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As part of a series of profiles to help you get to know some of our volunteers, CJ Walker interviewed long-time volunteer Jenny Wood:

What is your name and what is your background outside of PAS?

My name is Jenny Wood and I am a Research Associate in the Institute for Social Policy Housing and Equalities Research (I-SPHERE) at Heriot-Watt University. I completed an undergrad course in urban and regional planning to begin with, and then went on to do a PhD in children’s rights and the Scottish Planning system. Now, I work on research projects around poverty, homelessness and social policy in the UK, whilst maintaining an interest in planning, children’s rights and community engagement more generally.

Why did you choose to get involved with PAS?

Whilst I was studying for my undergrad degree, I really wanted to experience the reality of planning in the ground and was struck by the opportunities provided by volunteering for PAS. Working on projects with a really social impact drew me in, as well as getting to rub shoulders with more experienced members of the planning profession. I have learnt so much and developed my own career path around children’s rights and the environment from getting involved. It has, and continues to be incredibly worthwhile for personal and professional development. I have also made many friends through volunteering!

What has been your favourite volunteering experience with PAS?

I really enjoyed a trip around the Cairngorms with former development officer Kathryn where I learnt how to deliver IMBY and also got to experience a part of Scotland I had never been to before. I loved learning how to engage with children about place and hear their experiences of growing up in a national park. This was both valuable and fun and one of many volunteering experiences I look back on fondly.

How would you like to get involved in the future?

I am keen to continue getting involved in projects around children and young people. I am particularly keen on projects that move beyond just education to have a real impact on an action plan or development proposal. Some of the work PAS has been doing with particularly excluded children such as those in institutions is also something I want to be further involved with.

Are you pro or anti-marmite?

Very anti.