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The Social Workers Union appoints two new SWU Ambassadors

Harry Venning and Emma Lewell-Buck will become SWU’s newest Ambassadors in October 2021

The Social Workers Union (SWU) has appointed two new union Ambassadors who will promote SWU, social work, and social workers. These individuals have embraced the spirit of SWU and will be involved with promoting SWU’s values and campaigns as determined by the executive committee.

Harry Venning and Emma Lewell-Buck will commence their roles as SWU Ambassadors on October 18th which is the day 10 years ago when SWU obtained our trade union licence. We are very pleased to welcome them to the team. The Ambassador appointment lasts for two years with the possibility of renewal.

Emma Louise Lewell-Buck is a Labour Party MP and is South Shields’ first female MP. Prior to becoming an MP, Emma was a child protection social worker and a Cabinet member for adult social services in her local authority. She joined the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger and Food Poverty and in 2017 introduced a Private Members' Bill – the Food Insecurity Bill – that sought to require the Government to monitor and report on food insecurity.

Emma has expressed concern about the large number of children in care and how government cuts to support services has contributed to this, saying, “The government is missing valuable opportunities to keep children in the care of their families. Not only does that add pressure to budgets already decimated by austerity, it also leaves children and their families with deep and enduring emotional scars.”

Emma spoke at the SWU Fringe 2019 event in Manchester with a message of solidarity and support for social workers. She closed her speech by saying, "Despite this Government’s best efforts, the profession survives. Excellent social work happens every single day in all areas of our country. Children and adults are protected from harm and their lives are improved. I want to thank you all for what you do. I am proud to be a social worker."

Harry Venning is an award-winning cartoonist, illustrator, and comedy writer best known for creating the Clare in the Community cartoon strip following the life of a social worker and a BBC Radio 4 sitcom starring Sally Phillipps. He has won UK Cartoon Art Trust Strip Cartoonist of the Year and the Sony Radio Comedy Award. 

How impoverished the British social work scene would be without his superb artwork and rich sense of humour! A weekly contributor to THE GUARDIAN with the CLARE IN THE COMMUNITY strip, his work has also appeared in THE MAIL ON SUNDAY, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH, INDEPENDENT, SUNDAY TIMES, THE STAGE, and RADIO TIMES as well as publications in Canada, Switzerland, South Africa, and New Zealand – plus books, lots of books.  Harry is also a member of the exclusive CARTOONIST CLUB OF GREAT BRITAIN with work displayed in the Cartoon Museum, London.

Speaking about the new Ambassadors, General Secretary of SWU John McGowan said, ‘This is the second time we have reached out for Ambassadors to represent the union and it builds on recent recruits such as Dr Neil Thompson and Professor Jermaine Ravalier. The union continues to grow every day as the only specialist union for social workers and our new ambassadors are well placed to share all the positive work we do with a range of audiences. The calibre of these recent recruits once more emphasises the important place we have as one of the largest growing specialist unions in the UK, which is a feat we have achieved in a relatively short time frame.’