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Inspired by social work passion - BASW Chair reflects on austerity demo

At the end of a difficult week for the profession with the reiteration of plans to jail social workers for ‘wilful neglect’ and the announcement of the closure of the College of Social Work, BASW Chair Guy Shennan says he has been inspired by the social workers who took part in a national demonstration.

Guy and many BASW and SWU members marched alongside colleagues from the Social Work Action Network (SWAN), other social workers, social work academics, student social workers and their supporters, as a quarter of a million protestors descended on Westminster.

Guy Shennan said: “That was such a powerful demonstration. It was uplifting to experience such a positive protest at the end of a difficult and depressing week for social workers.

“I felt personally inspired by the coming together of so many social workers, from students to retired members, united by a common cause to stand up for social work and the people who rely on our services.

“My thanks to student social worker Kirk Lewis for organising the social work bloc and to my SWAN colleagues from across the country”.

Organised by the People’s Assembly, protestors marched from the Bank of England to Parliament Square to demand an end to the government’s austerity policies.

The sheer scale of the march meant the social work bloc made slow progress at times but spirits were kept high by music from a Hare Krishna ‘boogie bike’ and the sheer exhilaration of so many like-minded people gathered together.

Celebrity supporters Russell Brand, Charlotte Church and Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh all spoke out against the cuts at a rally in Parliament Square.  They were joined by Green MP Caroline Lucas, Labour leadership hopeful Jeremy Corbyn, and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness.

View images and tweets from the day HERE