Hull social worker, Anna O’Brien, has been shortlisted for Newly Qualified Social Worker of the Year.
Anna has had an abundance of positive feedback from families she has worked with and has been described as going above and beyond by her senior managers, as well as being praised by an Ofsted inspector.
Anna joined Hull City Council as a social work student and completed her placement in a Locality Safeguarding Children’s Team. She qualified with first class honours in social work and then applied for a permanent position with the council.
Pauline Turner, Director of Children’s Services, said: “During her assessed and supported year Anna has gone above and beyond and demonstrated outstanding social work practice. She continues to be professionally curious when working with children, and seeks to understand the impact of harm they face.
“Her enthusiastic approach to her role as a front line social worker results in better outcomes for children and families, and she is a fantastic role model for others who are new to the role.”
Anna’s manager, Claire, describes two of the ways Anna has gone above and beyond. Claire said: “During the pandemic, Anna co-ordinated a community response to helping those families who were isolating due to ill health and had no extended family support. She called local charities and businesses who could help fund activities, food or general help. Over the course of the lockdown she delivered food parcels, activity packs and booklets around Covid to help children who were worried and parents who struggled to explain this in a child-centred way. Anna did some of the activities on FaceTime, she dropped off colouring pens and games in gardens, and this helped those families living in poverty stimulate the children during those worrying times.
“Anna also went the extra mile working with a young person by working flexible hours, and being on-hand for advice and support. She booked to see the young person most days and at least twice a week on an evening she would go running and allow the young person to let off steam and improve her moods.”
Councillor Shane McMurray, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services said: “Anna is someone who has come in to the profession because she has an inner desire to help others; she is an absolute inspiration to the profession. Her achievements to date have all been down to her determination to make society a better place and to help children and young people, and she is fully deserved of this award.
“Hull has many challenges both social and economic and it’s too often our children who suffer the consequences. This is why it’s so important we recognise social workers because they are doing great work and can end cycles of deprivation, leaving a legacy that can extend long into our city’s future.”