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"Life-changing" social workers honoured at national ceremony

A group of social workers praised as “inspiring” have been honoured for their dedication and outstanding work at the 12th annual Scottish Association of Social Work awards.

The awards ceremony took place on World Social Work Day (19th March) at the Ghillie Dhu in Edinburgh. Speakers included Minister for Children and Young People Maree Todd, MSP, who commended the “determination, creativity, skills and values” of all the nominees and praised social workers across the country for their “tireless” efforts.

Maree Todd MSP, Scottish Minister

Awards were made in four categories: Social Worker of The Year, Social Work Student of The Year, Social Work Team of The Year and Practice Teacher of The Year. Special awards were also issued to two social workers whose impact had been praised by people they supported.

Morag Ranson, a Children and Families social worker for Fife council was named Social Worker of the Year. She was described as: “A caring and compassionate worker who is open, honest and consistent with children and young people and other professionals”. Judges were impressed with her commitment to social work values and people’s rights.

Perth and Kinross Council’s Family Change Team won Social Work Team of the Year and were described as: “An extremely valuable service which offers a safe space and focuses on children and families, as well as professionals and others who have a part to play”. The judges found it refreshing that, in a climate where many initiatives come and go, this small part time service have survived for over 22 years.

Professor Viviene Cree, emeritus professor of social work at the University of Edinburgh was also honoured with a lifetime achievement award in recognition of the impact she has made in her career.

Trisha Hall, SASW National Director, said: “This year we had more award nominations than ever before – that’s testament to the excellent social work going on across Scotland today. As we heard tonight, when social work is at its best it can form genuinely life changing relationships with children, adults and families. All the nominees and winners should be hugely proud of their work.”

Jo McFarlane, mental health activist and SASW Ambassador said: “As someone who has been fortunate to benefit from the support of a dedicated social worker over 17 years, I know only too well the life-changing and indeed life-saving difference social workers make. I wouldn’t be here otherwise. Every one of us, whether client or social worker, understands the power of relationships, above all else, to heal those who have been hurt.”

The full list of winners are as follows:

  •  Social Worker of the Year:  Morag Ranson, Children & Families, Fife Council
  •  Social Work Team of the Year: Family Change Team Consultation Services, Perth & Kinross Council
  •  Social Work Student of the Year: Calum Glasgow, University of Strathclyde
  •  Practice Teacher of the Year: Eddie McAuley, Learning Network West
  •  Lifetime Achievement for Social Work Award: Professor Viviene Cree       
  • Special Recognition by Users of Services: Edward McKim and Katie Matthews
  • Special Award Best Practice Equality & Diversity: Lorraine Ward, Asylum and Roma Team at the Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership