Social Justice Advocate Award


Vivian Okeze-Tirado

ORGANISATION: West Sussex County Council

AWARD(S): Social Justice Advocate Award

Vivian has been employed by West Sussex County Council since 2014 when she joined the Fostering team and has sought to educate colleagues on diversity and cultural competence to improve outcomes for children and improve local services.


Following the Murder of George Floyd in June 2020, Vivian sent an open letter to the West Sussex County Times and her local MP and 10 Downing Street advocating for justice and equality, appealing for people to have empathy for the lives of black people all over the world.


She began to pioneer sensitive and carefully adapted workshops on diversity and cultural competence at West Sussex County Council, delivering sessions across several departments, with the aim of supporting colleagues to address issues of racism with the children they support and also to learn how to build their self-esteem. She has also advocated for an Equality and Diversity Manager for West Sussex County Council’s Children’s Services department.


To support social workers to reflect on diversity and to make changes in their own councils, Vivian created and published a diversity acrostic poem with guidance for culturally sensitive social work and social care in April 2021 to encourage reflection and suggest solutions for positive progress.


Vivian is known for her child-centred work and dedication to achieving positive outcomes for children.


One young person helped by Vivian reported: “[Vivian] was a constant figure to go to for help and advice. This gave me courage and hope for the future, both of which I had never had before.”


As well as her work in fostering Vivian was part of the County’s Adoption Panel for two years.


Hear from Vivian in her own words below.




It is very evident that Vivian has made a strong impact on challenging assumptions about race and racism both to people who use services and other colleagues. Her engagement with Black Lives Matter and the death of George Floyd is both timely and courageous and provides invaluable food for thought.

Michael Shamash, Writer, academic and disability rights activist

Vivian is clearly a very gifted person who has a genuine passion and desire to fight injustice and improve system errors. She demonstrates heart-warming efforts and projects in including equality diversity, difference and inclusion within her workplace and society.

Mary Carter, Children and Family Social Worker, Essex County Council

Her passion is radiant, she goes above and beyond in what she does and the feedback that we get from Foster Carers, care leavers and the children in care that she’s worked with is amazing.

Darlington Ihenacho, Principal Social Worker, West Sussex County Council


Joint Silver Award

Aedan Wolton, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Joint Silver Award

Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children Team, Norfolk County Council

Cynthia Minett and Eniola Obikoya, Gloucestershire County Council

Wayne Reid, British Association of Social Workers

Sensory Support Team, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Skip to content