Team Leader of the Year


Kudakwashe Kurashwa

ORGANISATION: Hillingdon Council

AWARD(S): Team Leader of the Year

Kudakwashe, who grew up in Zimbabwe, has a passion for knowledge and supporting others to grow and flourish, with colleagues describing him as a “social worker to his core” who “never stops reading, learning and sharing”.


Working across a number of charities, governmental bodies and NGOS throughout his career, Kudakwashe has always strived to improve life and education opportunities for children and local communities.


Before to relocating to London, Kudakwashe was a Child Welfare Protection Officer for the Government of Zimbabwe, where he created and developed a project to improve water sanitation across the country by working in partnership with local communities.


Kudakwashe was promoted to Team Manager at the onset of the pandemic last year, after joining the London Borough of Hillingdon as a Social Worker in 2016. He currently leads a specialist team which supports children and adolescents at risk of criminal exploitation and serious violence.


Using his appetite for learning to keep abreast of this complex and evolving area of children’s social care, Kudakwashe encourages his team to adopt different ways of working.


Young people supported by Kuda’s team are able to choose their social worker and take ownership of all meetings, and they are encouraged to work together with their social worker and trusted adults to co-create their plans for the future.


As a social worker supporting children, Kudakwashe is known for his empathy, kindness and genuine desire to help others. Speaking about Kuda, one young person he has supported says: “Since you have been helping me so much has changed…You have helped make things good at home so I no longer have to have more than one home”.


This kindness extends to his team. Colleagues say that Kuda encourages them to celebrate their achievements individually and collectively, fully supports their career progression and welcomes new ideas, challenges and approaches.  One such colleague reports: “Kuda is a brother, a mentor, a role model and an inspiration to us all”.


Hear about Kudakwashe in his own words below.



Kuda has had very positive and lasting impact on the young people that he supports, some who testified as could have possibly ended up in prison or live a life of crime. His positive impact also shines a very positive light on the profession and will likely lead to more young people in the locality engaging with social workers and getting the relevant and appropriate support.

Eddie Dube, Social Worker, Somerset County Council

As Team Manager Kuda used his knowledge, skills and innovative approach to transform how services are deliver to children at risk of exploitation, this included enabling young people to choose their social worker, co produce their own safety plans, devolve budget decisions to frontline practitioners and strengthen the Local Partnerships response to children at risk of exploitation. This is so forward thinking and needs to be applauded and recognised.

Sally Percival, Chair of the National Coproduction Advisory Group (NCAG) and TLAP partnership

I don't consider you my social worker, but someone who keeps me on the right track.

Feedback from young people supported by Kudakwashe

Kuda’s innovative approach to one of the most challenging areas in children’s social care has resulted in better and safer outcomes for children, less children entering care and acts as a vehicle for transformation and change. This impacts on his team and associated children and families but also across all service areas and partners. Kuda’s vociferous approach to learning and leadership makes us all better social workers.

Julie Kelly, Director of Service Delivery with the Hillingdon Adolescents Team, Hillingdon Council


Silver Award

Zakia Bouyis Loughead, Birmingham City Council

Amanda Haylock, Portsmouth City Council

Dianne Fossey, Richmond and Wandsworth Councils

Sam Roper, Knowsley Council

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