Santander Internship brings a fresh new perspective to Cancer support Charity

Linda Steggles, from Beechwood Cancer Care chats to Kathy England, Business Engagment Manager at Keele Univeristy about her positive experience on the Santander internship scheme this summer.

Beechwood Cancer Care, based in Stockport, offers support to those living with cancer and other life limiting illness, as well as their relatives and carers. This summer Linda Steggles, Chief Executive of the charity hosted Business Management and Marketing graduate Samantha Braund, who worked 100 hours remotely on developing a Social Media Strategy.


Why did you decide to offer an internship?

We had an awareness of the calibre of candidates that Keele University is renowned for and the opportunity we provided was to assist with the charity's gaps and lack of skill in-house. We are also aware of the support Santander provide to charities and education and felt the combination would be a success - which it was!

How has Samantha (intern) assisted you?

Samantha has provided us with the time and concentrated research/application that we currently don't have capacity to do in-house to achieve a realistic and achievable social media strategy. She has taken time to understand the charity, our service offer, our competitors etc - fully researched despite being a remote arrangement. Her approach and attitude were excellent - second to none

In your opinion, what are the advantages of taking on an intern?

She has brought us fresh, younger eyes and a new perspective – for a charity which has relied on more traditional approaches and in much need of some help to move into the 'modern world'. She has understood our limitations and provided suggestions, guidance and solutions for the next 12 months, as far as she is able and as far as anyone can (in the current pandemic climate). We now have a SMART Social Medial Strategy that isn't overwhelming but that meets the charity's needs and encourages internal challenge

Have there been any unexpected outcomes?

Yes, being exposed to information we didn't know about (or how to find it) via our intern. Sam has extracted information about our service and social media followers that we suspected; however, seeing it in black and white was eye-opening for us. We have found the whole experience quite exciting!

What was your biggest concern or worry about taking on a University intern?

Our biggest worry was the time commitment required from us and also the lack of capacity in the Charity, given the unknown impact of the pandemic. A concern of ours was that we may upset the intern by unintentionally neglecting them. During the summer internships, we were thrown some organisational curved balls during the pandemic, however, we managed to maintain communication and our intern was flexible and adaptable

Would you like to add anything else?

Sam was outstanding. Despite having to deal with a family bereavement as the internship began, she was professional, committed and flexible - she accommodated us and and understood the challenges being experienced by the charity. I cannot say enough positive things about our intern. I would encourage other organisations to consider the benefits of providing young people with an opportunity and to be open to receiving the benefits and commercial support that an intern can bring

For more information on Internships and how your business can get involved visit our business internships page