The Social Worker of the Year Awards has announced that broadcast journalist and TV presenter, Ashley John-Baptiste, will present the awards event on 3 November 2023.
As a care leaver himself, Ashley is passionate about raising the aspirations of looked-after children and fully credits his social worker for helping him get to where he is today.
Ashley’s work raising the profile of the experiences of children in care and understanding of the social work profession, make him a very popular host of the event.
This will be his fourth time hosting the awards ceremony, which highlights the many outstanding achievements of practitioners, social work teams and organisations across the country.
Ashley was taken into care at the age of four, growing up between several different foster families and children’s homes across South London. He went on to study history at the University of Cambridge.
As a BBC Senior Reporter and Presenter, Ashley hosts shows like Expert Witness, For Love or Money and is a regular face on The One Show and Morning Live.
He has also made many documentaries, including ‘Split up in Care: Life without Siblings’, about sibling relationships in the care system.
Ashley has produced features and podcasts including the exploration of growing up in care, racism, and the lived experience of black students in the UK. He is currently working on a book, due to be published next year.
Recognising outstanding social work
Speaking ahead of the awards, Ashley said: “A good social worker who is able to really connect with people and support them to pursue a better life is someone who deserves to be recognised. It’s great to be back at The Social Worker of the Year Awards and to know there are so many social workers out there finding creative and impactful ways to support people. It is always a pleasure to meet them in person, and to hear more about what can and does work in social work.”
Peter Hay CBE, Chair of the Social Worker of the Year Awards, said: “Ashley is the perfect fit for the Social Worker of the Year Awards, we are over the moon he will be joining us for this celebration event once more. He is such an inspiration to young people, and in particular those who are care experienced. As a media professional, Ashley is a class act who lifts the room with his authentic and confident presenting.
“He is the perfect champion for everything that our charity stands for, which gives dedicated, committed and passionate social workers the recognition they deserve.”
This year 96 social work practitioners, teams and organisations have been selected as finalists in 18 categories, chosen by independent judging panels of young care leavers, social workers, industry leaders and people with lived experience of social work.
Alongside categories highlighting exceptional practice in children’s and adult services, mental health, social work education, and social justice, the charity has strengthened its commendations in the field of mental health by introducing the category of Approved Mental Health Practitioner (AHMP) of the Year alongside the existing Mental Health Social Worker of the Year.
The winners from each category will be announced at the ceremony in London on 3 November 2023.
The Social Worker of the Year Awards 2023 is supported by headline sponsor Sanctuary Personnel, and Corporate Partner, BASW, ADASS West Midlands, Coventry City Council, Children’s Social Work Matters (Barnsley), Essex County Council, London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London Borough of Wandsworth, S12 Solutions, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, Suffolk County Council and UNISON.
New sponsors are Bradford Social Work Teaching Partnership, Cafcass, Central Bedfordshire Council, London Borough of Havering and Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust.
‘Thank You’ sponsors for this year’s Awards include Dorset Council, Gloucestershire County Council, Luton Borough Council, ParentAssess, Social Work DISCovery, Suffolk County Council and West Sussex County Council.
Visit here to see our full list of sponsors www.socialworkawards.com/sponsorship