A social worker from Redcar and Cleveland has received national recognition after winning a top prize at the prestigious Social Worker of the Year Awards.

Louise Walker, who works for Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, was named the winner of the Raising the Profile of Social Work award at the national event which took place last week (Friday 24th November) in London.

The award recognises social workers who have made a difference in promoting a recognition of the importance and value of social work.

Louise has been a social worker at Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council for over 25 years and currently holds the role of Principal Social Worker across both adults’ and children’s services. The judges described Louise as an ‘exceptional candidate’ and praised her rounded, inclusive and perceptive approach to her role as principal social worker at the authority. They also commented that social workers were valued, and felt valued, as a result of her work.

Louise, who was nominated by the council’s Corporate Director for Children and Families, Barbara Shaw, said: “This is fantastic. Although the award was given to me, it’s a real team effort. I couldn’t raise the profile of social work in Redcar and Cleveland if it wasn’t for the social workers out there doing the day job. It’s very rare that we get some positive recognition so to have awards that recognise the valuable impact that social work has on people’s lives is just fantastic.”

Councillor David Walsh, Cabinet Member for Adults at Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, said: “We would all like to say a huge congratulations to Louise. We are so proud of her and the work she has done to promote the importance and value of social work. She thoroughly deserves this recognition, and we are delighted she has represented Redcar and Cleveland on this national scale.”

Cllr Val Slater, Health & Wellbeing Portfolio Holder at award sponsor Bradford Council, said: “I was thrilled to present Louise with the Gold award for Raising the Profile of Social Work. Louise actively promotes the role of the social worker and the contribution that social work brings and should be very proud of her achievements.”

Louise was presented with her award by celebrity chef and awards patron Lorraine Pascale in front of an audience of over 400 social workers and representatives of the profession. The Social Worker of the Year Awards were founded in 2006 by independent practitioner, Beverley Williams MBE, with the aim of improving the understanding and reputation of the profession.

This year the awards have been supported by headline sponsors Sanctuary Social Care; Corporate Partners, the British Association of Social Workers; and category supporters Devon County Council, Barnardo’s, Community Care, The Open University, Calderdale Council, Hampshire County Council, Essex County Council in partnership with Servelec HSC, Gloucestershire County Council, UNISON, Kent County Council, iMPOWER, Bradford Metropolitan District Council, OLM Systems and Tees Valley Local Authority Children’s Services.

For more information about the Social Worker of the Year Awards please visit www.socialworkawards.com.