opportunitiesforall.org a directory website for disabled people in Southern Trust Area - Local finalists at Regional Social Work Awards

Skip Navigation

Browse Aloud

Local finalists at Regional Social Work Awards

07 April 2011

The achievements of social workers across Northern Ireland have been marked at a celebratory lunch and awards ceremony, at the first ever Regional Social Work Awards

 Local finalists at Regional Social Work Awards

The achievements of social workers across Northern Ireland have been marked at a celebratory lunch and awards ceremony, at the first ever Regional Social Work Awards.

The 16 finalists in four categories came from statutory and voluntary bodies, as well as the private, education and training sectors. The Disability Service User Forum at the Southern Health and Social Care Trust was a finalist in the Partnership Award.

Bronagh McKeown, Head of Physical and Sensory Disability Support Services at the Southern Trust, said, “Social Work Heads of Service in the Physical Disability Division worked with 50 service users with physical and sensory disabilities to increase service user input into the provision of health and social care. We were delighted to have the assistance of Disability Action, a leading disability organisation in Northern Ireland, in supporting the formation and ongoing work of the Forum.”

The service users undertook training on Disability Equality, Human Rights and Representation Skills, and 15 service users were elected to a Representative Forum. This Forum aims to ensure service users have an opportunity to influence Health and Social Care Services delivered in their area and contribute to all levels of Personal and Public Involvement Framework.

Andrew Martin, who is part of the Disability Service User Forum, said, “The service user forum gives an important for people with disabilities to express their opinion on how services are run in the Trust.  We think and believe is vital link! We welcome the initiative of the Trust to enable us to have our say on how our services are run. We look forward to further opportunities to work with the Trust in the future on issues of importance.”

Speaking at the event, the Health Minister Michael McGimpsey said, "Social workers do an extremely important job day and daily and I welcome the opportunity to be here today to mark the positive difference they make in our society. It is quite right that social workers should be recognised for their work in helping some of the most vulnerable people in our society. There is no doubt that it is a demanding and very challenging role which is often carried out under extreme pressure, and it is vital that they are given adequate support to carry out their responsibilities. I have been hugely impressed by the commitment, professionalism and compassion shown by the shortlisted candidates for these awards."

There are more than 5,000 social workers practicing in Northern Ireland today providing a highly skilled and essential service to the needy in society.

Fionnuala McAndrew, Director of Social Services with the Health and Social Care Board, said the awards scheme reflected the range and depth of social work expertise across Northern Ireland.

"Social workers each day play vital roles in the lives of many vulnerable people but much of this often goes unnoticed by the wider community," said Mrs McAndrew. 

"Social workers make a real difference to the quality of life enjoyed by all of these people and need special professional skills to bring this about. It is therefore important that the skills of social workers, and the many examples of excellent practice provided by them, are both recognised and indeed celebrated for what they achieve. More widely, their work shows that Northern Ireland has social workers of whom we can be proud, and who can show others, particularly younger people, of just how worthwhile a career in social work can be.”

Carolyn Ewart, Manager of the Northern Ireland Association of Social Workers, said, "Social workers do some of the most rewarding and challenging work in the world. Without social workers successful society wouldn't exist, the vulnerable would not be protected and those facing difficulties would not be supported or empowered so we are delighted to be part of a scheme that recognises this essential work. There are some outstanding social workers and social work teams in Northern Ireland working very hard in tough conditions to help people in these challenging economic times and it's fantastic to be able to celebrate their work today."

Guest speaker at the celebration was Hannah Shields, the first woman from Northern Ireland to reach the summit of Mount Everest, who spoke on motivation and strength in the face of adversity. 



For further information contact Lisa Cartmill,

Email: lisa.cartmill@southerntrust.hscni.net

Communications Manager, on (028) 3861 2579 / 3861 3954

JPEG caption:

Kevin Doherty, Director of Services, Disability Action; Maria Hughes; Gerry Murray; Andrew Martin; Bernie McCabe; Bronagh McKeown, Head of Physical and Sensory Disability Support Services, Southern Trust; and Carey Ann Clarke, Training Co-ordinator, Disability Action, at the Social Work Awards

Notes to Editor:

The Innovation Award and Overall Winner award went to the Oncology and Haematology Social Work Team based at the Cancer Centre in Belfast City Hospital which involved 35 young people making films about their cancer journey which were then uploaded to the JimmyTeensTV website.

The Developing Practice Award went to the NI Association of Mental Health for the Beacon Social Care Model, a new approach to care based on inclusion and recovery.

The Partnership Award went to the Elder Care Team in Magherafelt for the Good Morning project aimed at improving the well being of older people in the area.

The Individual Award was won by Mary Hogg, Cystic Fibrosis Social Worker at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

« Go Back