Alice shares her experience from the edge of care team
To celebrate World Social Work Day 2023, we're shining a light on colleagues across social care at Portsmouth City Council.
World Social Work Day takes place on 21 March 2023 and is a chance to recognise the change that happens locally through our communities, made possible by social workers. Social workers play a vital role in supporting children, young people and families.
Alice Roberts who is a restorative practitioner in the edge of care team shares her experience from the service.
- How did you end up becoming a social worker?
I have previously worked in the sexual health service, the Portsmouth City Council youth team and a sexual abuse charity, delivering prevention work to children and young people.
These roles helped me gain experience working in child exploitation services. I was able to become a specialist exploitation worker in the edge of care team.
I didn't go to university when I left college as I didn't know what I wanted to do. An apprenticeship was the perfect option to study whilst working in a job I really love. I look forward to developing my skills further in social work.
- Why did you decide to work with children specifically (rather than adults)?
Due to working in youth services and secondary schools previously, I am most comfortable working with children, particularly teenagers.
Teenagers are often unfairly stigmatised and labelled as hard to work with. I try to break down those barriers and encourage them to advocate for themselves.
I enjoy hearing about their dreams and supporting them to achieve them. I have learnt so much from young people - they inspire me to be a better practitioner.
- Can you share an experience that brought home the value of what you do?
There are too many to count! Every young person I've worked with has their own story and their own successes which I am privileged to be a part of.
Whether that is going back to school after being off for months with anxiety, returning home after intense restorative work or riding a horse for the first time in equine therapy - they are all huge achievements for each young person that bring home the value of what I do.
- What are some of the biggest challenges about being a social worker?
It can become all-encompassing. When risks are high and young people need a lot of support, it can be hard to feel positive when things aren't changing quickly.
I have a brilliant manager and an amazing team, and their supervision and experience really help me when I face these challenges.
- What makes Portsmouth such a unique place to work?
Portsmouth is such a unique city with a large and diverse population in a relatively small space!
Through social media, most of our young people already know each other. We often find links between young people in our teams that we didn't know existed before.
It feels unique to Portsmouth that there is such a community that is so closely linked, through friends, families and other networks.
- What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a social worker?
Find an area in social work that you are passionate about. Through this, you can make a real difference to people's lives and support them when they need you most.