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Three superstar social workers have been shortlisted in a prestigious national award scheme for their efforts to support vulnerable children, young people and families in the city.

The Social Worker of the Year Awards take place annually to celebrate the achievements of practitioners and teams in the profession across the country.

Stronger Futures and Portsmouth City Council put forward colleagues in children’s social care, with three social workers being shortlisted in the following categories.

  • Liam Mills – Social worker – (Category: Children’s social worker of the year)
  • Amanda Haylock- Service leader – (Category: Team leader of the year)
  • Lucy Collier – Newly qualified social worker – (Category: Student social worker of the year)

Councillor Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education at Portsmouth City Council welcomed the news:

“Since launching Stronger Futures, we feel it is important to shout about amazing social workers who do a fantastic job supporting the city’s children, young people and families. The fact that our colleagues have been recognised in three different categories is a huge achievement. You all deserve a collective thank you for your hard work!”

As part of the nomination process, a supporting statement was submitted for each social worker which showcased their compassion, resilience and professionalism when supporting those who need it most.

Liam Mills who is part of the family safeguarding and support team, visited homes during the first lockdown to ensure families had the right support. Liam’s work has also seen him creating picture books for children to explain complex subjects that might be impacting a family’s life.

Amanda Haylock, service leader in the adult family safeguarding team introduced Portsmouth’s unique approach to family safeguarding, working with different teams to support parents/carers in issues such as mental health, substance misuse and domestic abuse.

Sarah Daly, deputy director of children and families at Portsmouth City Council said:

“Our workforce in children’s social care mean the world to us. A national awards scheme gives us a chance to showcase what we are all about by recognising the efforts of our teams across the service.

“We value our teams’ commitment to children, young people and families in the city. I would like to thank you all for your ongoing work and give you all a well-earned congratulations.”

Lucy Collier, a newly qualified social worker, who has been shortlisted in the student social worker of the year category, said:

“When my colleagues told me I had been shortlisted, I couldn’t believe it. It’s an incredible feeling to be recognised. Portsmouth is such a great place to work, partly due to the training and mentoring I have received through Portsmouth City Council and the University of Winchester.”

In her role at Portsmouth City Council, Lucy has been proactive in developing relationships with specialist schools in the city to enable better partnership working as well as supporting families who require respite as part of their care packages.

Lucy joined Portsmouth City Council through the step up to social work programme, a government initiative, which is designed to support those who graduate from training into employment. The University of Winchester supported Lucy on the 14-month programme.

Simon Jobson, dean of the faculty of health and wellbeing at the University of Winchester said:

“Congratulations to Lucy on her nomination and her fantastic achievements in her work for Portsmouth City Council since graduating from the University of Winchester.

“Our step up students undertake placements across the South, thanks to our close collaboration with local councils. This combination of employment and academic experience leads to the development of confident, highly-skilled and reflective practitioners, like Lucy, who are ready to work effectively and safely in social services.”

Those shortlisted will find out if they have won on Wednesday 17 November as part of a special virtual awards ceremony broadcast live from London. For more information on children’s social work at Portsmouth City Council, visit: