SWAN Dundee Award: SASW Press Release

The dedication and achievement of social workers across Scotland was recognised when Childcare and Early Years Minister Mark McDonald presented the SASW Social Work Awards on Tuesday.

The annual Scottish Association of Social Work awards were held in Edinburgh on World Social Work Day before an audience of 120 guests, including social workers and people who use services who had come along to support their nominations.

People were invited to demonstrate their practice under the World Social Work Day 2017 theme of “Promoting community and environmental sustainability”.

This year awards were made in four categories and judged by a panel of SASW committee members and staff. There were also a number of Special Awards for Leadership, Collaborative Working and Recognition by Users of Services.

Guests were entertained by the Edinburgh Phoenix Soul & Gospel Choir and poet and performer Ellen Renton, originally from Edinburgh and now based in Glasgow.

Mark McDonald, Minister for Childcare and Early Years, said: “Every day social workers make a direct and critical contribution to our shared goal of building a fairer, more equal and socially just and inclusive Scotland.

“Social work changes lives and social workers should be proud of that. Social work matters and it is a profession that everyone in Scotland needs to value, support and protect.

“All the nominees demonstrate that challenge and change can bring real opportunities to do things differently to enable people to have better lives and it is from these opportunities that we hear the most inspiring stories. I want to congratulate everyone who took part – you truly are a credit to your profession.”

SASW Manager Trisha Hall said: “Social workers are a small but vital part of the social services workforce in Scotland. With this celebration, we also aim to highlight all the other social workers united by the unique professional identity our association promotes and supports.

“The examples and stories that we share on the night are reflections of work which supports but crucially also protects, enables and empowers individuals and communities in what can be extremely difficult circumstances. It makes us proud to be social workers in Scotland.”

The winners in each category are given below:

Social Worker of the Year

WINNER: Ailsa Rainnie, Social Worker, Care and Learning Children’s Services, Highland Council

Newly qualified Ailsa is described quite simply as a “breath of fresh air” by colleagues and service users alike. Her approach to young people is inclusive and her attitude clear but non-judgmental. Where possible, she focuses on the need for families to achieve sustained change so that they can carry on without social work support. Creative and reflective, she is always open to different ways of doing things.

Social Work Team of the Year

WINNER: Women Who Offend Team, Fife Council

From the outset, this team has been proactive in working with partners including housing, community learning and development, NHS and voluntary organisations such as SACRO. It also set up WINGS, a one-stop shop where women can receive a wide range of services. WINGS now offers sessions in five areas of Fife resulting in significant increases in women accessing services and taking part in activities.

Student Social Worker of the Year

WINNER: Kazamira McGroarty, Dumfries and Galloway Council, University of the West of Scotland

Kazamira’s strong ethical base was shown on placement when she supported a 15-year-old victim of a serious sexual assault. The young person had little trust in social work but Kazamira managed to have frank discussions about sexual activities, substance misuse and keeping safe. The young person did not want to press charges and despite police pressure Kazamira stood firm on the right to choose.

Practice Teacher of the Year

WINNER: Jim Paul, Senior Social Worker, Dumfries and Galloway Council

Jim consistently delivers a high quality service to his students and also the children and families he works with every day as a newly appointed senior social worker. Not only is he a remarkable social worker and practice teacher with a great sense of humour, he can also deal with serious issues with compassion and dedication. He is seen as the ‘go to’ man whenever people need help in the team.

Special Award: Recognition by Users of Services

WINNER: Diane Morrow, Social Worker, Easter Ross Community Mental Health Team

Diana works with very vulnerable people whose lives have been turned around and they are now living in the community. Friendly and approachable, she always treats people with dignity and respect. One service user says: “Every time we meet up she has been very polite, respectful of how I feel, supports me to make realistic goals and encourages me to meet them. I believe we need thousands more like her.”

Special Award: Best Example of Collaborative Working in Integrated Setting

WINNER: Care at Home Team, West Dunbartonshire

More and more older people are living independently at home through the dedicated work of this team of skilled staff. The team forms a crucial part of the partnership’s integrated provision for older people and those in need. As well as an excellent core service, it created an integrated out of hours care at home and district nursing service to respond more effectively to risks and avoid unnecessary hospital admissions.

Special Award: Leadership in Social Work

WINNER: Dundee University Student Social Work Action Network

This dedicated band of social work students has worked hard to not only become one of the most active branches of the Social Work Action Network (SWAN) in the country but also help change how students learn and develop. Last summer, three students travelled to the camp for displaced people in Calais to show solidarity, deliver aid and contribute to a report into mental health and human rights violations.

Photo Credit: Graham Clark

We Welcome Swan Lancaster!

Here is an update from their very first meeting!

