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Blog: ‘Thinking and talking about BASW’s heritage prompted me to reflect on my own heritage and life in social work’

Nick Lovell, member of the BASW UK Heritage Steering Group and BASW Cymru, provides a personal reflection on how social work has been a fundamental part of his life and own heritage

Although I have been involved with BASW in numerous roles for the past twenty years or so, a spontaneous phone call to Gaby, the Heritage Project Coordinator, in response to her request for material for the project led to me being part of the Steering Group.

When I read about the call out for material for the Heritage Project, I had a sudden realisation that social work has been a part of my entire life, not just the 33 years since I qualified. My mum trained to be a psychiatric social worker around 1951, well before I was a twinkle in anyone’s eye. After one of her frequent sort outs mum had given me her copies of The British Journal of Psychiatric Social Work, the earliest being from 1947 and coincidentally, the latest from 1970. I thought that these may be of interest to the project. 

I grew up in a family where social justice and equality were always prominent; perhaps not the norm for the sixties and early seventies but my mum was a social worker of the sixties when radical social work was very much in vogue. 

Most of my mum’s career was in what would now broadly be CAMH’s services, at one time in the past it was termed as Child Guidance services and as a lecturer on a CQSW course. 

My dad was not a social worker but a mechanical engineer, however his views on societal values were, and still are, kept in check by mum who remains a staunch advocate of social work and its ethics. My mum is 93 and my dad 92.

My younger brother Simon was born with a severe learning disability, growing up in our family exposed me, my older brother Tim and younger sister Jo, who is a twin with Simon to a great deal of circumstances and situations that other families may not experience. These undoubtedly influenced my decisions about my life and career choice.

My mum recorded an Oral History for the Heritage Project which I was very privileged to be a part of and I am very much looking forward to being able to view the recording with her when it is released.

Nick Lovell, member of the BASW UK Heritage Steering Group and BASW Cymru