A social worker from north Cumbria has been selected as a finalist in the Social Worker of the Year Awards 2018 as a result of their outstanding work with local people with life limiting illnesses and their families and carers.
Wendy, Hospice Palliative Care Social Worker at Eden Valley Hospice and Jigsaw, Cumbria’s Children’s Hospice, has been nominated for the Making a Difference prize and will find out if she has won at an exclusive awards ceremony which will take place in London in November. Wendy is one of 93 finalists across 16 categories and the winners from each category will compete against each other to be named the “Overall Social Worker of the Year 2018.”
The prestigious awards ceremony is the leading celebration of its kind in the social care sector, and recognises the achievements and successes of the profession’s most innovative and dedicated social workers.
Sally Robinson, Director of Children’s and Joint Commissioning Services Hartlepool Borough Council, on behalf of award sponsor Tees Valley Local Authority Child and Adult Services, said: “The Making a Difference award recognises the outstanding work of a social workers employed in settings outside of local authorities, who are constantly striving to do what matters to the people they support and make a positive difference to their lives. Everyone who has made the final should be exceptionally proud of their achievements.”
Gill Ward, Head of Care at Eden Valley Hospice and Jigsaw, said “I am delighted that Wendy has reached the finals of the Social Worker of the Year Awards in recognition of her passion and commitment to meeting the needs of patients and families in her role as hospice social worker.
“Wendy demonstrates compassion, understanding and sensitivity to the people she is supporting underpinned by a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience. She has a strength for exploring sensitive and challenging issues with ease which supports patients to make difficult decisions relating to end of life care such as getting their affairs in order, making memories, achieving goals and funeral planning. Reaching the finals of the awards is already a great achievement but we will all be sending lots of luck to Wendy on the night.”
Wendy Ashton, Hospice Palliative Care Social Worker, said: “It is an honour to be shortlisted. I work as part of the Family Support Team and together we try to make a difference to people’s lives by offering social, emotional, spiritual and psychological support. Life can be short but as Hospice Social Workers we support patients and families to live life to the full.”
Sharon and Hayley, daughters of a patient Wendy supported, explained “The impact that Wendy made on not just our late father but myself, sister and our extending family was truly amazing. She was our guardian angel at the worst time of our lives. She showed professionalism at the highest standard throughout the last year of our father’s life through her in depth knowledge, care and support.
“She organised respite and a place at Day Hospice at Eden Valley Hospice. This was an amazing opportunity for our father as before this he was subjected to laying in his house and looking at four walls from the results of his ill health due to COPD. This little thing made a huge different in our fathers last year, as once an active man, he was again able to socialise with new people who were going through a similar experience to him.
“During the last month of our father’s life, our dad was helped to make a CD of his favourite songs. This CD played nonstop on the last few days of our father life and is now a comfort for both my sister and me. It’s a little bit of our dad with us and we will be forever grateful.
“Wendy made such a huge difference, more than any other at such a difficult time. We will never be able to thank her enough for all that she did for our father, ourselves and families.”
The awards were judged by leading influencers in the social work sector including Chief Social Workers Isabelle Trowler and Lyn Romeo, Children’s Commissioner for England Anne Longfield OBE and Maris Stratulis (England Manager, British Association of Social Workers). People who have received support from social workers were also represented on the judging panel.
The Social Worker of the Year Awards are supported by Headline Sponsor Sanctuary Social Care; Corporate Partner the British Association of Social Workers (BASW), Media Partner The Guardian, and individual category supporters, Barnardo’s, UNISON, Servelec HSC, Children’s Social Work Matters and the London Borough of Lambeth. The awards are also supported by the local authorities of North Lincolnshire, Bradford, Devon, Kent, Sunderland, Hampshire and Essex (in partnership with Capita) as well as the Tees Valley Local Authority Child and Adult Services – a partnership between the local authorities of Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Darlington, Redcar & Cleveland and Stockton-on-Tees.