The award was in recognition of her leadership role in creating the Orange Tide, a movement combining social workers and the people that use services. Across Spain they regularly gather in orange T-shirts on the streets with music and dance to the message of “No Cuts to Social Services”.
Spanish newspapers and television have widely reported this social action and the Orange Tide has become a part of mainstream media. While the government clearly has a programme of cutting social services, at a time when they are needed, the cuts are not as drastic as would otherwise have been because of the visibility of the Orange Tide. According to Rory Truell, General Secretary of the International Federation of Social Workers, “The Orange Tide is the best current example of social work-led action. It is limiting a government inadvertently eroding the future of its people, and giving hope, an outlet and voice to people who are in desperation. The Orange Tide also provides support to social workers to continue to work as volunteers after they have had their hours cut or been laid off. It is an inspiration to social workers worldwide” (Guardian, 12 July, 2014).
The conference will bring together up to 400 social workers, academics, students and service users from across the UK, In addition, there will be delegations of social workers from Greece, Spain, Japan and the USA. Other speakers include leading Scottish social policy academic Dr Gerry Mooney who has written extensively on poverty, inequality and Scottish independence; Amal Azzudin of the Glasgow Girls, whose campaign against the deportation of a school friend was the subject of a recent television drama/documentary; and recent UWS social work graduate Thomas Timlin, himself a care leaver who is now Development Officer with Who Cares Scotland.