Bedfordshire marks World Social Work Day

Wed 29 March, 2017
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Social Work students explored the challenges facing social workers around the world at an event at the University of Bedfordshire.

The event, which marked World Social Work Day, saw staff and students meet colleagues from Luton Council and Luton Community Mental Health Teams from the East London Foundation Trust (ELFT), which provides mental health services in Luton and elsewhere in Bedfordshire.

Students presented research they had conducted into examples of best practice around the world, looking at how social workers in Nepal tackle child marriage, and how social workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo often risk their safety to help child soldiers integrate back into normal life.

Luton Mental Health Social Work students presented on a day in the life of a mental health social worker in the UK.

Student Aimiuwui Igbedion, who helped organise the event, said: “It has been a really good and enjoyable opportunity for students to work together across our different settings on a joint project.

Gemma McCaffrey, Student Social Worker with the Luton Community Mental Health Teams, said: “We’ve benefitted enormously from swapping stories about work in different countries.”

WSWD post-its - "What does social work mean to us?"

Guests were also invited by Alison Forman from Luton Children’s Services to ask themselves the question of what social work meant for them, with one guest saying it meant ‘having a cool head and a warm heart.’

Roma Thomas, the University’s Course Coordinator for the MA in International Social Work, said: “We are proud to be working together to celebrate World Social Work Day. It’s great to bring together students, academic staff and practitioners from our respective organisation is this joint endeavour.”

ELFT’s Associate Director for Social Care in Luton and Bedfordshire Gail Dearing said: “This year World Social Work Day highlighted key themes of sustainability and the realities of working to support people in times of austerity and instability. These are global issues that impact on social workers, students and their clients. That is why we wanted to mark the significance of the day by highlighting what social workers do in practice.”


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