Outstanding social workers recognised at glittering awards ceremony
Seventeen inspiring social workers have been honoured for their commitment to social work and described as ‘tremendous role models’ for the profession after they took home top prizes at the national Social Worker of the Year Awards.
The ceremony was hosted for the first time by celebrity chef, fostering ambassador and awards patron Lorraine Pascale and took place on Friday 24th November at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in central London.
Awards were presented for a variety of categories across both children’s and adult services, including prizes for Social Worker of the Year, Team of the Year, Lifetime Achievement and Outstanding Contribution to Social Work.
Robert Goodwill MP, Minister of State for Children and Families opened the evening with a keynote speech and Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Care and Mental Health Jackie Doyle-Price MP and Chief Social Workers Lyn Romeo and Isabelle Trowler also provided endorsements.
Vidhya Biju, a hospital social worker from Birmingham City Council was named ‘Overall Social Worker of the Year’ after winning the award for ‘Adult Social Worker of the Year’ earlier in the evening. The Overall Social Worker of the Year Award is sponsored by headline sponsors Sanctuary Social Care and the winner is selected from the gold winners of each category by the Board of Trustees of the Social Work Awards Ltd, the registered charity behind the annual event.
Vidhya’s nomination illustrated the hugely positive impact she has had on the lives of many service users, with her colleagues describing her as a social worker who approaches every case with passion and commitment and is always willing to go the extra mile. The judges praised her exceptional depth of social work practice and getting it right for her service users “first time, every time”.
James Rook, Managing Director of Headline Sponsor Sanctuary Social Care and Trustee of the Social Work Awards Ltd., said: “Vidhya had everything we were looking for in the winner of the Overall Social Worker of the Year award. She is a role model and typifies everything that is good about the social work profession. Vidhya is a truly deserving winner and is an asset to her organisation.”
“The Social Worker of the Year Awards are getting bigger and better every year and this year over 400 people attended the ceremony, which was a fantastic celebration of the social work profession. Being recognised on a national scale is an outstanding achievement not just for our winners but for all of our 81 finalists and I’d like to personally congratulate each of them, they should be extremely proud of their achievements.”
Each of the Gold Award winners will now be invited to attend an exclusive Parliamentary Reception which will be held at the Palace of Westminster in the spring. The reception will be their opportunity to celebrate their achievements with representatives from the Department of Health and Department for Education.
During the awards ceremony silver awards were also given out to the runners up of each category and every finalist was presented with their own certificate in recognition of their achievements.
This year the awards were presented by celebrity chef and awards patron Lorraine Pascale in front of an audience of over 400 social workers and representatives of the profession. The Social Worker of the Year Awards were founded in 2006 by independent practitioner, Beverley Williams MBE, with the aim of improving the understanding and reputation of the profession.
This year the awards have been supported by headline sponsors Sanctuary Social Care; Corporate Partners, the British Association of Social Workers; and category supporters Devon County Council, Barnardo’s, Community Care, The Open University, Calderdale Council, Hampshire County Council, Essex County Council in partnership with Servelec HSC, Gloucestershire County Council, UNISON, Kent County Council, iMPOWER, Bradford Metropolitan District Council, OLM Systems and Tees Valley Local Authority Children’s Services.