Student Social Worker of the Year


Lucy Collier

ORGANISATION: University of Winchester / Portsmouth City Council

AWARD(S): Student Social Worker of the Year

Lucy joined Portsmouth City Council as a student social worker in 2019, leaving a 4-year teaching career to follow her passion in supporting children with disabilities.


After graduating from the Step Up To Social Work programme at the University of Winchester in early 2021, Lucy began her first qualified role within the local authority as a Disability Social Worker in the children’s social care team.


Lucy has a deeply personal connection to her profession. Growing up alongside a loved one with a disability, she has a strong understanding of the discrimination that people with disabilities can face and the changes that are needed to improve the much much-needed support systems that are currently lacking.


Within just 18 months of joining Portsmouth City Council team, Lucy has made a remarkable impact with her colleagues and those she supports.


For example, identifying issues around communicating with non-verbal children, Lucy developed a picture book that she uses to introduce herself to children who may struggle to adapt to change.


Comfortable thinking outside of the box, Lucy has introduced and championed new approaches to communicating with children, such as the Makaton language and Mind of My Own apps.


Lucy has also developed a training programme to share her knowledge on supporting children with disabilities, which she presents to teams across the borough. Colleagues who have taken part in her training report an increase in their confidence and better outcomes for the children and families they support.


Hear about Lucy in her own words below.





Lucy has made a positive impact on the lives of the people that she has been supporting. For Lucy to have used her own initiative to source different support and care agencies to try and fulfil care packages when services are stretched to breaking point is refreshing.

Djamila Aggabi, Practice Educator of the Year 2019

Excellent social work practice to make a real difference to the lives of children and families.

Mark Trewin, Social Worker and Head of Alliance Building, Rethink Mental Illness

Lucy is committed to working with children with disabilities which is evident in her determination to amplify their voices and her decision to change of career. Lucy's leadership and advocacy skills are apparent in her training delivery and being a 'Mind of your own' champion which also demonstrates a contemporary and creative approach to engaging with children and young people.

Dr Angie Bartoli, Principal Lecturer of Social Work, Nottingham Trent University

Lucy's commitment to children with disability has been outstanding. She completed her placement with a thoroughness and enthusiasm which meant that not only did she learn but enabled the qualified workers within her team to learn from her too. I have no doubt that she will be an exceptional social worker who will champion all children, but in particular children with disabilities.

Hannah Woods, Team Leader and Practice Educator, Portsmouth City Council


Silver Award

Carrie Evans, University of Lancaster / Frontline

Sarah Mail, Kingston University

Justine Bishop, University of Warwick

Abigail Davey, Anglia Ruskin University

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