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Social workers from around the UK meet in Belfast to explore the importance of working across boundaries and borders

The British Association of Social Workers Northern Ireland (BASW NI) is delighted to welcome colleagues from across the UK to Northern Ireland, as its parent organisation—the British Association of Social Workers (BASW)—hosts its annual conference in Titanic Belfast.

Speaking ahead of the event, Carolyn Ewart, BASW NI National Director said: “Today’s conference is highly significant for the social work profession in Northern Ireland. It is the first time BASW has held its UK conference in the region and comes at a juncture where the social impacts of Brexit loom large. The political division and indecisiveness felt across the UK underscores the relevance of the conference’s theme of building strong, cooperative relationships to support work across boundaries and borders.

“The conference agenda will include opportunities for delegates to learn about the role of social workers in supporting Syrian refugees in Northern Ireland, and how our profession is responding, across the UK, to support asylum seeker families and individuals with no access to benefits. Colleagues will also hear social workers recount their experiences of working during The Troubles, ensuring we as a profession learn from these challenges, enabling us to better support colleagues working in societies marred by conflict.”

Speaking about the theme of the conference, BASW Chair, Gerry Nosowska said: “Social workers play an important part in overcoming divisions and ensuring people are included in communities. This conference in Belfast is a great opportunity for us to share learning across the UK and beyond, and continue to improve how social work supports people.”

Conference attendees will listen to presentations delivered by the Chief Social Workers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on the role of social workers in promoting cohesive and integrated societies.

Speaking before his presentation, Sean Holland, Chief Social Work Officer at the Northern Ireland Department for Health said: “I am delighted that so many social workers are coming to Belfast from across the UK today.  The theme of this conference is very important, particularly in the context of the unknown implications of Brexit, austerity, widening inequality, rise in hate crimes in many areas and the migration and displacement of peoples across the globe. Many of the people that social workers work with, are dealing with difficult and complex issues that require a multi faceted approach. It is the role of social workers to use their skills and values to cross the boundaries and borders that can divide people in many ways and create inclusive outcomes for the people who use our services, their families, and to support social cohesion across society.”  


Contact—Andy McClenaghan, BASW NI Public Affairs and Communications Officer on +447702517560 /

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