Celebrating Social Work Conferences | BASW Cymru & Social Care Wales
Social workers, social work students, those with living experience, voluntary agencies and universities attended to help us celebrate and connect with one another once again. Both conferences provided practitioners the opportunity to connect with one another and students the valuable opportunity to further ignite their passion for social work.
Delyth (BASW Cymru National Standing Committee member, see below in pink) welcomed delegates to the Cardiff Conference and chaired what was a fantastic celebratory event for us all. Our newly appointed National Director, Professor Sam Baron introduced herself (see below) and impressed the key central role social work has in all our lives.
Both events delivered a strong message that social work is a valued profession. Welsh Government – Chief Social Care Officer, Albert Heany and Deputy Minister Julie Morgan (see below) shared their recognition of the challenges of the role and shared their gratitude for all whose who work to support individuals in crisis, particularly during the current societal challenges we face in society.
The conferences highlighted our practice methodology and commitment to strengths-based approaches being used in practice across Wales.
This was an opportunity to share the positive impact of social work as an inclusive profession and strengthen existing connected communities whilst inviting and creating new connections.
Hope and pride were key themes which came across on the day.
Abyd Quinn-Aziz (Academic and BASW Cymru member) chaired the panel discussion at both events commented, ‘Throughout the days we heard inspiring and positive talks, reminding us to appreciate our profession and our work. We also focused on why we do this work and the values such as social justice that underpin our work, where we act with and for people marginalised by society’. See Abyd in action below.
Andrew Pennington (Senior Practitioner and Co-Chair of BASW Cymru’s National Standing Committee) was a panel member for the Llandudno Conference (see below, third from the right).
Rhoda Emlyn Jones shared her ongoing passion for social work and inspired delegates to continue to be proud of their profession.
The workshops were well attended and highlighted the importance of co-production and fully understanding the individuals we work with.
Wellbeing was a central message throughout both conferences. Particularly how practitioners wellbeing can be better supported, including the development of compassionate leadership.
Rebecca Cicero, the Improvement and Development Manager for Adults (Social Care Wales) ran a workshop with Taryn Stephens called ‘Compassionate Leadership and why it matters’ and commented that ‘…for me, in my workshop, it was a brilliant opportunity to hear from social workers around compassionate leadership – what is working and what needs to happen more. People said in their feedback it would be helpful to see what ‘role-modelling’ compassionate leadership looked like. There were also some examples of good supervision and the recognition that good supervision is valued. The value of allowing people to spend time together and build relationships was mentioned, as well as the need for wider organisational support. There was also a suggestion that there needs to be a network to allow people to share ideas and practice.’
Social Care Wales and BASW Cymru are committed to supporting organisations to creating safe working environments which are continuously improving and supports health and well-being. The Social Care Wale’s Wellbeing Framework is a good follow up tool following the conferences. It highlights the range of resources and support available for social work professionals to support them to practice effectively and maintain their personal and professional wellbeing. Please see both links for further support for social workers in Wales BASW Cymru Social Work Professional Support Service (SWPSS) and Canopi.
BASW Cymru welcomed many longstanding and new members to the conference. Narinder Sidhu (Professional Officer) shared details of our support service for social workers with Dr Bolanle John Emaim who was inspired to hear about our work. Please note that our BASW Cymru Social Work Professional Support Service (SWPSS) is open to all social workers in Wales regardless whether you are a member of BASW Cymru.
Sarah McCarty, the Director of Improvement and Development (Social Care Wales) closed both conferences with a positive celebratory message recognising the importance of social workers feeling valued reminding me of the many superpowers that we possess as social workers.