The 2018 Social Worker of the Year awards took place in London on Friday 30th November. Entries for this year's awards open in April 2019. #SWA18

Wendy Ashton, Eden Valley Hospice

Making a Difference



Palliative care is an emotionally challenging area of social work, but one in which Wendy Ashton has excelled, bringing a flexible and compassionate approach to her practice.


Wendy has worked at the Eden Valley Hospice for the past eight years, where her role chiefly involves discharge and advanced care planning, and providing emotional support to patients and their families. A champion of true social work values, she has done valuable work creating a pathway for patients on the sex offenders register, as well as highlighting the importance of end-of-life care planning for people requiring a public health funeral.


Wendy is passionate about sharing her knowledge and delivers lectures on hospice social work at the University of Cumbria, in addition to supporting students through her role as practice educator. It’s clear she inspires those she mentors, with one student commenting: “I now have the confidence to do this work, which I have come to love as much as Wendy”.


Wendy’s colleagues credited her as practitioner with a real strength for exploring the sensitive issues that arise in this field, always going above and beyond to support her clients to make decisions and ensuring their final wishes can be met.



What was said about Wendy:


Sharon Martin, Chair, IRO Managers Partnership: “I take my hat off to Wendy and all who work to support people with palliative care. A particularly emotionally challenging area of work that must demand a particular level of resilience and the difference made to families, I know from personal experience, is priceless.”


Maris Stratulis, National Director, BASW: “Wendy has enhanced quality service standards, been creative and innovative in her work and is compassionate, caring and an ambassador for the profession, in addition to leading by example for students.”


Service user feedback: “Wendy Ashton was my Mum’s social worker after her cancer diagnosis. She was an amazing help and source of comfort both to my mum and myself during what was an incredibly frightening, intense and extremely difficult time. Often when we thought we were losing control, Wendy would have the answers and skills to put us back on track. She gave mum and I great comfort and compassion, her professionalism coupled with her ability to seem like a friend is an amazing attribute that I will always be extremely grateful for.”


Gillian Ward, Clinical Lead, Eden Valley Hospice: “Wendy continuously strives to adopt a creative and flexible approach to meet the individual needs of patients and families to deliver high level support, advice and guidance.”



  • Maris Stratulis, BASW
  • Rob Mitchell, Trustee
  • Sharon Martin, National IRO Managers Partnership



  • Eileen Qubain, Heart of Worcestershire College - SILVER AWARD WINNER
  • Izabela Spalding, East London NHS Foundation Trust
  • Wendy Ashton, Eden Valley Hospice