Social work stories: making a difference every single day

    Tell us something you've done that has changed somebody's life or made a real difference to somebody

    This article is part of Community Care’s campaign to Stand up for Social Work. We’re standing up for social work by being honest, offering support and providing inspiration.

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    As part of Community Care’s Stand Up For Social Work campaign we want to publicise and showcase the amazing and inspiring work social workers are doing every single day. Tell us what you’ve done to make a difference. If it’s more than 200 words we’ll publish it as an article and link to it from this page. If you would like to add your story please use the comments function below this story or email us on

    Alison Harris is an adults’ social worker currently employed by a local authority in the West Midlands.

    “I worked with a nervous relative who wanted to place her mother in a care home while she went on holiday. However, I managed to get her to see that this was quite a disabling option. We set up a tailored home care package instead, and her mother has gone from strength to strength, with growth of confidence and quality of life which is wonderful to see.” Read the full story.

    Martin Porter, a social worker with older people working for a local authority in the East Midlands.

    “S is a woman with vascular dementia and spinal problems. Her devoted husband, a talented artist, had done everything for her, and when he died she was not only distraught, but struggling to manage. She was low in mood and this usually resulted in her being bad tempered and refusing help from the home care team. She lived in an isolated house and disliked group activities such as day care.

    A home care worker who she got on well with instead started taking her out to a garden centre for lunch once a week, and slowly her mood improved slightly. She was very reluctant to move, as her house was full of memories of her late husband.

    After discussing things with her it became apparent to me that it was her husband’s artwork, which covered every wall, that she was most attached to. Eventually, and to everyone’s surprise, she agreed to move into extra care housing on the condition that all the paintings came with her.” (Martin’s story is reproduced here with kind permission from The College of Social Work)

    Fay Wilson is a school social worker employed by Caritas in Salford.

    “When I began working with Craig, he found home life very difficult. His family was struggling with debt and his mum was finding it very difficult to cope with her mental health.

    Having seven siblings placed in care and himself having only been living with his mum for the last couple of years, relationships were strained and there were often arguments. Neither mother nor child found it easy.

    Working for Caritas in Salford, I have been involved with him and his family for the last two years and I now know first-hand what a positive impact social work can have on a young person’s life and future.

    When I began working with Jack, I met a very angry young man who felt the world was against him. We started sessions to look into this and quickly developed a positive working relationship.” Read the full story here.

    An adult’s social worker in Lambeth says:

    “I was doing a regular review of a woman in her eighties who had a very long history of schizophrenia and numerous hospital admissions. She was very upset because she had been prevented from enrolling on the next part of a Silver Surfers computer course at her local library. She was not able to say why.

    I discovered the course had been a real lifeline to her since the death of her husband a few years previously and she felt it had prevented relapses with her mental health because she was learning new skills.

    I spoke to the tutor on the Silver Surfers course who said they had not enrolled her for the next part of the course because she had not achieved what was expected and had been absent on a few occasions. I explained that she was vulnerable and prone to periods of ill health. Without compromising her confidentiality I also told him how important the course had been for her. He agreed to enrol her again on the course which made the woman very happy.”

    Simply Social Work (@SimplySW) writes:

    For me ‘Standing up for Social Work’ today was having a long conversation with a newly qualified social worker who is trying to find work. Her confidence was really low and was feeling fed up and did not know where to turn. I was able to speak with her and give her some guidance and feedback which gave her enough confidence to carry on.

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    One Response to Social work stories: making a difference every single day

    1. Jean Robertson-Molloy March 13, 2015 at 8:40 am #

      I’m a retired social worker and also a campaigner for MAA (movementforanadoptionapology) . Have had great support from Swan with our campaign for a cross-party parliamentary apology for past adoption practices. I dont blame social workers, and think they need far more support today, plus ending the cuts of course. (see Green Party policies)
      I will be speaking about MAA at a workshop at the Paisley Swan Conference next month.
      Find me on Twitter @jeanrobertsonMo