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MLA Becomes a Social Worker for a Day

South Down MLA, Colin McGrath, has risen to the challenge of becoming a ‘Social Worker for a day’. 

Mr McGrath joined social workers from the Child and Family Social Work Team based in Newcastle Community Services as part of an event run in partnership by the British Association of Social Workers Northern Ireland (BASW NI) and the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust. The visit provided an opportunity for Colin to learn more about the important role social workers play in keeping vulnerable children and young people safe, as well as the support they provide to parents to improve the wellbeing of families in the locality.

During the visits, Mr McGrath met social work staff and managers who outlined the work they undertake on a daily basis and showcased recent developments in their work to promote improved engagements with children and families. Mr McGrath also spent time with service users to learn about their experiences of working with social workers to improve outcomes for their families.

Speaking about his experience Mr McGrath said, “‘It was a great opportunity to meet with and observe the work of local social workers in their day to day working environment.

“This has helped me to gain an understanding and appreciation of the pressures that social workers face on a daily basis. 

“I am always struck by the professional and diligent approach by social workers across all the sectors they work in and observe the personal investment of time and commitment they put in to the work they do.”

Speaking following the visits, BASW NI Professional Officer, Martina Jordan said: “We are delighted Colin was able to take part in today’s event. Social workers play a vital role in improving outcomes in people’s lives, keeping people safe and supporting families. Events like today’s provide a useful insight into the challenging work undertaken by social workers and it was tremendously helpful to be able to guide Colin through the various aspects of Children’s Services to highlight the positive difference social workers make.”     

I wish to thank both Colin for his willingness to participate in today’s event, and the Trust for facilitating the engagement with its social work teams.”

Sheila Simons from the South Eastern Health and Social Care trust said: “My colleagues and I are delighted that Mr McGrath took time out of his busy schedule to gain a better understanding of this challenging area of social work.

“The visits have helped Colin gain an in-depth insight into the challenging role social workers perform in a front-line safeguarding team promoting the well-being of children and young people. The event has also provided an opportunity for service users to explain, in their own words, about the positive difference social workers have made to their families.”



Notes to Editors

  • The British Association of Social Workers is the largest professional body for social workers across the UK. The Association has over 21,000 members employed in frontline, management, academic and research positions in all care settings.


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