Social work hero: ‘His contribution is often undervalued but I am always impressed’

James Coyne, from Southend, always ensures he is able to communicate with adults with learning disabilities

Matthew Harding

This week’s social work hero is James Coyne, a senior social worker in Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s adult learning disability team.

Matthew Harding, team leader, nominated James and says: “I am always impressed with the person-centred approach that James takes when supporting adults with learning disabilities to achieve their goals and to contribute to improvements in the quality of life.

Ability to communicate

“In my view his most impressive attribute is his ability to communicate with all those he encounters, either through Makaton (or other communication systems for adults without verbal communication) or when communicating with stakeholders when advocating for those he supports.

“James has worked in the team for approximately 15 years and I can honestly say that I am proud to work alongside him.

“As a senior social worker he always makes himself available to support social work staff and contribute to their ongoing development.

The contribution that James makes may be undervalued by some but I have no hesitation in nominating him as a true Community Care ‘social work hero’.”

Harding cites a particular example of a young woman James worked with who had both learning disability and mental illness.

“When James was first introduced to her she was at a very low ebb,” he says. The young woman had had to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act and was deemed to be a significant risk to herself in terms of self-harm.

Critical contribution

“Over an extended period James supported her practically, and at times emotionally, alongside fellow professionals to develop her emotional resilience. James supported the young lady to secure independent accommodation and employment and she is now a valued and contributing member of her local community with a very low risk of returning to her former difficulties.

“While the young lady is of course responsible for her own achievements there is no doubt James provided a critical and positive contribution to helping her realise them.”

Well done James – you’re a #swhero! A box of chocolates is on its way to you now!

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 or email us at: We’ll pick a winner each week and send them a box of chocolates as a little “thank you” for all their hard work.You can also see our heroes on our brand new Instagram account (Community_Care).

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3 Responses to Social work hero: ‘His contribution is often undervalued but I am always impressed’

  1. Thando Moyo January 8, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

    Social work hero indeed. Well done “Mr Coyne”….!

  2. Pete Shrimplin January 9, 2016 at 4:35 pm #

    A very well deserved bit of recognition for such a hard working and dedicated chap, not only that he’s also very funny and extremely likeable who undoubtedly will share out his box of chocolates!

  3. winnie ngwenya January 13, 2016 at 11:04 pm #

    Well done James you truly deserve the title- I remembered shadowing you on one occasion when you reviewed a case- you nailed it!