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Supporting you as you support others: Social workers professional support service growing from strength to strength

Designed by and for social workers, provides a trusted space to work through and think about positive solutions for professional and personal challenges with an experienced ‘coach’

A service supporting the wellbeing of social workers through the pandemic using ‘peer-to-peer’ coaching is celebrating over a year in operation.

The Social Work Professional Support Service (SWPSS), a partnership between BASW and Strengthening Practice, uses volunteer 'coaches' – who all have a background in social work – to provide peer-to-peer support to clients around a range of issues and challenges.

SWPSS was set up in response to the pandemic and the pressures this placed on social workers – and has since gone from strength to strength, with over 350 social workers and students now signed up and the service expanding into Scotland.

Dominic is a social worker who has used the Social Work Professional Support Service. “It helped me overcome some issues I was facing – it’s so helpful having a space where you can reflect and receive guidance, from coaches who have real, relevant knowledge and experience.

“It’s a service that grew out of the [Covid-19] crisis, that wants to give back and support the profession – check it out, access it, sign up!”

The coaches who have volunteered with SWPSS are uniquely placed to use their own social work experience and background to support colleagues through both professional and personal challenges.

“We’re celebrating as a family, as a community of social workers, our commitment to this amazing profession,” said Annie, a volunteer coach. “I’ve had the opportunity to meet remotely with social workers in different parts of the country – together, we are stronger.”


Volunteer coaches are “backbone of the service”

“The service started from small beginnings, in the middle of the pandemic,” said Suzy Kitching MBE from Strengthening Practice. “It offers a space for self-care, with those who understand your role and recognise the impact the pandemic has had on those who care for others.”

“Our volunteer coaches are the backbone of the service - we’d like to thank each and every one of them for their selfless dedication to supporting their colleagues through difficult times.

“They model resilient ethical practice - they listen within your context, ask questions that bring insight into professional dilemmas and challenges.”

SWPSS provides a trusted space to work through and think about positive solutions – social workers, as well as employers, are encouraged to find out more about the service.

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