The 2018 Social Worker of the Year awards took place in London on Friday 30th November. Entries for this year's awards open on Wednesday 3rd April. #SWA19

Heather Kent, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Adult Social Worker of the Year



The judges noted that Heather, who has worked within Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust for the last 15 years, “stood out as a social worker within a diverse range of professionals”.


Two cases involving adults with severe multiple sclerosis amply demonstrate this quality. In one instance, Heather enabled a woman to remain at home until her death, and to enjoy the mealtimes with her family that had been such an important part of her life. In another, she helped a woman with no family to advocate for her obtain a new 24-hour care package, resisting pressure from medical professionals who argued she should be taken into care.


Another of Heather’s achievements is her development of the Macmillan social worker role within west Northumberland, after her employer gained investment from the charity. She has trained in and begun providing psychosocial support in end-of-life care, and has already been able to influence Macmillan service provision locally thanks to her extensive knowledge of community, voluntary and statutory stakeholders.


Within her team, Heather is described as being an “advisor, educator and supportive colleague”. A long involvement in social work education as a practice assessor and mentor completes an impressively rounded set of credentials.


What was said about Heather:

Impressive! She has established a strong professional presence within an integrated health and social care setting.  Excellent practice with clients and with providing professional practice leadership. Heather makes a significant contribution to the education and training of students and other social workers.” Lyn Romeo, Chief Social Worker for Adults


Heather has achieved a lot. She stood out as a social worker within a diverse range of professionals in a varied team but has been very positive in delivering practice in an environment which isn’t social care led.” Mark Harvey, Principal Social Worker, Hertfordshire County Council


To have someone just for me has been vital for my wellbeing, sense of self and purpose, when I felt all was lost. Therefore, I heartily endorse Heather and the social work position she holds. A vital service for which she is eminently qualified.” Relative of service user


Heather is a highly valued member of the team who has supported other staff, old and new, in professional discussion and development of their case work. Heather’s support for service users, carers, her colleagues and the organisation is exceptional.” Lisa McCluskey, Team Manager



  • Brendan Clifford, Capacity4Care
  • Mark Harvey, Hertfordshire County Council
  • Michael Mellors, NICE
  • Lyn Romeo, Chief Social Worker for Adults



  • George Mark-Bell, Rochdale Borough Council
  • Heather Kent, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust - GOLD AWARD WINNER
  • Joanne Finnegan, Birmingham City Council
  • Keron Ford, Birmingham City Council
  • Maria Kneller, Devon County Council - SILVER AWARD WINNER
  • Nila Murday, Hampshire County Council - SILVER AWARD WINNER