Social Workers take a global outlook to exploring community development

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NIASW Chair Colin Reid and Dr Reima Ana Maglajlic at Belfast Castle

The Northern Ireland Association of Social Workers (NIASW) has hosted its annual World Social Work Day celebration. Held at Belfast Castle, the programme focused on the role social workers play in building resilient communities.

Speaking at the event attended by social workers from across Northern Ireland, Colin Reid, NIASW Chair, said: “World Social Work Day is a great opportunity to reflect on the positive difference social workers make for the people we support. Both at home, and around the globe, our profession plays a central role in improving the lives of countless individuals and families.

“The role of community social work has for too long been overlooked and under-resourced. Today’s presentations have highlighted that by working closely with communities, social workers have an opportunity identify problems at an early stage, intervening to provide support and solutions before they have an opportunity to escalate.”

The keynote speaker at NIASW’s event was Dr Reima Ana Maglajlic – senior lecturer at the School of Education and Social Work at the University of Sussex. Dr Maglajlic spoke on the role of social work during and after political conflicts, drawing on her experience of working in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

After delivering her presentation, Dr Maglajlic said: “’It is excellent to have an opportunity to mark World Social Work Day, reflecting on what we can learn from each other across Europe and across the world. Some eighteen years ago in Belfast, Professor Jim Campbell convened what I believe was the first meeting of social work scholars and practitioners who work in countries affected by political conflicts. It was of immense value to me at the time and it continues to be invaluable to social workers across the globe to learn from each other.”

Speaking after the event Sean Holland said: “As Northern Ireland’s Chief Social Worker, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our social workers for the excellent work and care they give, day in and day out. I know you work tirelessly to provide high quality care to your patients and clients and we cannot underestimate the positive impact you have on their lives. Social workers are right at the heart of community care and their role in enabling people to remain at home is invaluable.

Mr Reid finished by saying “The calibre of our contributors at World Social Work Day 2018 has been outstanding. I wish to thank all our speakers who have given of their time and expertise to inspire others about how our profession can continue to make an ever-greater contribution to building resilient communities.”

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