Orkney celebrated World Social Work Day on Tuesday 20th March with a drop in event at the Pickie Kirkwall. On hand to speak about the valuable work they do in our community were workers across the many fields of social work in the islands.
The mood was very upbeat and positive as workers explained how they support people and work together to deliver an excellent service.
Jon Humphreys from Community Justice spoke about the work done with Community Payback. In Community Payback, offenders are supervised to undertake a variety of tasks. The work undertaken does not displace paid employment and is of clear benefit to the wider community. Often articles made are donated to charity shops around Orkney where they can be sold on.
Anne Mathison, Principal Social Worker for Adult Services and a Mental Health Officer, was on hand to explain the work her team do which concentrates on supporting people who are into the +70 age group. Adult services can help with the practical aspects of managing at home, supporting family and carers, technology and access to day centres or respite. But they can also help people identify the funding they require and where you can find advice on powers of attorney. As Anne explained , its about the complete package of care.
There are excellent training opportunities in Orkney delivered through UHI Orkney College but other providers are available like Open University. For Wilma Bichan, Curriculum Leader for Health,Social Care and Education , her main focus this year is encouraging more men into care work.
Orkney’s Chief Social Work Officer, Scott Hunter introduced the keynote speaker for the day, Martha Nicolson Shetland’s Chief Social Work Officer .
Scott said that the day was an opportunity for social workers in Orkney to be together and to celebrate what they do. He hoped the day would challenge the misconceptions the public had about social work and wanted to highlight the positive stories about it.
Martha Nicolson who started her social work career when she lived in Orkney wanted to share the message of ‘what we do…to the community…. and to Governments’. Her excellent keynote speech began with her start in social work, the 1968 Social Work Act and took us up to the challenges faced today. It was a positive and uplifting speech mirroring the feeling of the whole event.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame