Scholarships > Silver Fund > Space to retreat and reflect

Space to retreat and reflect


The Silver Fund backs projects which will enhance and enrich the student experience, with funding up to £2,500 to students or staff.

Leigh-Anne Coffey applied to the Silver Fund in February 2022 after reading about Siobhan Maclean’s Social Work Retreat in the British Association of Social Worker’s Magazine. The retreat is in Belfast amongst the Mourne Mountains is a place where social workers and social work students can go to reflect on their practice, whilst receiving guided reflective sessions from Siobhan, a well-known author in the field of social work.

The Silver Fund paid for the accommodation, flights, car hire, reflective sessions and excursions for Leigh-Anne and four fellow Social Work students.

Leigh-Anne said: “We gained so much from this experience. We all now have a more in-depth understanding of our future role as a social worker, how to critically reflect and analyse experiences.”

​​​​​​​Leigh-Anne Coffey, second year BA Social Work – Belfast Social Work Retreat Diary

The Silver Fund allowed me and four other students (Hanna Pickering, Adele Melia, Sally Barrett and Ashleigh Harrison) to fly to Belfast and spend two nights at the retreat with Siobhan Maclean. The experience was amazing! We landed at Belfast airport on 5 July, and picked up our rental car so we could travel freely from the airport to the city and then to the retreat. We then traveled to Belfast City and found ourselves in awe of the city’s rich history and culture.

We then headed for the retreat. We were blown away at the beautiful scenery and the retreat.

Siobhan filled her home with hundreds of postcards with a variety of different images that came with quotes attached to them. The task was to pick three postcards that represented the start of our social work journey, where we felt we were now, and where we would like to end up. The students felt that this task was one of the most powerful, and personal, reflective activities we carried out. It brought the students closer together and inspired and motivated to think about our future in social work.

We gained a more thorough understanding of critical reflection and analysis, which is a requirement in the Professional Capabilities Framework which all social work students and practitioners need to abide by.

We produced our own reflective model, considering all that we had learnt. Since returning, we have been working together on our own reflective session which we are going to deliver to our fellow Social Work students.

All students felt that this trip enriched their student experience and knowledge of Social
Work practice, particularly reflection. We gained so much from it; we all now have a more in-depth understanding of our future role as a social worker, how to critically reflect and analyse experiences. Furthermore, we have some amazing memories together in Belfast, which would not have been possible if it were not for the Silver Fund.

We would like to say a massive thank you to the benefactors of the Silver Fund for enabling us to take part in such an inspiring, educational, and overall enjoyable experience. We are profoundly grateful.

University of Sunderland logo

Development & Alumni Office | +44 (0)191 515 3664 |

Privacy Policy