AN inspirational social worker has been honoured for her work at a South Derbyshire care complex with an exclusive reception in the House of Commons.
Ruth Aten-Shearwood was guest of honour after she scooped top prize at the Social Worker of the Year Awards for her support and care of vulnerable adults in the area at Oakland Village
The Derbyshire County Council employee was showered with praise for helping improve the life of elderly residents at the site in Hall Farm Road, Swadlincote.
She said: “The reception was wonderful – you couldn’t have asked to spend the afternoon in a nicer location or with nicer people.
“I’ve found the whole thing very humbling.
“We know we work hard every day, but it’s nice to have that recognition.
“Meeting the people who are in a position to shape and change policy along with the leaders of the organisations who are helping to drive our profession forward has been fantastic.”
Mrs Aten-Shearwood celebrated her success with the Minister of State for Care and Support Norman Lamb at the event.
The award-winner, who previously worked as a police officer in the United States, made a career change to move into the social work sector and has since been at the helm of the development of Oakland Village.
The judges said that her entry ‘exuded her personal qualities of warmth, flexibility, humour and professionalism’.
Mr Lamb MP said: “It’s so important we celebrate great social work and I’d like to thank those who started these awards.
“They are a fantastic initiative and it’s a great idea to actively celebrate social work – it’s one of our most important public services. “So often when something goes wrong the media has a negative focus, yet we know there are some amazing people in this field of work.
“Celebrating great practice is so important and it gives the profession self-esteem and self-confidence.”
Mr Lamb and Mrs Aten-Shearwood have also urged people to nominate other social workers in Burton and South Derbyshire who should be recognised for going above and beyond the call of duty.
Entries for awards will open on Friday, May 30 and will close on Friday, September 5.
There are 17 categories in total including children’s and adult social worker of the year.
Entry forms can be downloaded at www.socialworkawards.com
The awards are organised by Social Work Awards Ltd, a registered charity with the sole aim of improving the understanding and reputation of the profession.
They were founded in 2006.