Somerset social workers honoured at award ceremony

Two Children’s Social Care workers from Somerset have been honoured for their outstanding work with children and young people in the county.

Gregg Liddington, a Social Worker based in Taunton and Linda Ettey, a Leaving Care Worker based in Bridgwater, were both presented with the Children’s Social Worker of the Year award last week (Friday 29 January) at the Somerset County Council Staff Awards.

Gregg and Linda each received nominations from a number of children and young people that they work with. Each nomination described why they deserved to be recognised for their hard work and dedication.

The children who nominated Gregg said: “He always visits me, listens to everything I say, gives me lots of time and support. He’s always been there for me, he’s honest so I know where I stand. He tells me the truth and makes me look at things in a different way. He’s funny and makes me laugh.”

The young people who nominated Linda said: “She’s helped me through a lot of issues, she never gives up on me, she really cares about me, takes time to seek me out, she goes above and beyond.”

After receiving their awards, Gregg and Linda spoke about how much it meant to them that the children and young people they work with took the time to fill out a nomination form.

Linda said: “We don’t always get a lot of recognition from the young people we work with which is fine because they don’t need to be grateful at all, but it is nice to be recognised. It does mean so much coming from the young people; a lot of them don’t like filling in forms so they have gone that extra mile to do that. I would accept this on behalf of my whole team, because I know that everybody in the Leaving Care Teams across the county go the extra mile for the young people they work with.”

Gregg added: “You deal with long nights, challenging parents, difficult children and you know that you are dealing with people who have a lot of trauma, upset and anger in their lives. So to receive something back from that, it is amazing to hear what an effect you have on people. Even just a small comment like “He’s funny” makes all those long nights and working through your lunch all worthwhile. We know this isn’t an award just for us. There are Social Workers and Leaving Care Workers all over Somerset who every day come in and give 100 per cent and we are brilliantly backed up by our support staff, who pretty much organise our lives!”

In total, the Staff Awards Team received over 60 nominations from children and young people who all wanted their key worker to receive recognition for the incredible work they do.

Four of the other nominees were Highly Commended for their contribution to Children’s Social Care at the award ceremony. Social Workers Maggie Docherty, Charlotte Jeffery and Sarah Phillips and Leaving Care Worker Pam Walters all received numerous nominations from the children and young people they work with.

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “Congratulations to Gregg and Linda for this wonderful achievement and to the staff who were Highly Commended. It was such a difficult category to judge and every single person nominated was deserved an award, but for Gregg and Linda to receive nominations from so many children was outstanding. I’m proud of all the staff for having such an effect on the children and young people they work with, but I am also incredibly proud of those children for understanding that their Social Worker or Leaving Care Worker is on their side and works so hard to get the best for them. ”

The event was the third annual Staff Awards, but this year was the first time that children and young people had been asked to nominate their Social Worker, Leaving Care Worker or Independent Reviewing Officer. All other award winners are nominated by colleagues.

Somerset County Council is currently recruiting social workers as part of ambitious plans to improve Children’s Services in the county. For more information visit www.socialcareandmore.co.uk