Community social work is still “alive and kicking”

A winning image from Community Care's photography competition captures the success of a social work student's outreach project

"Community social work is still alive and kicking" Photo: Natasha Andrews

The positive impact of an outreach project in Whitstable is the subject of this winning image from Community Care’s Inspiring Images of Social Care photography competition.

The photo was taken at a Christmas event run by the Opening the Umbrella project, which was set up by MA social work student, Natasha Andrews, during her placement with the Whitstable Umbrella Community Centre in Kent.

Andrews, a student at Canterbury Christchurch University, said: “The Whitstable Umbrella does not usually offer social work placements but I asked my university if I could do one there as I live close by and wanted to get involved with the work they were doing.

“For me the winning image symbolises the widening of our reach at the centre, where we do lots of help-based activities for children and families and provide any support that they may need.”

The Opening the Umbrella initiative started as a summer holiday play scheme but now offers a number of activities including a family support clinic and a club for children based around the game Minecraft.

The Lego-like game is a good tool for introducing children to design, technology and coding, and, in an event last year, young people redesigned the town of Whitstable using Minecraft and presented the results at the GEEK event in Margate.

Andrews added: “The Opening the Umbrella project is all about early intervention work and providing families with support and skills for the future. I wanted to enter the competition to show that it’s not all about statutory social work, community social work is still very much alive and kicking as well!”

The Inspiring Images photography competition is sponsored by Caritas recruitment and all 12 winners will be featured in a charity calendar, which will be sent out to thousands of social care professionals.

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