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Esther's Career at Camden Council

Category: volunteering, Social Work, Camden Council, Working at Camden Council, Careers at Camden, Rewarding Careers at Camden

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I’ve just been awarded an MBE for services to children and young people in the Queen’s 2020 New Year Honours List.

Esther imageESTHER'S STORY

I’ve always been passionate about supporting children and young people.

I started with volunteer and youth work in my local community in Hackney – helping the younger children with their educational needs and personal development. I enjoyed seeing their growth and helping them to realise their true potential – it’s just so rewarding.

Back when I was growing up in Hackney, there were plenty of concerns about gang violence and disadvantaged families. Being surrounded by these kinds of problems just made me want to help people even more.  

After my Psychology degree, I did my Master’s in Social Work. I still helped in my community and did contact supervising, too. My final placement was in child protection – and I absolutely loved it. So, a year after securing a job at Ealing council, I moved to Camden’s Children in Need team. I’ve been in Camden for around seven years. 

Camden have always listened to what I want to do and supported my development.

It was Camden who suggested I take on the senior practitioner role and then the team manager role. I enjoy the management side, but I still like helping my team with their caseloads. I don’t want to be too far removed from the frontline. I’m still hands on, and I still meet families.

I’ve just been awarded an MBE for services to children and young people in the Queen’s 2020 New Year Honours List.

It was a surprise when I opened the letter! It feels nice to be recognised for my work because it’s a tough job. I love being a social worker. I’m proud to do what I do. 
I am part of the systemic champions group. We meet monthly to talk about how we could gradually build systemic practice into Camden’s way of working.

As a group, we helped lead its development in the borough. It’s Camden’s model of social work: a much more reflective way of working, where we dive deeply into a family’s circumstances before taking any kind of intervention or action. It’s how I’ve always worked with families really. I like to be sensitive to what they’re going through.

One size doesn’t fit all. I’ve worked on amazing cases where there have been really positive outcomes. 

You can’t really get much just from reading the case files. Some paper files can scare you. I remember one boy in particular who on paper looked really bad. But I knew he was lovely. I had talked to him in prison and he wasn’t like his paperwork described him. He wanted to move on. It reminded me of when I was growing up and the people stuck in gang activities there.

Limited resources are a challenge. We always have barriers – especially if the funding for a service has been cut. So, we have to be as creative as we can, for example finding things in the community that support families and keep young people motivated. But we’re quite out of the box at Camden anyway. We’re unique and creative in how we do things.

 

For more details on Camden Council's diversity and inclusion programmes and initiatives please click here.

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