Award-winning members of staff are helping Somerset County Council highlight the incredible commitment of social workers this month.
Social work with vulnerable children and adults is one of the most challenging and rewarding areas of the council’s work. And today, on World Social Work Day (20 March) the authority will join the international celebration of the role which is making a difference to lives across the county.
Earlier this year it used its annual Staff Awards to recognise the incredible work with vulnerable children and adults in the county.
Kerry Ferguson (Yeovil) and Zoe Shermon (Sedgemoor) were crowned joint Children’s Social Workers of the Year at the awards. Adult Social Care Worker of the Year went to Emma Bradshaw (Sedgemoor) and Adult Social Worker of the year was won by Claire Little (Yeovil).
Candidates for the awards received nominations and commendations from the children, young people, adults and families they have supported – many spoke of how they’d been steered through the toughest times of their lives.
One young person said of her social worker: “I wouldn’t be the person I am today without her.”
Another said: “She has countless times listened to my rants and worries…she has helped me by keeping me hopeful and happy.”
A heart-warming film featuring one of the children who nominated Kerry Ferguson can be viewed.
Alison Richards (Sedgemoor) netted the Leaving Care Worker of the Year award.
One grateful family member said of Emma: “Without your dedication and commitment to my aunt and myself, she would not have been able to achieve her very simple and selfless wish, that she stay in her home in her final years until she passed away.”
Another family member said Claire’s work had been “marvellous, going above and beyond to support.”
Councillor Frances Nicholson, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “I’m proud of all our staff for having such an effect on the children and young people they work with – they are doing a fantastic job.
“We are all aware there is a national shortage of high calibre social workers and in Somerset we are focussed on keeping the high-quality social workers already in post and on growing our own.”
Councillor David Huxtable Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, added: “Social work is one hardest jobs there is but it’s also one of the most rewarding.
“The testimonies from our staff awards highlighted just what a difference a good social worker can make and we are immensely proud of them.”
Somerset County Council is currently recruiting social workers as part of ambitious plans for its adults and children’s care services. For more information visit www.socialcareandmore.co.uk