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Winners of BASW Cymru Awards demonstrate the positive reality of how social work changes lives

Keynote speakers at the fourth annual BASW Cymru Awards lined up to emphasise the importance of the event and what the work of both the nomineees and winners says about the state of social work in Wales.

BASW Chief Executive Bridget Robb said that the media's assessment of social work made her "wonder what planet they're on" and that the awards offered a more accurate picture of the contribution social workers make to people's lives. "We’re not alone in that as there are a lot of other professions who are talked about in the same way, but it is dispiriting for us as social workers and also for those who use our services.

"Just like we have to put up with a sometimes hostile press, so many of the people who use social work services have to tolerate sometimes being dismisssed as 'ner do wells', or referred to as 'scroungers' or other terms of abuse.

"On night's like this we are standing up for ourselves because we are also standing up for the people we work with. It’s what brought us into social work. So yes we are celebrating our own social work but we are also celebrating the people we work with who are trying to improve their lives.

"We’re not just sitting back and letting ourselves be browbeaten by those who would put us down."

BASW Cymru Manager Robin Moulster congratulated all of the winners on their achievements, commenting: “Awards like these are so important in raising the profile of social work in Wales and encouraging people to consider the benefits of pursuing such a rewarding career themselves.”

Another speaker, Dr Neil Thompson, was on the judging panel for the awards. He told social workers and Assembly Members gathered at the event: “What I see far too much of, in my view, is negativity and low morale within social work. At this time we are struggling, going through a difficult time.

"So it is understandable that a lot of people struggle to remain positive, yet what came across from the judging panel is the high calibre of the work people are doing. It was a very difficult process to work out who got each award but what came across to us was the positivity and enthusiasm for social work of all those nominated.”

Dr Thompson also emphasised the importance of social workers showing professional leadership and not just leaving this to those in management positions. He urged social workers to advance their professional development, highlighting his agreement with BASW to offer members half price access to his online professional development programme