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Hello from Alison Bavidge, new National Director for Scotland

We are pleased to introduce Alison who joined the BASW Scotland team (SASW) at the beginning of October 2020

I am just finishing up my second day of working with BASW and my head hurts…in a good way. 

My journey to SASW has been a diverse one.

My social work career began after completing my MSW in 1996 at the University of Dundee, after three years working in residential childcare (which I jumped into in order to leave a job in the local Cleansing Department - long story…). 

Since then, I have worked with people across services for adults and justice and have also been involved in scrutiny and regulation.

Whilst most of my work has been within public sector organisations, I have spent some time in the voluntary sector - supporting people with visual impairment - and the not-for-profit sector, undertaking assessment of people applying to become foster carers.

If you ask me which area of social work I specialise in, I am very happy to acknowledge that I am more of a generalist.

What keeps me passionate about the work we do is the continual development of our understanding of how to help people who are struggling; how to support individuals who live in families and communities of diverse shapes with diverse experiences, aspirations and needs, and how to make sure that our politicians and policy makers understand the very real impact of their decisions.

I know everyone says this, but I do believe this is an exciting time. 

Black Lives Matter has followed the #MeToo movement in demanding that we take a hard look at our assumptions, behaviours, and privilege. 

As social workers, we have always known the necessity of being active in anti-oppressive work whilst using awareness and compassion to build meaningful mutual relationships. 

And now, how do we do all of that from our COVID bubbles with the pandemic’s effect on people, families, and communities, increasing levels of need and resources stretched even further than before? 

There are so many challenges, but this brings opportunities to reflect, prioritise and change.

Finally, a shout out to my new colleagues who have organised the best induction programme I have ever come across in quite challenging pandemic related circumstances. Thank you for your patience and warm welcome. 

I dropped into our Scottish Student & NQSW Support & Mentoring Group yesterday afternoon to say hello.  I was bowled over by the energy and interest coming through whilst really empathising with some of the struggles of starting a new course or job, setting up unfamiliar IT and getting into systems without the support that comes from sharing physical space with a new team.  I know SASW will continue to offer support to members who may feel exhausted and sometimes less than supported by their employing organisations as so many areas of the UK return to stricter distancing measures for the foreseeable future.

This is only day two of my life with BASW but I expect to be in the thick of it with our members soon, supporting workers’ wellbeing and campaigning for the key role of social work as we move through the next stages of the pandemic and (hopefully, soon) beyond. 

In the meantime, I really need to learn how to use an iPhone... 

Alison Bavidge, new National Director for Scotland