Student Bradley Bamford has joined MensCraft for a five-month placement as part of his Social Work degree at the UEA.

We’re proud of our links with the UEA to facilitate placements and work experience for students and Bradley is proving himself a highly bright, diligent and welcome asset to MensCraft at an exciting time for our work.

Bradley answered a few questions about his background, academic and career aspirations, as well as his early reflections on his MensCraft placement.

Tell us a bit about where you’re from and your course at the UEA.

I’m from a little village called Deeping St Nicholas, which is 30 miles away from Peterborough, the nearest city. I’m currently in my second academic year studying Social Work in Norwich at the UEA. As part of my degree I get to do two placements – one this year and one next. MensCraft is the first of these.

What informed your interest in social work?

From a young age I have always been known as a caring person; it was always apparent I was going to go into a caring role but I was unsure what it could be. My mother works with homeless individuals and families which had an influence on my life choices. For example, studying Health and Social Care at college, I did a placement in a team supporting homeless people. From that I gained a keen interest in listening and witnessing people’s life stories and it made me want a job where I had a chance to make a positive impact on people’s lives.

How will your placement at MensCraft help your career aims?

I will be at MensCraft for 70 days, which takes me to May. My career goal is to become a Social Worker. MensCraft it is giving me an personal insight to the  importance that charities such as MensCraft have to the individuals that access them. I’m getting first-hand experience of the one-to-one personal work that MensCraft does and have the chance to personally get to know different men, hear their stories and have the opportunity to work with them.

Give us an idea of what you’ve been doing so far, and what’s in store?

I’ve attended many of the different activities for men, such as the History Health Walk, Pit Stop Yoga, Sound Connections and the monthly Art class. A big part of my placement at MensCraft is talking to Pit Stop members, getting to know them and being friendly, supportive and reliable. I’ve been involved in Ed’s work as part of the Prevention and Positive Activities team and I’ll also get the chance to manage my own caseload under his close supervision.

What are your reflections on your first month with MensCraft?

I was surprised – I’d not heard of a mental health charity that is solely for men. I have got to see the amazing work that each member of the team provides for these men, which I get to witness and record directly as I’m also running an evaluation of the Pit Stop activities – conversations with men to get their feedback on these groups and how to continue to create relevant sessions for them.