Two members of Wolverhampton's Youth Offending Team (YOT) and another member of the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Adult Social Care Services have been recognised as Amazing Social Workers by a national organisation.

Kimberley O’Neill and Brian Keenan were nominated by colleagues from the multi agency YOT, while Claire Edwards’ name was put forward by her social work manager – and all 3 have received the accolade from the British Association of Social Workers.

YOT Team Manager Lianne Evans nominated Kimberley, saying: "Our team has completed considerable training around trauma informed practice and Kim has fully embraced this approach; she committed a great deal of time to fully understanding how early childhood trauma impacts upon the development of children and can affect their behaviour and decision making in later life. 

"She proactively sought additional resources that have enabled her to share her knowledge with the young people she has worked with, helping them to understand their own trauma and how it impacts upon their responses to certain situations.

"Her level of understanding of trauma informed practice has enabled her to advocate for all of her young people in a variety of situations and the work she has delivered is nothing short of inspiring."

Kimberley said: "What a privilege it is to have this recognition. I feel so lucky to be a social worker at the Youth Offending Team, I have never worked in such a child centred environment. 

"Everything we do is for our young people and I’m very proud to be a small part of an amazing team of people who work tirelessly to improve the lives of young people. We are hugely supported by our management team to be creative, raise standards and fight for social justice."

Brian was nominated by Operational Manager Julie Turner. She said: "Restorative justice is a means of bringing the person harmed and the person responsible for the harm into communication, and Brian is a real champion of this. He regularly goes above and beyond for both parties involved; he is meticulous and adaptable in the preparatory work to bring about the best outcomes for all and passionately believes in the positive possibilities attainable through restorative justice.

"He is an amazing social worker and his work within restorative practice absolutely adheres to fundamental social work values and practice. In a recent inspection our restorative justice unit was described by inspectors as 'impressive' and, in my opinion, Brian is instrumental to this. A colleague commented that this isn’t just a role for Brian – it's who he is; caring, compassionate, empathetic and brilliantly clever, and I absolutely concur!"

Brian said: "I feel truly humbled by Julie’s kind words. I really struggle with praise and recognition for my practice, even though Julie and the team regularly give me positive feedback. I am enabled to do what I do because of the amazing team I am surrounded by. Thanks for the nomination."

Claire, a newly qualified social worker who is completing her Assessed and Supported Year of Practice, was nominated by Senior Social Work Manager Ben Ngundu and Social Work Unit Manager Alison Harris. They said: "Claire's passion and pragmatism is inspiring to her colleagues, and an immense source of pride to her managers. 

“Last August, on going to visit someone at their home, Claire and her colleagues were approached by a woman in distress as they were heading back to their vehicles. She said that she had been stabbed and the person responsible was still in the property with children inside. They took immediate steps to hide her and call the police and Children’s Services who came in to immediately safeguard the children. 

“As a team we were so proud of Claire and how she and her colleagues were able to think on their feet and support this person at a time of extreme crisis when they may also have been in danger to ensure she got the immediate help needed as well as making sure the whole family were safeguarded. 

"I would like to recognise Claire for this fantastic example of bravery and how we adapt in crisis to support people in need as well as the great work she has done generally in the past year. She has a great future ahead of her."

Claire said: “I am very grateful to have received recognition for this incident but I must stress that I did not help this lady alone – I was with 2 colleagues and together we were able to keep this lady safe and call for assistance. 

“We all felt extremely glad that we were there to assist her, as in her distress she may have been dismissed by others who may have not wanted to get involved or were frightened by her presentation. I believe that the experience of our job roles enabled us to act calmly with compassion and kindness.”

Emma Bennett, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Executive Director of Families, said: "Kimberley, Brian and Claire are real assets to the City of Wolverhampton Council and I congratulate them all on being recognised for what they are – amazing social workers – by the British Association of Social Workers."

Kimberley, Brian and Claire’s achievements are being profiled on the British Association of Social Workers’ website and social media channels as part of its Amazing Social Workers campaign which is running throughout World Social Work Month, which is now underway. Doreen Dove and Satvir Panesar, who are both Advanced Social Work Practitioners with the council, have already been recognised in the same way this month.

Lindsey Bates from the British Association of Social Workers said: "We’d like to say a heartfelt thank you for your selfless dedication to our profession and the people we support – for being an Amazing Social Worker."