The winners of the 2017 Social Worker of the Year Awards were revealed at a glittering awards ceremony in London on the 24th November. Entries for next year's awards will open in March 2018.

Vidhya Biju, Birmingham City Council

Overall Social Worker of the Year 2017

 

 

“If I ever need a social worker, I would absolutely want it to be Vidhya”. This sentiment was echoed throughout the endorsements in Vidhya’s nomination, as well as by the judges.

 

As a hospital social worker, Vidhya’s work takes place in a busy environment, where she is often only involved with service users and their families for a short period of time. However, despite this, her nomination showed that she has had huge impact on the lives of many.

 

In one case, Vidhya went above and beyond to ensure an elderly woman could return home from hospital. Health colleagues said it was too risky, the woman’s daughter lived 10 miles away, and the woman herself was a private person and was worried about having carers.

 

Vidhya took the challenges in her stride, and her approach resulted in the woman’s daughter agreeing to stay with her until she was gradually introduced to a carer of her choice. Vidhya also retained case responsibility after discharge to help the family apply for a direct payment.

 

The board of trustees selected Vidhya as Overall Social Worker of the Year because she typifies everything that is good about the social work profession.

  

What was said about Vidhya:

 

“Vidhya is a social worker who clearly lives and breathes the profession. It is clear to see how Vidhya’s real life experience of witnesses issues of oppression, discrimination and poverty underpin her approach to social work.” Rob Mitchell, Principal Social Worker, Bradford Metropolitan District Council 

 

“Vidhya typifies all that is good about our profession. Her track record says it all, having come from working in the slums and resettlement colonies of India to hospital-based adult social care, via many years in children’s social care, in one of the most challenging areas of the country to work in. What comes shining through is her dedication, her compassion, her kindness and her willingness to “go the extra mile.” Joanna Nicolas, Independent Child Protection Consultant 

 

“Partnership plus plus is what Vidhya does best. Formidable and deeply human she demonstrates 'passion and commitment', energy and relentless focus on achieving best outcomes for those she works with. She is truly inspiring.” Ana Popovici, Deputy Director of Children’s Services, London Borough of Hillingdon