Social Work Award for Ed

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A social worker based on the Isle of Barra who provides services to a number of small island communities has been recognised with an award.

Ed Lowe, a Senior Social Worker with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, was Highly Commended in the “Social Worker of the Year” awards held by the Scottish Association of Social Work. He received his award from Children and Early Years Minister Adam Ingram at a special ceremony in Glasgow Science Centre.

Ed (46), who is orginally from Muirkirk in Ayrshire, covers the Isles of Barra, Vatersay, and Eriskay, and is also part of a team of three covering the Uists. With no colleague support immediately to hand, he has to be largely self-sufficient and links in to team meetings by weekly video conferences.

Renowned for his dedication and enthusiasm, Ed has made a significant difference to the people he works with, on one occasion helping an autistic young adult move from a specialist residential resource to supported tenancy on the mainland. He is also learning Gaelic so that he can talk to clients in their first language.

A colleague said: “He is definitely the most dedicated, respectful, enthusiastic, professional and yet approachable social worker who goes above and beyond his duties to ensure the well-being and safety of not only the community but his colleagues as well.”

Ed said: “After the birth of my daughter five years ago, I made the best decision of my life and took up the offer of a social work post on the beautiful Gaelic island communities of Barra and Vatersay.

“I think my award is really shared with the carers and colleagues on the isles, including the NHS, care home, day care and home care staff with whom I work on a daily basis to try and provide the best possible service.”

Adam Ingram, Minister for Children and Early Years, said: “Practice that puts people at it heart, and is safe and effective, is the hallmark of good social services and the approach of those who take on the demanding and complex tasks we ask be done on our behalf.

“The skill, commitment, enthusiasm and creativity shown by the nominees for these awards displays the very best of social services in Scotland.”

Ruth Stark, Social Worker Manager of the Scottish Association for Social Work, said: “This year the awards are called Social Work Voices. Each of our nominees has a story to tell about the difference they have made to people’s lives in our communities. Each of the winners has gone that extra mile in improving the society in which we live.

“Social workers are day in, day out, helping people who are struggling with meeting needs, managing risky situations and trying to balance competing rights and responsibilities. These awards are the voice of front line workers telling their stories.”