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BASW tribute to Bob Holman

Bob Holman social worker, community-based activist, author and respected academic has died aged 79 after suffering from motor neurone disease.

Bob alongside his wife, Annette devoted his life to meeting the social, emotional and physical needs of deprived communities, initially at Southdown in Bath, before moving to Glasgow where the couple founded Family Action in Rogerfield and Easterhouse (FARE).

A lifelong BASW member, Bob worked tirelessly to tackle poverty and the inequalities of society, informing the Association’s opposition to the 1975 Children Act.

Bob’s outstanding contribution to social work was recognised formally by England’s Social Worker of the Year Awards in 2015 and again at the Scottish Association of Social Work (SASW) Awards in April this year. Here the couple were awarded with the prestigious ‘Lifetime Achievement in Social Work Award’ as testimony to the dedication they had given to the communities they lived in, especially Easterhouse in Glasgow.

The award celebrated Bob and Annette’s ‘efforts to make the pursuit of social justice come alive through real and sustainable action’, and ‘the struggle towards a society which is more equal and therefore more humane’ as a consistent feature within their work, writing, public statements and contact with people.

Speaking about Bob and Annette’s lifelong work former BASW Vice Chair Maggie Mellon stated: “Whenever I have had a little wobble about being a social worker or despaired of how much we seem to have lost our way, I remember Bob and Annette – the impact they’ve had and the commitment they’ve shown – and get my motivation and inspiration back.

“If Bob had only had that impact in Easterhouse itself, that would be enough for anyone in a lifetime. But he had an impact so much wider than that.”

“His passion for the cause and the difference Bob made will be his legacy and one which is an inspiration to all who aspire to be and remain true social workers.”

BASW Chair Guy Shennan, saddened by this news shared his feelings with membership: “Bob Holman was a great social worker, great campaigner and great man. RIP Bob Holman.”

Click here to read the tribute to Bob Holman in The Guardian.