Diary of a retired social worker



All day childminding for grandson, aged 18 months, while his mum goes off to work for social services. After a morning in the playground trying to stop him from stealing every other child’s football it seems he needs a course on sharing and caring.


Went to a meeting at the House of Commons of an all-party parliamentary group for a voluntary organisation of which I was, until recently, a trustee. It’s an opportunity to lobby MPs on issues of concern. There was an interesting discussion on what would be the best way to monitor legislation set up to protect the interests of disabled people. How do we ensure that policies are effectively implemented? It seems to have been a longstanding debate with not much change but lots of talking. A cynic in the audience commented that there were no surprises there!


Parents’ meeting at small residential home for people with learning disabilities where my son lives. Parents complain about lack of communication within the organisation and how they would like to be kept better informed. A few days later we get a call giving us details of activities our son has undertaken and where he’s been. Most encouraging. We meet in the early evening and all the residents were out – gone to the pub or other community activities. Good news.


Off to the British Museum to lead a gallery tour on native North America. This is something I trained for after I retired. I particularly like talking about aspects of the culture which I studied when a student of social policy decades ago. Also visit a new exhibition featuring portrayals of Indian culture and learn a lot about Hinduism. Regular visits to the British Museum should be compulsory for social work students who need to understand a variety of cultures.


Real work day. Do an unannounced visit to a residential respite home for children with disabilities in my capacity as an independent visitor. The children all have profound and multiple disabilities or are autistic and need constant care. My problem is sometimes finding something to say which isn’t overwhelmingly positive. As always I am humbled by what I see. At home I write my report immediately, trying hard to capture the essence of what I have seen.


My disabled son comes home for the weekend. We take him to a South Bank festival celebrating Refugee Week and he has a great time. Look forward to next week and wonder how I ever found time to do a full-time paid job.


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