Dedicated social worker helps launch awards at House of Commons

Dave Thomas, centre,  at House of Commons PNL-150227-145104001
Dave Thomas, centre, at House of Commons PNL-150227-145104001

A “passionate and dedicated” social worker from Central Bedfordshire Council who won a top prize at the Social Worker of the Year Awards last year, has celebrated his success at a Parliamentary reception in the House of Commons.

Dave Thomas, who won the Practice Teacher of the Year award at the at the prestigious national awards ceremony in November, was invited to meet Edward Timpson MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Children & Families and Lyn Romeo, Chief Social for Adults, to help officially launch the 2015 awards.

Speaking about the House of Commons event and meeting with representatives for the Department for Education and Department of Health, Dave said: “It was overwhelming to win the award back in November. It’s been great to recognise the good work that’s happening in social work and share it with colleagues from other disciplines in the wonderful setting of the House of Commons.”

An independent practice educator for the last 14 years, Dave has spent the last five as an external practice educator provider for Central Bedfordshire Council, mentoring students from the University of Bedfordshire during their placements with the authority.

As well as helping to launch the 2015 Social Worker of the Year Awards and congratulating the latest cohort of winners, Edward Timpson MP also commended the work of the social work profession.

Speaking at the event, he said: “Talking to those who have been rewarded and awarded for their efforts, it’s clear they believe in the mission they have been sent on and have seen the difference that it can make to families’ lives. Social workers perform one of the most important roles in our society and these awards play a really key part as they gain momentum year on year to remind everybody of that fact.”

Meanwhile, Lyn Romeo added: “It’s wonderful to be able to celebrate social work in the House of Commons. As a profession, we are quite humble and don’t like to shout about the good work that we do. However, we must take credit for our achievements – it’s important for ourselves, the people that we work with and the profession as a whole.”

James Rook is the Managing Director of the awards’ headline sponsor Sanctuary Social Care, and also a trustee of the charity which organises the annual celebration. He said: “The Board of Trustees were delighted to see Dave at the Parliamentary Reception, after watching him win the award in November. Dave has been working away consistently and enthusiastically for years and has made a significant contribution to practice learning. He can be incredibly proud of everything he has achieved.”

The Social Worker of the Year Awards were founded in 2006 by independent practitioner, Beverley Williams, with the aim of improving the understanding and reputation of the profession. They are organised by a registered charity, Social Work Awards Ltd., and are supported by headline sponsors Sanctuary Social Care; Corporate Partners, The College of Social Work and the British Association of Social Workers; and a number of other category sponsors.

Entries for this year’s awards will open on Monday 30th March and will close on Friday 24th July. There are 17 categories in total across both children’s and adult services. For more information about the Social Worker of the Year Awards, visit www.socialworkawards.com. Entry forms will be available to download from Monday 30th March.

Photo shows: Dave Thomas (centre) meets Minister Edward Timpson MP (right), Chief Social Worker Lyn Romeo, and James Rook (left) from Sanctuary Social Care at the House of Commons