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BASW England to sponsor annual ‘Thank You Social Workers’ event

Maris Stratulis, National Director at BASW England, reflects on the incredible collective contribution of social workers in a year defined by the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement.

BASW England is honoured to be the corporate Sponsor of the Social Worker of the Year Awards, which this year will be a virtual ‘Thank You Social Workers’ event. 

This is a major event in the social work calendar - and more than ever it is important that we celebrate the unique contribution and diversity of the social work community.

The impact of the brutal death of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter Movement and the pandemic has been far-reaching - and it is important that we also take time to remember those who have lost their lives in the UK and overseas, including dearly treasured and loved colleagues, their families and friends.

These unprecedented times have affected every one of us; our families, friends, social work students, practitioners, leaders across the sector and especially the people we work with.

Social workers have worked selflessly and without question to deliver critical services, support and work ‘with’ citizens and partnership organisations in local communities during these incredibly challenging times – and continue to do so.

BASW would like to thank you and all our social care colleagues, families, and carers for supporting, caring, and using your skills and expertise to support others – small acts of kindness make all the difference. 

The Awards are also about courage, bravery, going the extra mile and the incredible ‘collective’ contribution that each of you have made in these challenging times and for challenging inequality, racism, and oppression. 

This year is about celebrating the ‘collective’ contribution of ‘all’ and on behalf of BASW and BASW England we would like to thank you for the incredible work that you have been doing day in day out since the last Award ceremony, pre and during the pandemic.

Your stories of innovation, creativity and hope have shone a light on the humility, kindness and compassion of a profession that is founded on core values of social justice and human rights.

I have had the privilege of hearing directly from people with lived experience, their carers and employers, about the value and contribution of the sector workforce - students, practitioners and leaders who have worked tirelessly with passion, dedication, motivation and humour (never forget the humour!) to diversify and creatively adapt the way they work in order to support the communities they serve. The measure of success is how individuals, families and communities judge, experience, and value what social workers do

Social workers share their unique skills, knowledge, commitment, and dedication in diverse roles across the public, voluntary, statutory, independent, and other sector areas in a broad range of fields of practice. This has been more than ever evident during the pandemic and it is a credit to ‘all’ that the Awards continue to recognise the rich contribution and diversity of the profession. 

BASW is committed to celebrating and supporting the importance of social workers bringing their values and expertise to diverse roles, working with communities, families, carers and partnership organisations to advocate, respond to and create changes to improve lives and support the creation of a better and more just society.

Social work needs to be reflective, challenging and responsive to the changing international and national context in we live in - we must continue to learn from each other, from the diverse communities we live and work in, and from the life experiences of others.

We must build on the strengths of what has worked well during the pandemic and learn from what has not to create a stronger community of social work practice and leadership based on shared learning.

One of the most important aspects of the awards is celebrating the social work profession in all its rich diversity, it brings together people starting out on their social work careers, educators, researchers, generic and specialist practitioners, social workers dedicated to long careers in direct practice, professional leaders and social workers who themselves have accessed and received services as people with lived experience.  We are one profession; a global profession and we value the important contribution of the people we work with.

The Awards recognise the shared qualities, skills, knowledge and experience of social workers – kindness, compassion, creativity, innovation, tenacity, staying power, commitment and a constant steadfast focus on quality, aspiration and sustainable outcomes for children, families, adults and the communities we serve.

A special call out of thanks to all social work students, Practice Educators and Placement Supervisors who have maintained momentum, gone the extra mile, and overcome many practical and challenging obstacles during the last nine to twelve months.

We need to respect the commitment of thousands of new entrants to the profession this year. We need to ensure that regardless of job role and place, social workers receive appropriate inductions, access to learning and continuous professional development, are enabled to work in a safe environment and be supported to feel safe, including access to and provision of emotional and wellbeing support through supervision and employee support schemes. Social workers need to be given time to maintain strong peer relationship and collective professional identity. This will only happen through partnership between social work leaders and organisations and employers. 

The Awards is one of the places we all come together to share common purpose and a commitment to improving social work - and great working conditions for social work practice - across the country. We must nurture and support the future generation of social workers and ensure our professional identity is sustained.

The way that the sector has responded to the pandemic has been incredible - but we must not underestimate the personal and professional impact of lockdown, different ways of working, and balancing work and personal life challenges for individuals, communities and social workers.

Public services have experienced many years of austerity, cuts in funding and the pandemic has starkly highlighted many inequalities including poverty, exclusion, and isolation. Social workers are having to be more flexible and creative than ever, adapting to an ever-changing landscape of national, regional, and local policies and guidance that directly impacts upon practice and delivery of services. Upholding excellent professional standards, maintaining core social work values and ethics, and embedding relationship-based practice is at the heart of what good social work looks like.

I am proud to be a social worker, proud of the profession and these Awards highlight the individual and collective dedication, passion, honour, and privilege of being one profession.

‘Thank You Social Workers’ event 2020

Social Work Awards, the charity behind the annual Social Worker of the Year Awards ceremony, has announced that it will be hosting a live virtual event for social workers on Thursday 26 November, 4pm to 5pm

The special ‘Thank You Social Workers’ event will reflect on the unique challenges and give recognition to the bravery and dedication of social workers throughout Covid-19.

Tickets will be free of charge and pre-registration (which will be essential) will open from Monday 19 October.

Social workers are invited to contribute to the event through sharing their own stories and experiences of working during these challenging times.

Visit the Social Work Awards website for details

Maris Stratulis, National Director at BASW England, reflects on the incredible collective contribution of social workers in a year defined by the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement.