A Kirkcowan woman has been named Student Social Worker of the Year by the Scottish Association of Social Work.
Marion (Susie) Allison, who is the final year of a BA(Hons) in Social Work with the Open University, received her award from Children and Young People Minister Aileen Campbell at a special ceremony in the Grassmarket Community Project in Edinburgh.
Susie, 42, a former pupil of Douglas Ewart High School, gained the award for her outstanding work while on placement with Dumfries and Galloway Council which sponsors her studies. She had previously worked for 11 years for the Young People’s Support Service.
During her time on placement, she showed an enthusiasm for learning, commitment to service users and honesty in reflecting the emotional impact of her work that was an example to other students and workers.
Applying theory to practice, she came up with an initiative to reduce bed-blocking which was described as “astounding” by the awards judges.
Realising that care agencies refused to take on work in remote rural areas, she devised a week-long schedule to make the visits more practical. This meant patients who would otherwise have been in hospital could move home and NHS staff were freed for other duties.
Susie said: “I was very fortunate to have had my first placement with adult services in Stranraer where the team was very supportive and encouraging. Although I collected the award, I feel my practice teacher Esther Wall and the whole of the team share this with me.
“The SASW social work awards ceremony was a fantastic experience and I feel very privileged to have been part of this celebration of social work.”
The winners each received a trophy to keep, a weekend break in Europe and a year’s free membership of SASW.