Essex Social Worker Scoops Top National Award!


Essex Social Worker Melanie Noel has scooped the Adult Social Worker of the Year 2021 Award at England’s Social Worker of the Year Awards 2021 on Wednesday 17 November.

The Awards are run by a not-for-profit charity, founded ten years ago, to celebrate social work and promote positive stories from the profession [full list of gold award winners in editors’ notes].

Each award category is judged by an independent panel of social workers at all levels, people with lived experience, young people who have been in care and senior figures form the world of Social Work.

Who is Melanie Noel?

Melanie qualified as a social worker in 2004 and has worked across children’s services in London and Essex. She was instrumental in setting up Trauma Recovery Empowerment Groups in Family Centres to support mothers with trauma. She has experience supporting parents to deal with domestic violence, self-esteem issues and those who have had children removed from their care.

Now working in adult social care, having joined Essex shortly before the pandemic, Melanie works with adults to improve their mental wellbeing, supporting them to cope with anxiety and trauma.

Melanie has been instrumental in challenging bias and discriminatory behaviours, leading social work teams to understand and embrace diversity. She has been part of promoting anti-racism and cultural sensitivity to Adopters, Special Guardians and Foster Carers through Why Black Lives Matter videos. She is also an active member of the BAME and Women’s network in Essex County Council, advocating to the Corporate Leadership Team.

An inspiration to the profession

Peter Hay CBE, Chair of Trustees at the Social Worker of the Year Awards charity, said: “Melanie’s award entry was accompanied by a raft of colleague endorsements which praised her expertise in trauma-informed approaches, domestic abuse and cultural inclusion.

“They also spoke of what a kind supportive colleague she is, her passion for promoting diversity and inclusion and her proactive efforts to achieve positive change. She’s a thoroughly deserving winner of the gold award in a hotly contested category. -congratulations Melanie!”

“We hope that this celebration of the support, dedication and leadership demonstrated by the finalists provides inspiration and encouragement for all social work professionals to deliver innovative practice in their careers.”

Kelly Hierons, Operational Team Manager at Essex County Council said: “She is an inspiration to the social work profession in thinking therapeutically, often being the sole resource in trying to change people’s behaviour and understanding.”

One parent supported by Melanie reported: “Melanie has changed my life. She has helped me to forgive myself and be much kinder to ‘me’. She has such a wealth of experience and understands how I am feeling without me having to explain everything in minute detail. I look forward to her calls and…I know she has given me the tools I need to continue to be positive about my ability to parent.”

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