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BASW Cymru Heritage Project

2020-21 is an important year for BASW and we want to celebrate this throughout the year by capturing the essence of social work in Wales. We want to ensure that we capture this important year by celebrating social work. To do so we need your involvement and participation. This year is about us, all of us as past, present and future social workers in Wales.

We want to celebrate social work and to focus on the positives. One of our intentions is to engage with the public to remedy the misinterpretation society has about social work and celebrate the positive impact that social work intervention has on people who need support.

This year is a celebration of 50 years as BASW. BASW was inaugurated on 24th April 1970. The organisations that came together to form the new body were: The Institute of Medical Social Workers (previously known as almoners); The Association of Psychiatric Social Workers; The Association of Child Care Officers; The Association of Social Workers (non-specialised social work.); The Association of Moral Welfare Workers (working mainly with unmarried mothers and their children); The Society of Mental Welfare Officers; The Association of Family Caseworkers (mainly working with families). The members of the National Association of Probation Officers decided not to join the new organisation. And so, BASW was born.

Here in BASW Cymru, we want to consider the development of social work over the past 50 years. We can’t do this without you. There are many ways that you can help. This is all part of your history; your experiences; your journey. We want to hear from you. We want your contributions.

So, how can you help? The following are areas that we are hoping to develop.

1. We want to develop a Timeline of social work in Wales over the past 50 years. This will include the identification of legislation, policy, significant events, people and places in Wales.

2. We want to consider the buildings across our country which has been significant as part of the history of social work. These could vary from large institutions, such as Denbigh hospital, Ely hospital, old workhouses, etc. They could be Local Authority bases – in fact anything that tells the story of social work across our country through time – and of its importance to you in your social work journey. Along with the buildings or statues, comes the narrative that makes this a significant landmark.

3. We are renowned across Wales as being the land of song. Music has played a huge part in our country and our heritage. We want to hear from you the music that was prominent in your life and which may have had an impact on your decision to become a social worker, or throughout your career. Were there Welsh musicians who were significant? Were there any bands whose messages you identified with, or shaped your life and career, such as Bob Marley and his fight for justice and peace?

It may be that there are musicians and bands which reflect your culture. For example, what was the music that became popular as a result of the Windrush generation coming to Wales – what impact did this have?

4. Culture – what has been the impact of becoming a multi-cultural nation? What are your experiences as practitioners? What are, and have been the challenges and successes, faced by Black, Asian, Minority ethnic social workers? Have conditions and culture changed over the years?

5. People - who are the people who have been significant in the history of social work in Wales? Can be nationally, but what about personally? Who has been significant and why in your perspective?

6. Events – what have been the key events in the history of social work across Wales? These can vary from major ones, such as the North Wales Child Abuse enquiry ; Towyn floods; Mental Handicap strategy. However, it can be those events which shaped your social work journey.

There are a number of different ways that we want to capture and compile this information:

  • Exhibition material/boards – actual ones and virtual ones
  • Oral histories – your account of your experiences. For example, we want to hear from social workers from the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic cultures both currently and in the past. We want to explore the changes they have experienced as practitioners over the years. We want to capture the changes there have been across social work experiences, e.g. changes there have been in mental health training across the past 50 years. We want to explore the impact there has been in practising in our own language – what impact has this had on you as a social worker and on the people that we have worked with. Will you be involved in this? We need to hear the voice of social workers across Wales.
  • Artefacts – what do you have that reflects your own journey? For example, do you still have your first mental health warrant?
  • Stories or reflections on why you became a social worker. What motivated you?

Please think about how you can contribute. This is about our collective journey in social work across Wales over the past 50 years. Please contact us with your views, ideas etc. on