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BASW England announces new chair and committee members

The committee helps shape the direction and priorities of BASW England

BASW England is delighted to announce new appointments to its National Standing Committee (NSC).

Vava Tampa has been appointed to the role of chair, commencing January 2022.

Jackie MahoneyAndrew Reece and Anne Ademuwagun have been elected as new members to the committee, with Dominic Watters also joining as student representative.

BASW England extends its thanks to outgoing chair Andy Gill and outgoing vice-chair Angie Bartoli, for their dedication and hard work in their roles over the past four years. BASW England would also like to thank outgoing committee members Emma Grady, Rob Mitchell, Erin King and Jenni Burton.

The National Standing Committee is the membership governance group for BASW England. If you are interested in applying for the vice-chair role, please contact lisa.kennedy@basw.co.uk for more information.

'My vision for the future': Vava's comments following his appointment as BASW England chair

Vava Tampa has been appointed to the role of chair, commencing January 2022

Social justice and human dignity have been the central motifs of my life. I joined Amnesty International as an undergrad because of it. I have co-led two social justice campaigns in an attempt to realise it – and, fun fact, I have also been blocked on Twitter by the Rwandan dictator Paul Kagame because of it.

So, it’s no wonder I became a social worker – a vehicle I felt I could use in pursuit of social justice – but in a society that remains oppressive, unequal and patriarchal, what does “human dignity” look like? How should social workers respond to the climate crisis? How do we respond to male violence against women? How do we respond to the idea of black lives matter[ing]? There are questions that still trouble me – and this is why I applied to chair BASW’s National Committee.

My suggestion? We should embrace intersectional social work (with the way patriarchy, white supremacy and climate crisis perpetuate and exacerbate poverty, oppression and inequality at the heart of all we do). I am convinced that this will help make us even better social workers. I am also convinced that this will make our society and our world better and kinder. It will give social work an inspiring and enabling workplace and make BASW, which I joined back in 2019, a more effective and relevant social movement.

Qualifying in 2018, I started my career in modern-day slavery where I led a small team, running four safe houses across London where we cared for victims and survivors of human trafficking and modern-day slavery. I am currently a Clinical Team Lead in a London CMHT. I have also worked as Psych Liaison in a front-line London hospital – and I have had bouts of Home Treatment Team and First Response exposure.

Before all of these, I worked on peace building in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Africa’s great lakes region for over ten years – something that was dramatized in Adam Brace’s play “They Drink it in the Congo” and saw me featured in Paloma Faith’s “Warrior” music video. I have also worked as a freelance writer. My essays, opinions and exposé, which attempts to advocate for human dignity – with a particular interest in culture, decolonisation and Black Lives Matter[ing] – have appeared on TRT World, The Guardian and in several other outlets including Forbes Magazine and CNN International.

In my current role, I co-lead a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) responsible for over 400 service users with a range of severe and enduring mental illness in the community. It’s a rewarding role that is varied and challenging. No two days are the same, which I love. I also supervise, support and mentor colleagues. From these experiences, I feel I have gained insight, skills and attributes to offer.

I believe social work needs an intersectional approach to social justice, oppression, poverty, human rights and other vital social issues at the heart of our society right now – and I am excited to have been appointed as BASW’s National Committee chair. I have the time, energy and ideas to offer – and I look forward to meeting and working with you; supporting social workers, advancing social work and striving towards a better and kinder society and future for all.