Published: 3 December 2019 at 13:00
Two graduates also win their categories at Social Worker of the Year Awards
Mary Carter, an Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) student whose teenage years growing up in care inspired her to become a social worker, has won gold in her category at the national Social Worker of the Year Awards.
Alongside her studies, third-year Social Work student Mary, 25, set up the first ‘Social Work Society’ as well as being a mentor for first-year students. Mary has worked with ARU to transform its care leavers’ strategy and is also working with an Essex local authority to improve practices for children in care.
Judges described Mary, who studies at ARU’s Chelmsford campus, as a “high flyer”, commending her for using her own personal experiences to advocate for and support other care leavers.
Mary was presented with her Student Social Worker of the Year award by TV chef and emotional wellness advocate, Lorraine Pascale, in front of an audience of over 450 social workers and representatives of the profession from around the country at the Royal Lancaster London Hotel. Mary said:
“Becoming a social worker is a lifelong ambition and I never expected to be in this position.
“I am very fortunate to have had a few people that have stood by me from the start and never gave up on me even if that meant giving their own time to protect me.
“I believe that when we talk about helping children in care, we should look at education as the heart of any solution.
“I am extremely thankful to ARU for the opportunity to work towards my ambition – the belief the university staff had in me from the very start is an overwhelming feeling in itself.”
Two former ARU students, Dan Grimes (Newly Qualified Children’s Social Worker of the Year) and Ella Waughman (Newly Qualified Adult Social Worker of the Year), also won gold in their respective categories, and ARU’s Jacqueline Wolstenholme was also nominated in the field of Practice Educator of the Year.
Jennifer Rafter, Deputy Head of School for Social Work at ARU, said:
“We are extremely proud to have been represented at so many categories in these national awards. Mary, Dan, Ella and Jacqueline deserve huge congratulations for their respective achievements.”