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Frontline – two years on

17 March 2015: posted by Walters Alex

Almost exactly two years ago we met a social entrepreneur and a small team of individuals who had an idea that they thought could change the face of children’s social work in the UK. They had brought together a small but strong network of supporters who believed in what they want to build and a business plan but outside of that group, few people knew much about the idea – it’s an extremely fragile time for any young organisation.

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Our research at the time showed that children’s social work was largely misunderstood, misrepresented and malaligned in all but small pockets of society and we shared their view that had to change. Social workers play one of the most important roles in society by supporting some of the most vulnerable children and their families and too often all we hear about are the terrible headlines of the very worst cases.

The risks associated with supporting early stage ideas are always high but we strongly believed in Frontline’s team and crucially that we could help make a real difference to their organisation.

Society depends on good social workers

(Karl Lokko, Big Changer)

Fast forward two years, and Frontline’s first cohort of social work graduates are in the field and have now worked directly with hundreds of families in London and Manchester, the second cohort is about to start their summer training programme and the Department of Education has extended their support for the pilot. To celebrate World Social Work day today, Big Changers Beatrice York and Karl Lokko went to visit a handful of trainee social workers to learn more about their day to day work.

Two things have become clear to all of us at Big Change in the last few years: firstly, how hard and important the role is but crucially how widely misunderstood the profession is outside of social work circles. We have all had teachers, we have probably all seen a doctor or nurse, we are aware of the police and what they do but unless you have had direct interaction with the care system, the role of a social worker is likely to be unclear.

Today’s opportunity allowed me to see first hand the incredible work that social workers are doing every day

(Beatrice York, Big Change Founder and Trustee)

And that is why we are so proud to be be working with Frontline. Attracting and training able individuals to the profession is vital but alongside that sits the challenge of raising their profile and much of the great work that they do around the UK day in and day out.

For more information, please visit the Frontline website and here is the video that we produced alongside Sundog Pictures to celebrate World Social Work day last year: www.thefrontline.org.uk