Social workers recognised at SASW awards ceremony in Edinburgh

The outstanding achievement of three social workers was recognised when Children and Young People Minister Aileen Campbell presented the SASW Social Work Awards earlier today.

The awards are held each year by the Scottish Association of Social Work to celebrate the people who work – day in, day out – to help people to change their lives.

They will be presented by Ms Campbell at a special reception to be held in the Grassmarket Community Project, Edinburgh, to coincide with World Social Work Day 2014.

Rhoda Harper (pictured), a Social Worker with the Children and Families Team at Argyll and Bute Council, has been named “Social Worker of the Year” for her management style and ability as an all-round practitioner.

Rhoda was asked at short notice to take on the role of Acting Team Leader to help a neighbouring team through a period of major change. She supported this by making sure workers had the leadership and guidance to practise to the best of their ability.

Her calm and thoughtful management style and efforts to help workers develop their practice saw significant improvements in the quality of assessments and care plans completed by the team during the six months she was there.

Bill Blyth, a Service Manager at Aberlour Child Care Trust’s Sycamore Services, has been awarded “Residential Care Worker of the Year” for his tireless efforts in offering guidance and support to children and young people in need.

Bill has worked at Sycamore, a community-based cluster of residential, education and fostering services based in Kirkcaldy, for more than 20 years. For Bill, the kids always come first and he practises what he preaches every day.

A colleague said of him: “Commitment is a common theme when describing Bill. His ongoing professional drive to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable children and families, not only at Sycamore but in the wider field of social care, is commendable and highly regarded.”

Susie Allison, who is the final year of a BA(Hons) in Social Work with the Open University, is our “Student Social Worker of the Year” for her outstanding work while on placement with Dumfries and Galloway Council.

During her time there, she showed an enthusiasm for learning, commitment to service users and honesty in reflecting the emotional impact of the work which is an example to other students and workers.

Applying theory to practice, she gathered information about service users in one area and found a solution that had an “astounding” impact. Users had better outcomes, patients needing to be discharged from hospital benefitted and NHS staff were freed to return to their duties.

Aileen Campbell, Minister for Children and Young People, said: “Social work is truly life changing work and is one of the most demanding and complex tasks which we as a society ask any group of people to do on our behalf.

“All of those in the profession should be proud of the work they do. I congratulate all of the nominees and winners of the awards.”

Trisha Hall, Social Worker and Manager of SASW, said: “We are proud to host these awards as once again we have been humbled and impressed by what social workers are achieving in Scotland today.

“These people have influenced the lives of many and represent a profession which aims to do so in communities throughout the country. There are stories of people who did not want any contact with social work but are now telling others what a difference their relationship with the worker has made.”

The winners will each receive a trophy to keep, a weekend break in Europe and a year’s free membership of SASW.