Social Work Stories

SHARE YOUR SOCIAL WORK STORIES

Share your experiences

Stories from you about your teams, colleagues and work can help inspire other social and care workers of all kinds and bring some light to difficult days.

 

We want to create a hub for your voices.

 

We don’t mind what you want to share, it could be something which made you smile, laugh or cry. It could be about your colleagues, the people you support or how you’re feeling about your work and how it is evolving.

 

We know you will be stretched and digging deep to keep offering your communities support and hope in such challenging circumstances. Tell us about it, if you can.

 

It could be long or short. Even if you’ve already posted something somewhere we are happy to link, like and share on Twitter @socialworkaward

 

Email Us

Email us at stories@socialworkawards.com with your name, job title, social care number (just so we know you are a social care worker, we will keep it private) and phone number, so we can get in touch if we need more information.

 

Tell us if you are happy for us to use your name and what kind of social work you do, but if you want to keep that private, that’s fine too.

  • Have changes to the way you work brought unexpected outcomes to your practice as an individual or in teams?

 

  • Are you seeing changes in the needs of the people you work with? How have you responded to this?

 

  • How would you describe what you do as a social worker? What would you tell someone about the impact social workers can have on people, day-in day-out?

 

  • What one thing would you tell another social worker about you recent experiences?

 

  • Can you share a photo?

 

Read the Latest

If you can cope with this and still want to do it, you are made for social work

November 9, 2020 | Written by Mary Carter


Story written by Mary Carter, Student Social Worker of the Year Award winner 2019 and Newly Qualified Social Worker at Essex County Council.


Back in November 2019, which I’m sure feels a lifetime ago for us all, I was
thrilled to win the prestigious award of Student Social Worker of the Year.

I remember this day like it was yesterday and it’s high up there on best days ever. For me, it reignited my lifelong desire to become a social worker.


Great expectations


I was earnestly grateful for the recognition I received for my work as I know that every other nominee, in fact thousands of students around the country, was as capable of winning this award. I was overwhelmed – a combination of shock, excitement and pure happiness.


Hearing the remarkable efforts that practitioners were making to their profession reminded me that social work was my calling, a truly honourable evening to be part of. This being said, it did not come without its worries.

I went into the new year with all that was ahead and this knocked me, the ‘emotional hangover’
began to unveil.

…it reignited my lifelong desire to become a social worker.


Winning this award left me feeling that the pressure was on and the expectations to do well were uncomfortably high. What if I struggle? What if I get ‘found out,’ a feeling we all struggle with from time to time.


Four months on from this evening and a time of our lives that none of us would have expected – Covid-19, a crisis that has highlighted the importance and value of this field. A time when a new generation of social workers was very much needed.


From student to social worker


Although I was fortunate to have only ten placement days left, my final statutory social work placement was significantly impacted by Covid-19. I was instructed to self-isolate and work remotely.

I needed to know how to respond to this crisis professionally and appropriately.

Some students did not want to be in placement when I was adamantly sure I wanted to be. I was supported and a solution was made that was creative and flexible. I feared the leap from student to practitioner, I feared the unknown.


After a successful interview and rest from placement, I started my dream job in the Children in Care team at Essex County Council. I was nervous and feared what was ahead in my new role, whilst equally desperate to use my newly developed skills, passion and optimism to make a difference.


For all students and newly qualified social workers, learning had to change quite significantly. I had to learn my role, tasks and what was expected of me very quickly. I needed to know how to respond to this crisis professionally and appropriately.


New beginnings

It felt outlandish starting a role where I didn’t have a full team around me for help and support. This being said, I was warmly welcomed and, by connecting on our teams WhatsApp and remotely via Microsoft Teams, I began to feel comfortable asking questions, seeking guidance and opportunity. I formed part of a team that wanted me to grow and a team that saw potential.



Winning the Student Social Worker of the Year award gave me the confidence to get involved with and become a founding member of Social Work Connect: a webinar-based initiative helping students, practice educators and practitioners from across the world to stay connected and develop knowledge around social work theory and reflection.

I have also been volunteering in my community in support of ending homelessness.

I feel incredibly proud to be a social worker

My plans to set up a student exchange to Ukraine for care experienced students is under way. The Covid-19 pandemic has showed us how much we can achieve when we all work together.


You are made for social work


Whilst the beginning of my journey as a newly qualified social worker has been a different experience from the one I had envisaged it has, in many ways, prepared me for my lifelong career in the profession.


