Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

Social worker wins top national award

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Emma Cox was named the gold winner in the Championing Social Work Values category at the prestigious event in London.

Emma, who co-founded an organisation to help abandoned and orphaned children in poverty-stricken areas of the world, has been honoured at the national Social Worker of the Year Awards.

The award recognises social workers who have been champions for the value base of social work, through their work or other activities.

Emma Cox, winning her gold award

Emma Cox (second from left), with (L-R) TV chef and emotional wellness advocate Lorraine Pascale; Councillor Louise McKinlay, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at award sponsor Essex County Council; and James Rook, Chief Executive of Headline Sponsor Sanctuary Personnel. (Credit: Casey Gutteridge, CPG Photography)

Emma is a social worker in our children’s services team, supporting and advocating for vulnerable children and families to help them improve their lives.

In addition to this, she has spent many years assisting and protecting the long-term emotional, physical, and psychological development of abandoned and orphaned children in Romania.

In 2001, Emma and a small group of friends took a gap year to the country where she travelled to volunteer and care for children living in orphanages and Roma communities. Emma’s commitment to change the lives of the children she had been caring for was so strong she ended up living in Romania for seven years.

During this time, she co-founded the charity Humanitas, which she led to provide private foster care and residential homes for abandoned children living in orphanages. She also tackled the problem of abandonment by setting up a family support programme across a whole country to support vulnerable parents and families within Roma communities, while also providing family support and vital education.

Emma’s charity work has gone onto provide education, medical services and family support across the globe in Africa, Europe and Asia. She continues to volunteer her time and provide a pivotal role for the Humanitas charity, supporting the work she set up in Romania.

The judging panel for the Social Worker of the Year Awards described Emma as a “role model for the profession”, praising her for championing the principles of social work both locally and through her volunteering work in Europe.

Emma said:

It was extra special to win in this category, but I accept the award on behalf of all the amazing social workers, dedicated professionals and volunteers I work with. We are all part of achieving good outcomes for children and families in central Bedfordshire and elsewhere.

I am also privileged to walk alongside families and am often inspired by the people I support, especially the young people who show such strength and resilience in what is often a traumatic period in their lives. It is a pleasure to be part of their journey and, for those people that have been part of mine, I can’t thank them enough.

Sue Harrison, our Director of Children’s Services said:

Everyone at Central Bedfordshire Council is very proud of Emma’s achievement. Her story of helping disadvantaged children around the world, as well as right here in Central Bedfordshire, goes to show just what a committed, caring and dedicated person she is. And, as a social worker, she is a role model that makes a positive difference every day, so she is fully deserving of this national recognition.

The awards were presented by TV chef and emotional wellness advocate, Lorraine Pascale, in front of an audience of over 450 social workers and representatives of the profession. The awards are organised by the Social Work Awards charity, which aims to improve public awareness and understanding of social work by showing the positive impact of social workers in the wide range of roles they undertake.

For more information about the awards, visit www.socialworkawards.com.