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Stories of social work on World Social Work Day 2020

Promoting the Importance of Human Relationships

Stories from BASW Members of World Social Work Day 2020

Jane, Practice Educator

"I am an off-site PE. I have just had supervision with my student by phone rather than meeting up. A very productive hour. We were able to focus much better than in a busy office!"

A message from IFSW

"#WSWD2020 Today, relationships are more important than ever during these unprecedented times. Working together with those who need our services, families, our communities and other professional colleagues, doing what is needed. Stay strong stay safe. Thank you"

@emckay19, Social Well-Being Lead at OSS Dept of Health NI

"Proud to share stories of how social work in NI improves & safeguards social well-being in our new publication Social Work - the real stories behind the headlines"

BASW member and Principal Social Worker for Adults at North Somerset Council, Ric Orson, provides a thoughtful blog of social work and human relationships in the face of coronavirus

Isabelle Trowler, Chief Social Worker for England (Children & Families).

"#WSWD2020 SWs across the world today will be doing everything they can to help in public service. @vickyford & everyone at @educationgovuk are working hard with sector leaders to ensure that the right support is provided asap to those working with vulnerable children."

Message from David Jones, Chair of BASW International Committee

Phil Mitchell, BASW Cymru Professional Officer

"I went shopping yesterday. Nothing startling there; I have it down to a fine art now; in, get what I need and straight out again. The ‘man’ style of shopping as my partner pejoratively calls it.

Only yesterday was different. Yesterday was like the Christmas rush of full aisles and emptying shelves but without the anticipatory pleasure of a full belly, over indulging on After Eights and a lovely snooze at some point in the day. Instead there was the quiet murmur of panic buying, muted ‘what if’ conversations and more vocal condemnations of mysterious others, because it’s always someone else doing the wrong thing, never us.

The Coronavirus is having a massive impact already and this will continue for some time yet. As social workers, we know we are not exempt and we recognise that we will be on the front line of delivering care to those in need, coming under pressure like never before.

So, on World Social Work Day (WSWD) it’s more critical than ever to remind ourselves of who we are as social workers and why we are there. Clichés exist because they remind us of something that is true, in all circumstances and at all times. The cliché response to a ‘Why do you want to be social worker‘ question, for a hopeful social work student is…’to help people’ and unless I am hopelessly out of touch, that’s still the majority drive and impulse of all of us who are already studying and practising.

We exist to support those people who don’t have a voice, who aren’t heard, who fall to the wayside in the dash to buy as many loo rolls and hand sanitisers as can fit in the supermarket trolley. We are there to be alongside those who wider society sees a ‘problem’ to be solved, a box to be ticked or a saving to be made. We look at the barriers that exist to equal participation and we find ways to make alliances or, in the wonderfully memorable words of the Social Work, Cats and Rocket Science team, become accomplices, with all that entails.

Inevitably, we need to keep an eye on the assessment forms, the care plans, the reviews. We are, rightly, duty bound to apply legislation, we should imbibe the Codes of Practice and we should be able to quote principles and statutory guidance. But we do so, not in a vacuum of paperwork with no actual value, but as defenders of social justice and advocates of meaningful change. Paraphrasing Lily Tomlin, the social worker doesn’t ask, ‘why doesn’t someone do something about this’, the social worker is that someone.

We are Human Rights champions who understand the value of Human Relationships to make a real and positive difference. We recognise we are part of a community, not just as social workers, but as individuals and with families of our own. We do that by working together, in our teams, across professions and with families and we use our skills, our learning and our knowledge in the service of others. 

World Social Work Day is a celebration of being radical, because it is, bizarrely, radical to want to achieve change. Together, we remember what we have achieved, we consider what we could achieve and in the uncertainties that lie ahead, we take pride in what we will do. "

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