AN Omagh woman has become the first social worker from the North to win a prestigious award at a UK-wide ceremony organised by the Fostering Network.
Nicola Young, a social work manager with the Western Health Trust’s Family Intervention Team in Omagh, received the Fostering Excellence Award for Outstanding Contribution by a Social Worker at this year’s virtual event.
Nicola said, “The young person who nominated me for the award along with his siblings will always have a particular place in my heart. I was allocated this case on the first day of my career. On a professional level this was a very difficult case for me, however, it has also been very rewarding. Despite the trauma families face, it can be such a challenging and difficult time for children and young people to be removed from their parent’s care and at times not enough credit is given to our young people for the bravery and resilience they show.
“The young person who nominated me for this award wrote me a letter on his 18th birthday – his achievements are truly incredible and I understand he has recently started a course at university. I just want to say I am privileged that this young person let down his barriers and trusted me to help him during what was undoubtedly a very difficult time for him.”
The award-winning social worker also paid tribute to the work of foster carers and the important role they play, as well as her own family for the support they have given to her.
Her mentor, Julie Wilson, service manager of the Family Intervention Team, said, “I am absolutely delighted and immensely proud of my colleague. She is the first social worker in Northern Ireland to have ever won this award – what an incredible achievement!”
A delighted Nicola replied, “I firmly believe that it was Julie’s mentorship when I was a student that has given me the courage and belief in myself, which has got me to where I am today… Julie is a great teacher and I have been very lucky that I have learnt from the best.”
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