Edinburgh service celebrates as staff member named Social Worker of the Year

Social Worker of the Year

A social worker at Penumbra’s Milestone service has been recognised for providing outstanding support to people recovering from the effects of alcohol addiction.

Ian Jeffries was last night (20 March 2018) named Social Worker of the Year by the Scottish Association of Social Work (SASW). He was handed the title at the organisation’s annual awards ceremony, which was held at the Hilton Carlton Hotel in Edinburgh and attended by social work bosses from across Scotland and the Minister for Childcare and Early Years, Maree Todd MSP.

Ian works at Penumbra Milestone, an alcohol-free residential unit in Edinburgh which provides short-term care for people who have a diagnosis of Alcohol Related Brain Damage (ARBD). He is employed by City of Edinburgh Council and works as part of the multi-agency, multi-disciplinary team at the service, which is made up of staff from Penumbra, NHS Lothian and City of Edinburgh Council.

As the social worker in the Milestone in-reach team, Ian helps people who have ARBD to move on and return to the community.

ARBD is an umbrella term for the damage caused to the brain by heavy drinking over several years. It affects the long-term functioning of the brain, causing problems with thinking, mood, memory and learning.

Penumbra Milestone provides a stepping stone for people with ARBD who are well enough to leave hospital, but who are not ready to return to living in the community. The service supports people to abstain from alcohol, address any mental health difficulties, and relearn the life skills they need to live independently.

75% of people diagnosed with ARBD will make some form of recovery and 25% of this group go on to make a full recovery.

Ian says he did not expect to win.

“It was a great surprise to learn that I was nominated for social worker of the year and I’m really chuffed to win. It feels strange to receive an individual award as Milestone has very much been a team effort. Everyone pitches in and works together to help service users – there is never a problem that cannot be overcome.

“Thanks to those who nominated me, but thanks also to everyone at Milestone. I’m proud of the award but prouder to be part of this team.”

Lesley Forbes, manager at Penumbra Milestone, says Ian is a vital part of the service.

“Achieving positive outcomes for residents depends on colleagues from health, social work and the third sector pulling together. Ian works tirelessly with the team to achieve this and he always has the individual needs of each resident at heart. His dedication has changed the lives of many, many people who have used the service. I’d like to say a huge congratulations and thank you from everyone at Milestone – he really deserves this award.”

Ian was nominated for the award by Anne Marie Logan (a senior manager at Penumbra), Lesley Forbes (Manager, Milestone), Colin Beck (Strategic Planning Manager for Mental Health, City of Edinburgh Council), the Milestone Governance Group, and Angela, a former resident who credits Ian with transforming her life.

Trisha Hall, from SASW said:

“SASW was delighted to celebrate fantastic social work achievement on World Social Work Day. The Minister delivered an inspirational address which was most appreciative of the contribution social workers make every day.

“The examples and stories that were shared on the night are reflections of great work which supports and protects people as well as the communities they are part of. Work of this standard is amazing and very uplifting. The professionals and teams nominated tonight make us proud to be social workers in Scotland.”

More information

For more information contact Robin Murphy on 0131 475 2569 or email communications@penumbra.org.uk.