Making a Difference


Sarah Frances

ORGANISATION: Bramley Health

AWARD(S): Making a Difference

In just two short years, Sarah Frances has had a transformational impact on both local and national practice in her role as lead mental health social worker with Bramley Heath.


Notably, she has initiated a new way for service users in low-secure settings to be able to apply for Universal Credit, after identifying that they couldn’t do so through the normal route, due to restricted internet access in hospitals. The close working relationship she developed with the Department for Work and Pensions has seen this initiative rolled out nationally, enabling service users in other hospitals across England and Wales to benefit.


Her achievements don’t stop there – Sarah has also worked closely with a local building society to enable service users to open a simple bank account, and with a doctoral researcher from Nottingham University to pioneer service user participation in local and national political issues, which included leading a group visit to the Houses of Parliament.


These are just some of the successes from Sarah’s 25-year-long career in the sector, throughout which she has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to empowering service users, and to driving forward positive change within service provision.


She stood out as a “consistent game changer” for the profession.


Sarah's nomination evidences the differences she has made, not just locally, but also influencing DWP policy nationally in opening up a pathway for low-secure detainees to apply for Universal Credit.

Simon Shreeve, Creative & Innovative Social Work Practice Award 2018

Sarah has used some wide experience and academic study to develop her practice in a way that appears to have had real impact. She has also enabled service users’ voices to be heard and to be empowered to exercise their rights as citizens.

Carol Long, Researcher, Durham University

Sarah has helped me make contact with my daughter after many years apart. She has also helped me find my sister, through the Salvation Army tracing service, after she disappeared for many years. I am very, very grateful to her for this and thank her for all her support and kindness. Sarah also helped me take the tough step to report abuse which happened to me years ago. This has helped me let go and move on.

Feedback from someone supported by Sarah

She is creative and enthusiastic and someone service users, staff and carers seek out for advice, a listening ear and support. She does not see a problem but looks for a solution and is prepared to make a stand to make changes that push forward service provision. Sarah is not someone who waits for direction; she makes change and looks for ways to make the world a better place.

Vanessa Ling, Hospital Director


Carol Long

Dave Thomas MBE

Sharon Martin


Debbie Ford, University of Central Lancashire


Denise Smalley, PAC-UK

Teresa Barrett, Livewell Southwest

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