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#WSWM22: Reflecting on BASW Cymru's opening week

BASW Cymru National Director Allison Hulmes reflects on the first week of World Social Work Month 2022

BASW Cymru was proud to start the month of celebrations for World Social Work Month 2022. Our week included a special Communities of Practice session and a drop-in event for members of the Senedd to learn more about our profession and the challenges it faces.

'Now is as important time as ever for social workers to have a strong sense of professional identity'

We began our events on St David’s day, a special day for us in Wales, with a community of practice facilitated by BASW Cymru ambassador Dr Neil Thompson, who focussed on social work identity.

Now is as important a time as ever for social workers to have a strong sense of professional identity. The impact of the pandemic on direct face to face relational practice, challenged the identity of some social workers, when undertaking complex social work assessments and therapeutic work over an online platform, because to them, it didn’t ‘feel’ like social work. In reality, social workers were digging deep into the core of their skills, knowledge, values, problem solving, resourcefulness and empathy – they were being social workers!

As a skilled communicator, Dr Neil Thompson created a safe and open space where a warm and curious conversation organically emerged. We were all sorry to leave the event, although we were grateful for the opportunity to come together as social workers in Wales and celebrate our unique identity.

A huge thanks to Meryl Williams, BASW Cymru Professional Officer, whose commitment make the communities of practice sessions the success they are.

BASW Cymru at the Senedd drop-in session

Meeting with members of the Senedd to make our social work voice heard

Our second event was a drop in held at Ty Hywel in Cardiff, where Members of the Senedd, their support staff and staff of the Senedd Commission work. The drop in was an opportunity for Members of the Senedd to learn about some of the challenges for social work and social workers in Wales and to hear directly from our members.

Our national director Allison Hulmes was accompanied by committee members Sarah-Jane Waters (our co-production lead and chair of Cardiff University expert by experience group), Abyd Quinn-Aziz (Programme Director on the social work master’s course, Cardiff University), Matthew Davies and Karan Gupta (social work students and bursary campaign leads).

We were kept busy from the moment we arrived at Ty Hywel, with Members of the Senedd keen to speak with us. We were informed that all members of the health and social care committee attended our session, a clear example of the effectiveness of BASW Cymru’s communication with the committee. The Members of Senedd listened intently to us, asked lots of questions and expressed their support for our profession.

Matthew Davies and Allison Hulmes were also called upon to help draft a follow-up question to one we had tabled on the bursary campaign (for Jack Sergeant MS who has taken a keen interest in the campaign) that afternoon, a great example of direct influence in action!

Later that afternoon when Jack Sergeant MS asked the bursary question in the Senedd, he was able to say that he had heard directly from social work students earlier in the day, about the financial hardships they face due to a lack of parity in bursaries with nurses and allied health professionals in Wales.

A wonderful week to start World Social Work Month

It has been a wonderful week of events and we are grateful to Dr Neil Thompson who gives his time and energy to the profession in Wales because he has an unwavering belief in the importance of social work. We would also like to give thanks to Rhun ap Iorwerth, MS who sponsored our Senedd drop-in and who also came along to lend his support and hear directly from our members.

Finally, our sincerest thanks go to all of the social workers who joined us to make this such a special week.

BASW England is leading next week's activities - find out more and book your place now!