20/03/2018 - Permalink

Blog: World Social Work Day – a social worker’s story

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In recognition of World Social Work Day we are sharing stories from our social work teams.

In this blog Tanya Miles, head of adult social care, tells us why she become a social worker.

Tanya Miles, Shropshire Council's head of adult social care

Tanya Miles

My journey into social work started at the age of 16. I spent my Saturdays working in an adult placement scheme in Woolwich (south east London) supporting Elsie, Eileen and Joan who had lived together on a long stay ward at Bexley hospital for many years together, had been admitted into hospital as young women and resettled into an amazing family home (adult placement scheme) in their late 60s. I spent many hours listening to their stories, often whilst travelling on London buses to the various jumble sales!

After college I worked in Lewisham as a support worker for adults with learning disabilities. I was key worker for Christine. Christine loved travelling up to the London theatres, shopping and baking cakes: my favourite memory was taking her to Greece on holiday where she danced with the Greek waiters and laughed when the waiter referred me to her as her daughter! Christine was placed as a child in Darenth Park hospital and as part of my induction I visited the hospital; I was also shown the harrowing and controversial Silent Minority documentary.

Both the documentary, and the visit to Darenth Park, remind me why I want to be part of an inclusive society that enables children and adults with physical/learning disabilities or mental health problems to live with their families and be part of their communities, where we can all work, socialise and live without the fear of discrimination or oppression.  I became a social worker because of Elsie, Eileen, Joan and Christine: I was so impressed by the difference their social workers had made to their lives against so many challenges from their relatives and the communities (‘not in my back yard!’) in resettling these amazing women out of hospital and into the community.

Integrated community service team

Tanya Miles (left to middle centre) with the integrated community service team who support discharged hospital patients to return home as soon as possible.

Years later, I now feel very proud to work for a council with strong values and to say that 83% of our adults with learning disabilities live in their own home.

Today is World Social Work Day.  A day to celebrate the achievements of our profession and raise awareness of the valuable contributions social workers make to our society.  Finally, I will end with this brilliant ‘you tube’ clip: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-coventry-warwickshire-43443510

Have a great day!

Best wishes