SOCIAL workers across County Durham have been celebrated as part of World Social Work Day.

Taking part in a number of activities to mark the day, staff at Durham County Council have been thanked for their continued support of vulnerable residents, particularly throughout the pandemic.

The council’s heads of adult care and children’s social care paid tribute to social workers across the county for their exceptional contributions over the past 12 months and beyond as they delivered frontline services despite the challenges of coronavirus.

The theme of this year’s event is the message of Ubuntu, an African concept which means ‘I am because we are’ and highlights the need for solidarity and the fact that people are so interconnected.

One of the activities to mark the day involved social workers and young people who are supported by the council’s services taking part in a virtual session with the Heart Remind Community Interest Company, based in County Durham.

Working together virtually they were able to co-create a large visual artwork on the theme of Ubuntu.

Chris Clark, a youth worker with the company, said: “I believe that incorporating the Ubuntu philosophy into World Social Work Day opens a door for the individuals involved to reach a better understanding of what community truly means to them.

"It creates a new mindset of what equality and diversity is so that it can be applied in their everyday lives.”

Cllr Lucy Hovvels MBE, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for adult and health services, said: “Social work is a vital part of society and I’d like to thank all of those who work in the sector for the incredible job that they do.“It’s great to see so many events have taken place to spread the word about this area and I hope the day of action encouraged more people to take an interest in how important it is to the modern world.”

Cllr Olwyn Gunn, Cabinet member for children and young people’s services, said: “Social work is a challenging but rewarding profession and makes a huge difference to the lives of vulnerable people in our county. In the last year, social workers and their colleagues have gone above and beyond. World Social Work Day was, therefore, a wonderful opportunity to come together to reflect on our values in what has been a difficult year.

"To have young people and adults who we support at the heart of this was truly emotional.”