This year saw Vidhya not only win gold for Adult’s Social Worker of the Year 2017, she also picked up Overall Social Worker of the Year 2017 too – something her colleagues and peers had no doubt about. Described by the judges as “everything that is good about the social work profession” she is an inspiration to all in the social work sector.
Vidhya is a social worker who clearly lives and breathes the profession. It is clear to see how Vidhya’s real life experience of witnesses issues of oppression, discrimination and poverty underpin her approach to social work. Rob Mitchell, Principal Social Worker, Bradford Metropoliton District Council
Partnership plus plus’ is what Vidhya does best. Formidable and deeply human she demonstrates passion and commitment, energy and relentless focus on achieving best outcomes for those she works with. She is truly inspiring.Ana Popovici, Deputy Director of Children’s Services, London Borough of Hillingdon
Why did you become a Social Worker?
I do social work because I love to make a difference in people’s lives especially the most vulnerable in our society – children, elderly and people with disabilities and those who are disadvantaged as a result of their vulnerability. It gives me a huge sense of satisfaction at the end of the day’s work, having been the cause of someone’s happiness.
For me social work is all about practising and living the values and principles of social justice, social inclusion and equality and this is formed by my understanding of the effect of oppression, discrimination and poverty on individuals. This understanding has evolved from my practice as a social worker in the slums and resettlement colonies of Delhi, India.
How did you hear about HCL?
HCL is an excellent and supportive agency that cares about its workers. I was initially referred by a colleague and was aware that HCL was the biggest provider of social worker’s for Children’s Services. I have worked with HCL in the past and was happy to be back with HCL since past 2 months.
Can you tell us what your typical day involves?
I always believed and promoted individual and community empowerment and this ongoing belief has helped to advocate on behalf of the adults I work with and their family members every day to promote the individual’s independence, whilst assessing potential risks in a balanced way.
Every day at work involves meeting with adults who are patients on the ward, engaging them in conversations, getting to know their needs, strengths and their networks, talking to their family members or friends and other multi-disciplinary team colleagues and looking at ways to maximise the independence of the adults in the hospital enhanced assessment units so they can return, wherever possible, and maintain their private and family life.
In doing this I face a lot of challenges every day involving the pressure of freeing up hospital beds from health colleagues, balancing risks and peoples’ independence, confronting family members whose family conflicts or dynamics work against the best interests of the person concerned and liaising with care providers to identify most suitable alternative accommodations.
What’s the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is meeting people who need you and who rely on you to recognise what they are capable of and who expect you to find the best options and alternatives for them to remain independent and live a dignified and quality life back home. When I do my work I would like to keep my focus on people, their strengths and network around them. It is important to be patient and calm with people even in challenging environments because I believe patience and hard work always pays.
Why did you decide to do locum work?
I have always worked as a Locum since I started my social work career in England in 2004. It offers flexibility and allows you to practice social work in different service areas and you gain as a practitioner and as a person given the diverse experience of working with human beings from different strands of life.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I would like to spend quality time with my family- my husband and my two children. We enjoy our meals out on weekends, movies and our holidays during school breaks. It helps me with the much-needed relaxation and helps me to rejuvenate myself to work again efficiently.
What did it feel like when your name was announced as the Social Worker of the Year 2017?
I am very pleased to receive this huge honour and feel humbled at the same time. I will cherish this for a long time. To receive the Adult Social Worker of the Year Gold award in itself was way beyond my expectation but to be recognized as the Overall Social Worker of the Year was even beyond my imagination. It was quite emotional and I would like to acknowledge here the support I had from my line manager Aji John and colleague Maria Jones from whom I learnt a lot. Being recognized for the hard work and passion by your managers is huge in itself and when you receive a lot of positive feedback and compliments from the people I work with it is even sweeter.
Do you want to make a difference to people’s lives too? Join HCL as a locum social worker, and you too could get the same sense of fulfilment as Vidhya has – you never know, you too could be Social Worker of the Year one day. Simply drop us your CV, and we will get back to you.