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Celebrating achievements of social workers

4th October 2022


On Friday the 30th of September around 120 social work staff from across the Southern Trust participated in the  first Professional Social Work Forum since prior to  the pandemic

The Southern Trust has over 2,800 registered social work and social care staff, all involved in delivering care throughout children’s and adult services, across the community, including residential and nursing care, foster care and day care settings.

The Social Work Forum offers an opportunity to share positive practice, outline examples of innovation, collaborative work across services and to celebrate achievements.

A number of partner agencies joined Trust social work services including, Northern Ireland Social Care Council, British Association of Social Workers, Action for Children, SKETCH (Sharing Known Experiences to Change Health and Social Care) and the Patient/Client Council.

Special recognition was given to staff and services who received Regional Social Work Awards in 2021:

  • Armagh & Dungannon Gateway Service – Children’s Services Team of the Year
  • Kathy Lavery – Adult Services Social Worker of the Year
  • Social Services Workforce Development and Training Team – Learning and Development Award

Speaking at the event Colm McCafferty, Interim Director of Social Work for the Trust, paid tribute to colleagues.  “I am very proud of our social work and social care workforce, who every day, go above and beyond for those most in need by supporting, adults, young people and children – in hospitals and community settings and in their own homes, often in very sensitive circumstances. This recognition at last year’s Social Work Awards is a testament to the standard of social work right across the Southern Trust.”

The Forum also considered and shared innovative responses by social work which demonstrate how the profession incorporates a “Trauma Informed” approach to building and delivering services.

Mr McCafferty added: “As we continue to rebuild services and recover from the pandemic, the social work profession is ever more conscious of the trauma experienced by service users, communities and our own staff. It is more important than ever that we focus on our service users that we use this experience in informing how we develop services and engage with individuals in providing support.

“Despite the ongoing challenges on services, our social workers continue to reflect a genuine commitment to protecting the vulnerable from harm or abuse, helping people to live independently and acting as advocates for those who need support. I would like to thank all of our social work staff for your professionalism, compassion and the positive difference you make to the lives of local people.”