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Social workers are achieving extraordinary things together

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A message to all social work students, practitioners and leaders on World Social Work Day 2021 from Isabelle Trowler, Chief Social Worker for Children and Families.

Isabelle shares why social workers should be proud of everything they are achieving alongside families through solidarity within the profession and with many others across England. She reflects on her plans for the day and expresses admiration, praise and the deepest respect for all that social workers have done through the pandemic.

Isabelle Trowler
Isabelle Trowler

It’s that time of year again! It’s World Social Work Day and one of the most important dates in my calendar. It’s a chance to shine a light on the profession and to give a huge thanks to everybody for everything that you do for children, families and communities. This feels more important than ever given the challenges of the pandemic.

Connecting across boundaries

This year’s theme, Ubuntu, is about celebrating social solidarity and global connectedness. Now, when we’re often working remotely, we feel the absence of physical companionship. It’s important to remember that humanity is what connects us no matter where we are in the world, and so does history too. Today, I’m back with social workers in Lewisham Council where I was a newly qualified social worker over 25 years ago. I love going back there – I was as happy as Larry there and have the fondest memories of the camaraderie I found there. Some of the people I worked alongside are still there today.

I hope all social workers spend just a few minutes today, amongst their hectic schedules, making connections with their fellow social workers. It is so good to connect. With the events of the past year in mind, I hope that everybody has an opportunity to reflect on what we have achieved as social workers through cooperation with each other and many others too, transcending boundaries across England and throughout the world.

World Social Work Day 2021
World Social Work Day 2021's theme is ’Ubuntu’.

The art of social work

Every social worker in every service should be proud of the outstanding contribution they have made to society through this pandemic. Each day through your dedication you show that social work is a profession that communities can depend upon. Communities have come to depend on you because of your resilience, kindness and calmness in profoundly stressful and challenging times. It’s this craft, the art of social work, that continues to support families and keep children safe. Never has this been more important as families and communities come out of the pandemic and move towards the future.

Schools are back, and while there may be lots of pieces to help people pick up, the strength of families has shone through too. Thank you for everything you are doing in your teams, in your organisations and alongside families. It has not been easy for you. Newly qualified social workers and social work students will have had a completely different experience. The pressure of responsibility on the expert and experienced, which has been carried in completely unknown territory, has been colossal.

Celebrating our contribution

It can feel like the work of the profession can go unrecognised but I can promise you it hasn’t. Not by me, ministers, civil servants, or others that fight your corner; Social Work England, BASW, Principal Social Workers, Practice Leaders. Everybody has spoken with only admiration, praise and the deepest respect for all you have done.

Events like today, the recent Social Work Week held by Social Work England, as well as the fantastic anti-racist action being undertaken by so many are an opportunity to celebrate, make progress and make the world a better place. Take a moment to speak to each other and recognise that you are achieving extraordinary things together.

I hope you all have a wonderful day.

Join the conversation and celebrate World Social Work Day on Twitter using the hashtag #WSWD2021.

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