Social workers from a number of London boroughs have been
working around the clock to provide support for people affected by
last week’s bombings, write Maria Ahmed and
Practitioners from Westminster, Camden and neighbouring authorities
are providing 24-hour support at a makeshift family assistance
centre in central London.
Social workers have also volunteered their time to provide
counselling for children, including those who witnessed the blasts.
Teams from Camden have been working with accident and emergency
staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital, University College Hospital
and the Royal Free Hospital, supporting casualties and organising
discharge for those affected by the bombing.
In the immediate aftermath of the blasts, Camden social services
were also on alert to go out to schools in case parents did not
turn up to collect their children.
Katherine Doran, assistant director of children and families at
Camden social services, said: “Staff have been supporting
distressed relatives of the wounded, and helping those with minor
injuries to get home. They have also offered counselling for
emergency workers and at mortuaries, where relatives are waiting
for bodies to be identified.”
Doran said social workers had managed to continue to provide normal
services despite the disruption.
“Staff are available and willing to get on with their jobs
and keep all the services running to the best of their ability,
whether dealing with meals-on-wheels or working on a child abuse
case,” she said.
Social workers are also on call at a rest centre in Camden,
supporting families and front-line workers, including firemen and
police officers who need respite.
A family assistance centre has also been set up by Westminster at
the government’s request to help families trace missing
loved-ones and receive counselling.
A Westminster Council spokesperson said: “We’ve got
social workers working on call on a 24-hour basis providing
emotional support and guidance for people.”
The councils are working at the centre with a number of voluntary
groups, including the British Red Cross, Salvation Army, Victim
Support and WRVS.