The SME Internship Scheme: tackling hunger and homelessness one internship at a time

This week is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

If you’re passionate about making a difference, why not consider arranging an SME Internship with an organisation that is working to prevent hunger and homelessness? We spoke to a few organisations that University if Bristol students have previously had internships with to find out what they do, and why they like the scheme. 

1625 Independent People

Logo: a square made of dots with "1625 Independant people" written next to it.

1625 Independent People works with young people aged 16 to 25 in the southwest.

They work to prevent youth homelessness through early intervention and have taken on interns through our scheme since 2017 to support this work

Here’s what Hannah from 1625 Independent People had to say about participating in our SME internship scheme:

Our intern was fantastic. She was such a quick learner, and her knowledge and skills in research enabled us to achieve work that we did not have the capacity or skills to do. This has meant that we have up to date resources about the current issues for homeless young people, which is so critical as the cost of living crisis impacts vulnerable people. Our intern has been a pleasure to work with, and great to be part of the team. A huge thanks to the University for offering this programme.

Hannah, 1625 Independant People


inHope's logo that reads " inHope. For those who need us most."

inHope is a Bristol-based charity supporting people affected by homelessness, many of whom suffer from food insecurity or are recovering from addiction.

They help individuals in their time of crisis, by providing practical support of food and shelter, alongside longer-term help that includes financial advice and teaching practical life skills.

A picture of Harvey, a male student in a suit, smiling

Harvey, who studies Politics and International Relations, worked for inHope recently through the SME Internship Scheme. Here’s what he had to say about them:

“inHope is a homelessness charity based in Easton that helps some of the most marginalised people in Bristol. They have a unique conception of homelessness, where those in need are treated heterogeneously. Hence, they offer a multitude of overlapping services to cater to the needs of homeless people. Their philosophy of service means that stakeholders’ experiences are foregrounded within the charity. Not only do they care immensely for stakeholders but also their employees as well, offering a collegial atmosphere.”

Here’s what Steve, Development and Relationships Manager for inHope had to say about their experience of employing Harvey:

inHope is at the forefront of tackling homelessness and hunger in Bristol this winter. The cost of living crisis has a financial effect on issues such as housing, food and energy, but it also affects people’s mental and physical health as well as their social relationships. As a result, inHope has seen a significant increase in demand for its services, as it provides much needed help and support to vulnerable people this winter.”

“This summer we took on our first intern for several years. We were wanting to increase inHope’s connection with young adults, many of whom are passionate about helping people who are homeless or experiencing hunger and fuel poverty. Our intern worked as part of the Fundraising and Communications Team and really moved our approach forward.”

University of Bristol students offer new skills, confidence and enthusiasm. We were able to give our intern a brief with specific parameters, but enough freedom and responsibility to develop new ideas. He was confident enough to use his own initiative, developing mini projects but also checking in regularly with managers to ensure he was heading in the right direction.”

Here are some other organisations that have participated in the SME Internship Scheme:

FareShare South West

FareShare help tackle food poverty by redistributing surplus food, and fighting food waste and hunger at the same time. In 2020 they delivered enough food for 4.1 million meals supporting over 40,000 people in extremely vulnerable situations.

Cardboard Citizens

Cardboard Citizens is a theatre company and homeless charity that provide theatre and art training for people who experience homelessness, inequity or poverty. They believe that theatre and art can transform lives, challenge an individual to grow, and ignite a fire in the belly of wider society to change.

Self-Help Community Housing Association

The Self-Help Community Housing Association are a charitable housing association that provides supposed accommodation for people who have experienced homelessness or inadequate housing in Bristol.

Prisoners Abroad

Prisoners Abroad is a lifeline for British citizens and their families during and after imprisonment overseas. They safeguard the welfare and human rights of these citizens while detained overseas and prevent street homelessness when they return to the UK, giving them a second chance to rebuild their lives.

Feeling inspired?

A picture of jenny and Rachel smiling standing by an SME internship scheme banner

The SME Internship Scheme is now open!

If you are interested in working for one of these organisations or contacting others, you can find advice about arranging your own internship here.

If you have any questions about the scheme or anything else relating to careers you can speak to us on live chat.

You can also read more blogs in our “My SME internship” series to hear about other SMEs that our students have worked with.