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BASW Chair blog: Gerry Nosowska

“I’m not leaving till I’ve joined” – some of the feedback I experienced at Community Care Live shows why BASW is so relevant

A few weeks ago I spent a day helping out at the BASW stall at Community Care Live in London.

I heard from members, old and new, and want to share some of the things that struck me about why social workers join and stay in BASW.

“I joined as a student and have been a member ever since”

People join to be part of something bigger, to uphold social work and social work values. Universities and educators play a big part in this, introducing people to what BASW does.

“I joined for support and protection”

Social workers need back up and may not get this – particularly when they work independently. The pressures on services and its consequences lead people to join. This isn’t just about insurance and advice and representation. It’s also about peer support, being with likeminded people and access to learning.

“What’s going on with the regulator?”

Social workers want us to stand up for the profession, influence people’s views and to ensure that what happens in social work is led by social workers. People asked about a range of developments in social work and welcomed information about how BASW is working to influence policy.

“I’m here because a colleague recommended it”

It’s great to hear the value that social workers place on their peer’s advice. People come along when others suggest it or when they see someone taking part in BASW’s branches, groups or activities.

“I want to get involved in BASW’s work”

Some people asked straight out about how they can change things through our campaigns. They want to jump in and get involved in improving working conditions, increasing time with children and families or booting out austerity.

“Can I have one of those?”

People gravitated to the Code of Ethics and Professional Social Work magazine on the stall. There is a real appetite for what makes social work different and to find out what is going on with our profession. It is a commitment – financial and personal – to be part of BASW. I am inspired by this commitment, and it deserves the best possible reciprocation, so members can realise all the potential that BASW has.