SWU Blog: Please join SWU and donate to the SWBT
General Secretary of the Social Workers Union (SWU) John McGowan urges social workers to do what they can, if they can
Over the past few weeks, we have all had to make massive changes to the way we live our lives to protect ourselves and those around us from Coronavirus. It is no coincidence that recent applications from social workers to the Social Workers’ Benevolent Trust (SWBT) have significantly increased over the last 7 weeks due to the financial impact of the coronavirus on individual social workers and their families.
I am pleased therefore to be supporting the terrific work of the Social Workers’ Benevolent Trust through this difficult time with a donation of 25% of my salary this month which will additionally be matched from the Social Workers Union. Personally, I am in a fortunate position of myself and my wife continuing to work, educate family at home, pay our bills, purchase food, and pay the family mortgage.
Indeed, like most of society the lockdown has meant no nights out, travel, leisure shopping, holidays or indeed opportunities to do all the fun activities that we enjoy. Regardless, all our personal situations differ, and I heard recently about some of the personal hardships on social workers with family salaries lost, as well as sickness, resulting in real hardship.
If you are able, then please join me and donate to the SWBT if you can. A small donation will make a huge difference and it will go directly to social workers in need. The SWBT was established as an independent charity in 1971 on the initiative of the British Association of Social Workers. It remains independent with its own trustees. The Trust offers financial help to social workers and their dependents in times of hardship.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about huge changes to all our daily lives as we all make huge personal and work changes to follow the advice from the UK governments and NHS bodies to try and limit the spread of the virus. As well as being a threat to our physical health the virus remains a significant feature in the ongoing stress and anxiety for busy social workers particularly as key workers.
The effect of having to take time off if a social worker, or a member of their household, has symptoms of Coronavirus, means that many social workers are experiencing hardship when experiencing sickness, bereavement, family difficulties and the wider impact of managing aspects of the coronavirus.
With some Local Authorities reporting sickness absence rates of up to 30%, there is no doubt that the Coronavirus is having a profound impact on our profession and on individual social workers and their families. Social work, weakened by years of declining real-terms public funding and rising demand, has further been struggling from the impact of the virus. As a result, many service users and staff have been unprotected, fatally vulnerable and poorly accounted for their contributions until now.
In a just and compassionate society, we all rely on one another for support in difficult times, within communities, acting together through national and local government systems, as well as through charitable responses such as the SWBT. Social workers face challenges staying resilient in the face of rising costs and income loss due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Our social work members continue to be supported by the skilled Advice and Representation team. Never before have social workers really needed the support of a union and a professional association who are dedicated and knowledgeable about social work.