Children say thank you to social workers

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

Maxine Morgan, a Social Worker based in the Mendip area, and Kerry Waters, a Leaving Care Worker based in South Somerset, were both presented with the Children’s Worker of the Year Award last month (Wednesday 1 February) at the Somerset County Council Staff Awards.

Maxine and Kerry 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.

A heart-warming film featuring two of the children who nominated Maxine was played at the Award Ceremony and overwhelmed Maxine, who said: “I am so honoured that they would take the time out to do that for me.”

A video which features the two boys who nominated Maxine and her reaction to her win can be viewed here:

Kerry was nominated by a number of young people that she supports to live independently after leaving care. They said:

“Kerry is trustworthy, supportive and has helped me sort my finances out. She’s kind and easy to open up to. I’ve never felt it difficult to be honest with Kerry as she doesn’t judge me, just respects and tries to help me.”

“Kerry is very easy to talk to, nothing is too much for her and she always does her best with whatever she can.”

A video of Kerry with one of the young people who nominated her can be viewed here:

After receiving their awards, Maxine and Kerry 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.

Maxine said: “I really wasn’t expecting it, and I am so proud and really chuffed. This is what makes it all worthwhile, when you hear them say that – not that that’s why you do it but I was really pleased with the video and what they were saying and it just makes my job seem perfect.”

Kerry said: “It’s lovely to be nominated by the young people I work with rather than people in suits. That means so much more to me because that’s why I do the job; I do it for them.”

In total, the Staff Awards Team received 55 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. Independent Safeguarding Review Officers, Giulia Pridmore and Julia McFaul, Leaving Care Officer Claire Haskins and the Accommodation Leaving Care Team were all recognised.

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “Congratulations to Maxine and Kerry for this wonderful achievement and to all the staff who were Highly Commended. It was such a difficult category to judge and every single person nominated deserved an award for the difference they are making to some of our most vulnerable children and young people.

“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 fourth annual Staff Awards, but this year was only the second time that children and young people had been asked to nominate their key worker. 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