Thursday, 10 November 2022 15:21

Dumfries and Galloway Social Worker Suzy Rook is the social worker of the year! Suzy was awarded the accolade last night at an awards ceremony in Glasgow.

The Scottish Social Services Awards recognise and celebrate the very best examples of practice in social work and social care across Scotland. Suzy was nominated in the ‘Social Worker of the Year’ category, a highly contested category which recognises the very best examples of individuals demonstrating their deep commitment to their profession and going above and beyond in their role.

“I can’t believe it” said Suzy. “when they called out my name, I was in shock but getting up there to collect the award, I was absolutely buzzing! It’s such an honour. It’s amazing to be recognised for the job you do, but to be recognised by your peers and industry professionals is incredible. Nobody does this job for the praise, we do it because we care about people and want the best outcomes for everyone. Being recognised for doing your best really means a lot.”

Suzy currently works in the Criminal Justice team within Social Work which she joined in October 2021. However, her nomination also relates to her previous role in Children and Families. She was nominated by two of the families that she worked with during this time.

“Covid was a really difficult time for everyone but seeing families struggling and the consequences of that were really difficult. It really hit families that I supported hard,” said Suzy. “I think my strength is relationship-based practice. It’s all about building relationships. People need to be supported by social workers who are down to earth and personable, then you are able to see and speak to people and identify what they need. There is strength in any family. It is identifying those strengths and working with the families to achieve the best outcomes for everyone”.

The two families that nominated Suzy both benefitted from her experience and approach. In both cases, although in different circumstances, Suzy was able to build relationships with the families, working with and supporting them so that they were able to get back on track and keep their families together achieving the best outcome for the children and the parents.

Neither of the families told Suzy about nominating her. Suzy didn’t know anything about their nominations until she was contacted to say that she had made the shortlist! She is looking forward to letting them know about her award.

Chair of the Social Work Services committee, Cllr Andy Ferguson, said “Congratulations to Suzy. Scottish Social Worker of the Year is an amazing achievement. Her efforts of going above and beyond for local families have been recognised and rewarded as the best in Scotland – this is something to be very proud of. I know that all our social workers in Dumfries and Galloway demonstrate this level of commitment every single day. This is one of the most challenging and difficult jobs but our social work staff are so dedicated to achieving the best for the people they support. It makes me very proud to be the Chair of this service.”

Vice Chair of the committee, Cllr Iain Howie, said “I am delighted for Suzy picking up this amazing accolade. Since becoming the Vice Chair of the Social Work Service, I have heard amazing accounts, just like Suzy’s, of the lengths that our social work staff go to every day to achieve the best outcomes for local people. Their commitment often goes unnoticed, so for Suzy to pick up the Social Worker of the Year award demonstrates just how industry-leading the work being done in Dumfries and Galloway is.”