Care Scheme Team Hailed For Work With Addict Babies

A project which helps care for babies born addicted to drugs in Edinburgh has scooped a major award. The city council-run Vulnerable Babies Project was among the winners in the Standard Life Edinburgh Achievement Awards. Run from the Springwell House Social Work Centre on Gorgie Road, the project helps prepare foster carers to look after babies born to drug addicted mothers. The children often experience withdrawal symptoms, called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, after becoming dependent on drugs in the womb. Latest figures show 40 babies are born every year in Edinburgh addicted to heroin.

After winning the Creativity in Care trophy plus £500, Ken Morrison, the senior social worker with the project, said he was delighted that the staff had seen their hard work rewarded. He said: “We’re all absolutely thrilled to have won this award. It isn’t very often that social work projects like us get recognised so we’re delighted to have our hard work rewarded in this way. All the staff have put their hearts into this project and it really has shown just how important care work like this actually is. What we’re doing here is really making a difference to the lives of these babies.”

Mr Morrison said the money won from the awards would be put back into the project, although he admitted staff had not yet decided what to use it for.

As well as offering support to foster carers, the project, which employs eight staff, provides training for social work and health staff as well as improving the babies’ transition into care.

Among the other award winners on the night was the Cowgate Under-5s Centre, which was praised for the “inspirational garden” that was created on its former tarmac playground. However, the award came as a mere a consolation for the nursery since the garden was torched in a sickening attack by vandals less than a month ago.

Launched seven years ago, the Standard Life Edinburgh Achievement Awards celebrate projects and initiatives involving staff and carers throughout the Children and Families Department at Edinburgh City Council.

The event was hosted by Councillor Andrew Burns, executive member for children and families, who said that the awards had shown the “incredible range” of projects in Edinburgh. He added: “It was exciting to take part in this year’s awards and to see the incredible range of innovative and exciting projects from across the entire department. It’s also satisfying to know that the hardworking people behind these projects are getting the recognition they deserve.”

Other winners included a migration project undertaken by Bruntsfield Primary School and a fashion show hosted by Sciennes Primary School.

An outstanding achievement award was also given to the Holy Rood/Lombeta Partnership carried out by Holy Rood High School, which promotes a school partnership between Edinburgh and Tanzania.