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December 2019

Think Ahead alum wins Mental Health Social Worker of the Year award

One of Think Ahead’s alumni, Thea Radburn, has been honoured as “Mental Health Social Worker of the Year” at the Social Worker of the Year Awards 2019.

Thea (pictured above, right, alongside Ingrid Richardson who won the Silver award in the same category) was a member of Think Ahead’s first cohort and completed the programme in 2018. She was put forward for the award by senior social worker Joy Rickard, who was Thea’s supervisor during her second year on the programme.

“From the moment she began working with me I have been totally impressed with her kind, gentle but reassuring manner.”

A service user supported by Thea

The judges said Thea had received “an abundance of compliments” in her nomination and that her “enthusiasm and person-centred approach really came across”. One person supported by Thea said: “From the moment she began working with me I have been totally impressed with her kind, gentle but reassuring manner.”

Thea, who holds an undergraduate degree in psychology and criminology, joined the Think Ahead programme in 2016 and trained on the job at our partner organisation Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust. Through the two-year programme, Thea gained a postgraduate diploma and master’s degree in social work.

She has since continued to work at the NHS Trust and made time to deliver training to her colleagues and to host social work peer-supervision sessions alongside her day-to-day case work.

About receiving the award, Thea said: “It was such a privilege to win this award, and to attend the ceremony to celebrate all the great social work practice up and down the country. I’m so glad that the role of social work in mental health settings is growing in its profile, and the understanding that social circumstances can have hugely positive and negative effects on people’s mental health.

“I’m proud to be a part of this growing understanding through both my Trust and Think Ahead; the training and support I’ve had from both has been pivotal to my career so far, and I’m very grateful for the opportunities they have afforded me.”

The Social Worker of the Year Awards have been taking place annually since 2006. Registered social workers can be nominated for a category either by themselves or by a third party. The independent judging panel is made up of leading professionals from the social work sector, former care leavers and service users, representatives from the awards’ sponsors, and previous winners.

You can find out more about all of the winners on the website of the Social Worker of the Year Awards.

Photograph: CPG Photography / The Social Work Awards.