RECOGNISE INSPIRING SOCIAL WORK
The charity which runs the Social Worker of the Year Awards has announced the appointment of seven new Trustees as it enters its 10th year.
The charity is seeking to expand its role in championing and supporting social workers in England, bringing greater recognition to the work they do to support individuals, families and communities and championing social justice.
The first appointment is Brian Mitchell, a lecturer in social work at the University of Bradford and Bielefeld University in Germany, and an ambassador for The White Ribbon Campaign and The Sophie Lancaster Foundation.
Commenting on his appointment, Brian said: “I adore the profession! I have always had an interest in human rights, equalities, and inclusion and I hope to help bring in more professionals to join us in creating an even more diverse and inclusive celebration of social work.”
The second appointment is Clenton Farquharson MBE, Chair of the Think Local Act Personal Partnership, and Quality Matters. Clenton is also director of Community Navigator Services CIC; a member of the Coalition for Personalised Care, the Social Care Sector COVID-19 Stakeholder Group, and the NHS Assembly; and is a Trustee of the Race Equality Foundation and ambassador for Disability Rights UK and Skills for Care.
Speaking about joining the Board, Clenton said: “I hope to bring my lived experiences of health and social care as a disabled person, to help deliver on the vision of the charity and give back to the profession that changed my life.”
Student social worker Ellisha Karssemakers is the third appointment to the Board. Ellisha is also mum to four children, two of which have autism. Her own experience of the health and social care system has made a huge impact on her life and for her children. Ellisha hopes to bring more representation in for students, as they are the future of the social work profession.
Emma Grady is the fourth appointment to the Board of Trustees. Emma is a student studying mental health nursing and social work as a combined master’s degree. She has been a Health Care support worker in a variety of mental health settings and is the Chair of the British Association of Social Workers Student and NQSW group.
“I am passionate about raising the profile for students and ensuring our voices are heard. I want to help shape the future of the charity and shine a light on the excellent practice going on up and down the country”, Emma said on her appointment to the Board.
The fifth appointment is student social worker and Leaving Care PA at Derby City Council, Kelly Centro. Kelly wants to “build a more positive image of social work, recognising the brilliant work social workers do every day.” She hopes to bring a new and different perspective as both a student and experienced Leaving Care PA to the Board of Trustees.
The sixth appointment is Sammie Corcoran, a student social worker and a part of the Transition Team within Adult Social Care at Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council. Sammie has worked in the sector for over 11 years and grew up with a younger brother with autism, learning difficulties and complex health conditions.
Speaking about joining the Board, Sammie said: “I want to bring the passion I have for my job to the charity and help to humanise Social Workers, improve the perception of Social Workers and celebrate the fantastic front line work we know is happening out in the field.”
The seventh appointment is Sherry Malik. Sherry is the former Director of children’s services at NSPCC, DCS and DASS at LB Hounslow and has held executive roles at Cafcass and GSCC. She is currently a non-executive Director at Dimensions UK, a Trustee at the Internet Watch Foundation, and a Staff College Associate.
Commenting on her appointment, Sherry said: “I have been involved with the charity since its inception, championing the profession and judging nominations. I am delighted to serve on the Board as a Trustee with my passion for social care and social justice.”
They will join existing Trustees Peter Hay CBE (Chair), James Rook (Managing Director of Sanctuary Social Care), Ana Popovici (Director of Children’s Services, London Borough of Wandsworth), Rob Mitchell (Principal Social Worker, Bradford Council), Gary Spencer-Humphrey (Independent Social Worker) and Jessica Beach (Principal Social Worker). Bev Williams MBE, the founder of the awards, takes up a new position as Founding Trustee.
Peter Hay CBE, Chair of the Social Work Awards Board, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Brian, Clenton, Ellisha, Emma, Kelly, Sammie and Sherry to the Board of Trustees. Their passion for social work is clear to see, and they have already been sharing their ideas and enthusiasm to drive the charity forward.
“Together we have a wealth of experience across different aspects of social work and also lived experience of the difference great social workers can make.
“The challenges of the past year have made us reassess how we want to move forward as a charity and really deliver on the inclusive values we all hold. A strong and diverse board is a great platform for achieving more and enhancing our role as a force for good in the sector.”
In November 2020, the charity hosted a live, virtual event for social workers across the country. The ‘Thank You Social Workers’ event reflected on the unique challenges and gave recognition to the bravery and dedication of social workers throughout Covid-19. It featured inspiring messages from celebrities, interviews with frontline social work practitioners and first-hand stories told by young people and adults who have been supported by social workers during the pandemic.
In 2021 the charity is planning to build on the success of last year’s event with a new programme of work aimed at increasing public awareness of social workers and their work, recognising and celebrating their achievements and championing social justice for all.