A virtual hub spearheaded by an Edge Hill University student social worker to help others connect and share best practice has been praised by top figures in the profession.

The Student Social Work Hub has only been running a few weeks and has already been welcomed with open arms by an array of professionals in social work including chief and principal social workers and international social work organisations.

Emma Grady who is in her 2nd year at Edge Hill studying for an integrated Mental Health Nursing and Social Work degree, is the brainchild behind the new group.

Picture of Emma Grady.
Emma Grady

Explaining how it all began, she said: “I was sat in my garden during the world pandemic, having a cup of tea, wondering how can we keep student social workers connected during all this uncertainty? It was an idea that had been in and out of my thoughts for a few weeks and so I messaged a group of student social workers and myself and six others formed the group via Twitter. We all shared a passion for social work and wanted to raise the profile for students.

“What started off as a relatively small idea has now exploded into an extravaganza of fun, lively discussions, hope and connectedness between students and professionals from all walks of life all over the world.”

Most recently the group met virtually with Isabelle Trowler, Chief Social Worker for Children and Families and a Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel member, who is keen to use the platform as a way of capturing the true voice of student social workers across the UK.

She said: “I was so delighted to meet the social work bohemians. How fantastic that a group of students, at the beginning of their social work careers, have found their collective agency and got themselves centre stage in a matter of weeks. Their instinct and inclusiveness bode very well for a future of national influence.”

Mark Harvey, who joined the Department of Health and Social Care on secondment as the Chief Social Worker for Adults last year has also praised the group’s work and commitment to not just driving the profession forward but recognising that it is so much more than just a job, “it is who we are”.

As well as capturing the student voice and sharing learning resources, they collaborate with professionals who send in their work, write for the group and give them access to unique learning materials. They have just launched #BohemianBuddies after listening to the views of their followers and the pen pal service for students and professionals has more than 60 people signed up to it.

Emma said: “Our aim is to show our group that they are listened to and can feel part of a community where everyone has a voice and can find out more about the world of social work. We are hoping the hub will continue to grow and are looking forward to more students to sharing their passion for the profession and getting involved.”

To find out more about the Student Social Work Hub, please visit their website or email the team at studentsocialworkers@outlook.com. You can also follow them on Twitter @SWbohemians, Instagram @student_social_work_hub, or their Facebook page.

The University’s Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine is one of the largest providers of health and social care education in the North West. To find out more about the courses available, please visit the website.