Shout out to our first social work hero

Lydia Sampson is still a student but is already having an impact

Lydia Sampson

Lydia Sampson

Lydia Sampson is in her final year of her masters in social work at Warwick University, but in her previous job working with the charity Carriers of Hope she was already identified as showing all the skills and traits of a successful social worker. Sue Sampson, founder and chair of Carriers of Hope, says Lydia took a deep interest in the life stories of all the families. “It troubled her greatly that asylum seekers are unable to work in a paid capacity. So she looked for the potential of those helped by the service to become volunteers – using their skills and life experiences in an unpaid capacity.” Self-worth and self-esteem blossomed and the charity is now in the position where 70% of the volunteers are recruited from families who have been served by it. “Much of this is down to Lydia’s involvement. Quietly and caringly she would get alongside individual clients to draw out their concerns. She would look for ways to encourage and reach out to families in extremely difficult situations,” Sampson says.

Nice work Lydia. A box of chocolates is winging its way to you as we write.

Do you have a social work hero you’d like to nominate? Comment on this article, tweet us @CommunityCare #swhero #StandUp4SW, tell us on Facebook, Instagram (Community_Care) or email us We’ll pick a winner each week and send them a box of chocolates as a little “thank you” for all their hard work.    

We told you there were chocolates… #swhero #standup4sw A photo posted by Community Care (@community_care) on

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4 Responses to Shout out to our first social work hero

  1. Carolyn November 20, 2015 at 2:20 pm #

    I’m shocked to see this as I am so uncomfortable with social workers being seen as, or aspiring to be hero’s. I think there’s a dangerous message in seeing a social worker as a hero as it defines the social worker as expert and the actions of a hero are those of a rescuer. Any rescuing position is acting alongside a victim position – is this what social work practice should be encouraging? These are positions of course that are in absolute contrast to how social workers might practice in an emancipatory way and seek to promote, inspire and support people to find the hero within themselves and work to protect people from an oppressive power dynamic.
    I fear a message that social workers who don’t have superpowers are not as effective as they could be is dangerous and I’m concerned that the message of selflessness could be held up as aspirational.

    • Judy Cooper November 24, 2015 at 11:20 am #

      Hi Carolyn
      Thanks for your comment. The idea of a social work hero is not that the social worker is a ‘hero’ for a family or service user but is a ‘hero’ to the rest of the profession as someone who can provide a bit of inspiration because of the work they are doing. We have so many social workers who tell us they would like more positive stories about the great work other social workers are doing and who can share good practice. We thought this might be a nice way of finding those stories and sharing them. I’m really sorry if you feel it is dangerous.

  2. Roger November 23, 2015 at 10:52 am #

    I agree. This appears to be part of a wider trend of importing aspects of the wider culture into social work, in this case, look at me, me, me (c/f The Apprentice etc.). There are thousands of people in social work and social care who are doing a committed job. Hopefully, most of them wouldn’t want to be called heroes for the reasons given by Carolyn. By the way, is there any connection between the nomination of Lydia Sampson being made by Luke Sampson and the person quoted above being Sue Sampson?

  3. Dave Ensor November 23, 2015 at 2:39 pm #

    Perhaps “hero” could be changed. However, if we are trying to get Social Work seen in a different light, and accepted as a profession in the 21st century we need to encourage this. Nursing, local community work, plenty of other professions also have awards for people doing “above and beyond”. Think about firefighters, police, ambulance & lifeboat crew, care workers etc etc – all put themselves into their jobs.
    I have known colleagues that went above and beyond, that never got any extra recognition, nor did they expect it.. Perhaps someone on a rubbish wage in an invisible job who gets a nice dinner and a voucher paid for by their professional body for being put forward by their team, should be able to feel they are appreciated? I dont begrudge them that.

    You can always turn it down