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

Zoe Williamson, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust / Northumberland County Council

Overall Social Worker of the Year




Zoe Williamson possesses an aptitude for navigating the challenges and complexities of mental health social work that far belies the five years she has worked in the profession.


Zoe’s career started out in Northumberland Council’s children’s services in 2013. This role provided her with a solid foundation for moving into mental health social work and the significant experience and confidence she gained in developing relationships with children has really come to life in her current role within the NHS Trust’s mental health team.


Zoe’s supervisors credit her with achieving “remarkable success” with some hard-to-reach young people, bringing about change that other professionals - and in some cases service users and carers themselves - did not see as possible. She is valued by those she supports as an extremely professional, kind social worker, who will “never let you down”.


Zoe is now nearing the completion of the Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) qualification, and is expected to be an “absolute asset” to the local AMHP service. The judge’s took great pleasure in reading about the fantastic social work she has delivered to date, which they felt made her a stand-out choice for this year’s Social Worker of the Year.


What was said about Zoe:


Rob Mitchell, Principal Social Worker, Bradford Metropolitan District Council – “This was a stunning nomination. Zoe is described by people who have used her support as kind, honest, trustworthy and with a heart of gold whilst remaining professional and rights-focused throughout and integral towards contributing to a person’s recovery. For a social worker, that really is the aim and the highest accolade we can ever achieve.”


Joanna Nicolas, Independent Child Protection Consultant – “Everything social workers should do is about improving the lives of those we support. The ringing endorsements of Zoe, from some of those she has supported, says it all.”


Ana Popovici, Deputy Director of Children’s Services, London Borough of Hillingdon  – “Zoe seems to have it all. The resilience to respond confidently and effectively in crisis and the patience and compassion to build relationships and effect change. These are exceptional attributes for a social worker in a front line role.”



This winner of this award was decided by the Board of Trustees: 

  • Peter Hay CBE, Chair, Social Work Awards Ltd
  • James Rook, Managing Director, Sanctuary Social Care
  • Beverley Williams MBE, Founder, Social Work Awards
  • Joanna Nicolas, Independent Child Protection Consultant and Author
  • Ana Popovici, Deputy Director Children's Services, London Borough of Hillingdon
  • Rob Mitchell, Principal Social Worker, Bradford Metropolitan District Council