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Award-winning Cumbria social worker praised at House of Commons

Wendy Ashton (centre) at the House of Commons with (L-R) Lorraine Pascale, celebrity chef and awards patron and Caroline Dinenage MP, Minister of State for Care

A social worker from Cumbria who won a top prize at the 2018 Social Worker of the Year Awards has celebrated her success with government Ministers at an exclusive Parliamentary Reception in the House of Commons (Monday 11th March).

Wendy Ashton, who works as a palliative care social worker at Eden Valley Hospice in Carlisle, was named the winner of the Making a Difference award at the prestigious national awards ceremony in November.

Secretary of State for Education, The Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, Minister of State for Care, Caroline Dinenage MP; and Chief Social Worker for Children and Families, Isabelle Trowler, all attended to personally meet and congratulate Wendy and the other the award winners.

The event was also attended by the Patrons of the Social Work Awards charity including Tim Loughton MP; Shadow Children’s Minister, Emma Lewell-Buck MP and celebrity chef and government fostering ambassador Lorraine Pascale.

Speaking at the event, Wendy said: “It’s really special to be here at this event. I feel honoured to be a social worker here in Westminster today. It’s really important for us to be recognised and I don’t think we are recognised enough as a profession.

My award and the event also highlight how important non-statutory and palliative care is in the UK.”

Wendy has worked at Eden Valley Hospice for the past eight years, where her role includes discharge planning, advanced care planning and providing psychological and emotional support to patients, carers and families. Wendy is also a practice educator and regularly delivers sessions to social work students at the University of Cumbria on the role of hospice social work.

While congratulating Wendy and the rest of the Social Work Award winners from 2018, Caroline Dinenage MP, Minister of State for Care, said: “It’s always a privilege to meet talented social workers who do indispensable, challenging and life changing work to support some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. The Social Worker of the Year awards rightly celebrates their successes, and acknowledges our debt to them. Social workers are some of the hardest working and under recognised people out there – I urge people to nominate their colleagues, or apply themselves, once entries open for this year’s awards.”

The Making a Difference award was supported by Tees Valley Local Authority Child and Adult Services and Suzanne Joyner, Director of Children and Adults Services at Darlington Borough Council, added: “Wendy works in a particularly emotionally challenging area of social work but has excelled in bringing a flexible and compassionate approach to her practice. It is wonderful that her achievements have been recognised at the House of Commons, she should be very proud.”

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. They are organised by a registered charity, Social Work Awards Ltd.

Entries for this year’s awards will open on Wednesday 3rd April and will close on Friday 19th July. There are 18 categories in total across both children’s and adult services. For more information about the Social Worker of the Year Awards, or to nominate, visit:

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