“Due to a mix of students with different responsibilities we have decided to run daytime and evenings sessions.
So our first meeting of the week happened on Monday 13th March, we were joined by John Garman who came to give us a talk about the A21 Campaign http://www.a21.org/index.php?site=true. Really thought provoking and inspiring, some of the stories he shared from survivors were harrowing but truly inspiring. We had a good discussion about how we can support his work here at the university, raising awareness around the issue of Human Trafficking. Greater awareness and action is needed regarding the significance this threat poses to the unaccompanied refugee minors currently being denied access into the UK due to the DUBs Amendment being scrapped! We also talked about some of the implications for our future practice. We will be meeting again to discuss how we can work together in the future.
This was followed by an evening meeting on Tuesday 14th March where we screened ‘I, Daniel Blake’ and had a post screening discussion around welfare issues, and the many problems surrounding the ‘outsourcing’ of PIP and ESA assessments. The evening was attended by representatives from the BA and MA programmes as well as lecturers from the department. 
Our next planned event is attending the SWAN Conference on 8th-9th April!! We are really looking forward to meeting with fellow like-minded individuals, finding out how we can get involved with future and current campaigns working together for a fairer, safer future for everyone.
We also now have a facebook group – Social Work Action Network Lancaster University and a twitter account @LancasterSwan.
Look forward to seeing you at the conference! Not long now…..”

Conference 2017: Students Accessing Group Accommodation

Some of you are staying in the University’s student accommodation. In order to avoid charging delegates a cleaning fee, we are asking you to bring your own sleeping bags and toiletries. Each room is a single, and will have a bed but no bedding! 

This conference is shaping up to be an excellent event for students – something quite special. We are really looking forward to having you there!

Success For Swan Dundee At The SASW Awards

After the Journal of Social Work Education rewarded their Calais film, here is their brief account of the SASW awards evening:
“When the award was called out, we couldn’t deny that we were a bit disappointed not to win the Student Social Workers of the Year award on Thursday 23rd March – but a few categories later, and completely unexpectedly, we won the Special Award: Leadership in Social Work
We were totally delighted, and the reception from so many of the people there was really heartening. The SWAN approach was spoken of very highly during two of the preliminary speeches (from David Thomson and the head of the social work union).”
The whole of SWAN thanks Swan Dundee for their passion and energy. We are thrilled for them!

SWAN Dundee win Journal of Social Work Education’s Student Activism Award 2017!

You can read the article here, awarding Rachel, Tom, Marco and Catherine the first prize for their film ‘A Very Human Crisis’. It will be shown at our conference, along with the chance for you to hear their story and ask questions.

This award is incredibly important on many levels. A cynical person (!) might say that once in practice, social workers are kept too busy and too exhausted to build radical and politically charged practice into their day to day activities. Practicing social workers and the people they work with face the poverty and devastation wreaked by neo-liberal ideology every day, but often need others to demand change. Challenging the destruction of good social work is a team effort, and there is no better time to start than as a student, with the support of SWAN behind you. Meet like minded people, build your networks, develop strong habits from the start, make the decision that you will not simply accept that this is the only way. ANOTHER SOCIAL WORK IS POSSIBLE, and Dundee are proving it. 

We await with baited breath the results of the SASW award ceremony tonight….

Join them at the conference in Teesside, 8th and 9th April, by buying a bargain ticket here


All paying members (an annual payment of either £5 or £10 depending upon your status) are encouraged to take part in the AGM held at the conference, and to consider putting themselves forward for election onto the steering committee. 

The steering committee meets two or three times a year for face-to-face meetings, and every two months generally by teleconference. We look for involvement for all parties, and especially encourage service users and practitioners to consider coming forward. Whilst it is hard for many to consider taking on extra commitments, we try to be as inclusive and flexible as possible, and many hands really do make light work. We strongly encourage affiliated organisations to put forward someone to sit as a representative on our committee.

This year, nominations must be submitted by 12pm on Sunday 9th April (this let’s you get to know people during the Saturday social!) and the committee will be finalised that afternoon. You simply put your name forward, with someone to ‘second’ the nomination. Slips will be available, and feel free to approach any current steering committee member with questions throughout the weekend. 

Email swansocialwork@gmail.com with any questions! 

Stand Up To Racism Protests 18th March!

In Glasgow, London and Cardiff this weekend, tens of thousands will protest the overt racism now present in political ideology and contemporary debate. Marking the UN’s Anti-Racism Day, transport has been organised to all three cities and details can be found here. SWAN banners will be present in all three marches so look out for us! We are calling on members to walk in solidarity, with which ever block they want to, which ever organisation or group of friends. Represent SWAN loudly and proudly, and STAND UP TO RACISM.