I feel incredibly proud to be a social worker and honoured to have been able to contribute to supporting people through the Covid-19 crisis where my professional identity is becoming more apparent.


Social work is a gift that allows us to walk into the lives of wonderful people
and children from all different walks of life and make positive, purposeful and meaningful changes. I remain focused and determined to develop my skills and use my experience to build a positive social work career.


As a committed Pinterest user I love a quote – the following words from professor Brené Brown comes to mind.

Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard and valued – when they can give and receive without judgment

Brené Brown,
PHD, LMSW

I share this award and journey with all the social work students who, despite the circumstances and the existing struggles, commit to making change every day.


If you can cope with this level of uncertainty, manage your everyday lives and still want to do it then you are absolutely made for social work.


Tell us your social work story at stories@socialworkawards.com telling us your name, job, contact details and social care number (just so we know you’re a social worker, we will keep it private).

A Story of Difference

November 4, 2020 | Written by Dan Smart

Dan Smart, a social worker at South Gloucestershire Council, shares his experience of being a newly qualified social worker during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tell us your social work story at stories@socialworkawards.com telling us your name, job, contact details and social care number (just so we know you’re a social worker, we will keep it private).

Going the extra mile (or 100) during coronavirus: part one

October 11, 2020 | Written by The Social Care Reablement Team, Devon County Council

This is a guest blog from The Social Care Reablement Team at Devon County Council. 

The Social Care Reablement Team (SCR) provide a short-term service, usually up to three weeks, to adults who need support to remain independently living in their own home. The majority of referrals come directly from hospitals when patients are ready to be discharged home.

The team has shared with us how their work has changed during the pandemic and how they are going the extra mile for their clients.


Alice’s story:

“I was the first to visit a client on her discharge from hospital at the beginning of lockdown. She was feeling scared at the prospect of not being able to see her family and was worried about being isolated. Her fridge was full of rotting food. I cleared it all out for her, went and bought her a few items and arranged a food delivery service.

Sensing she was going to struggle I chatted about what she liked to watch on TV. She mentioned a programme she had enjoyed but hadn’t seen it all, remembering it was called ‘The Crown’. I did some research and realised it was on Netflix. With her consent I organised for her to have Netflix installed and when I visited her again, I found her thrilled to have discovered there were 4 seasons of it and she was happily binge watching it! She made great progress with us.”

 

Sami’s story: 

“A client I was visiting was finding isolation very hard and was feeling scared with all the news on TV about COVID-19. She needed the security of her family and they arranged for her to move up country to stay with them. She was worried about stopping at the motorway services and being at risk of picking up the virus and thought it best to take some snacks and drinks for the journey. She didn’t have much in the house to pack up and so, on moving day, I bought her some snacks and a reusable water bottle with a straw as her leaving gift from me. It was warmly received and hopefully made her a little less anxious about the journey.”

 

Julie’s story:

“I was visiting a gentleman who was struggling with his health. He was 99 years old and coming up to his 100th birthday at the end of June. I wanted to make his birthday special as I knew I would be visiting him that morning.

His daughter had spoken to one of our team leaders and expressed that her dad had become very low in mood & feels like he’s ‘giving up’ but she had arranged a small surprise celebration at his home for his 100th birthday, which she hoped would boost him up again.

It certainly did! He received over 100 cards, including the one from me, and the balloons I bought him brought a huge smile to his face. He was visited by some friends and family – from a distance – and he even had a film crew there and made in onto the local news on TV!”

 

Eddy Broadhurst’s story (Occupational Therapist):

“During these unusual times, our ways of working have needed to be reconsidered and adjusted, especially joint working; in order to ensure guidelines are adhered to amidst working in a pandemic. I feel technology – particularly video chat platforms have allowed me to do this.

“I completed a joint virtual home visit to complete an Occupational Therapy assessment with a client. The client returned home from hospital and now needs to use a wheelchair at all times and was not able to access essential facilities around their home.

“With the virtual presence of OT and the physical support of a Reablement Team Leader we were able to obtain the client’s strengths and needs, observe the client around their home and gather essential measurements of the home and their wheelchair in order to inform the next steps. I established the client would benefit from major home adaptations of doorway widening and ramped access to ensure safe and independent access to essential facilities and the community. I was able to complete the necessary paperwork and sent it to the client via email. They were able to apply an electronic signature which I then sent to the relevant District Council to be processed as an urgent recommendation.”

 

Tell us your social work story at stories@socialworkawards.com telling us your name, job, contact details and social care number (just so we know you’re a social worker, we will keep it private).

Resources for social workers