?

Thank you very much for Foyer Futures team for making me feel part of the team and for providing me with the opportunity to get to know each of you over the past 4 months. All of you do amazing work and seeing you help your young people has been a privilege. Also, thanks to Graham and Heather from Communities for welcoming me every morning as I walked into the building, it always put a smile on my face.

To all the other members of staff I have got to know, thank you for the opportunity to find out about your teams and the work you do. I was unaware before this placement just how vast the work Aberdeen Foyer does but now I can take back this knowledge and use it in my future work.

To the young people I supported at my time with Foyer Futures, I wish you the best of luck in the future and hope that you keep going with the support of everyone behind you. You are all capable of achieving what you want, and with the support of Aberdeen Foyer you will get there.

Thank you, Aberdeen Foyer! I will see you again!