As a child, I vividly remember being the ‘go to’ person for people to offload their problems or just have a general chat.
I have always been able to develop relationships with people and for as long as I can remember, I have always advocated for those that are marginalised.
I was that child who would make the ‘new kid’ at school feel welcome; this being said, I was far from academically gifted and it was very rare that I was sent home with a shining report. I suppose these days we would say I was a ‘lovable rogue’.
Things didn’t change as I grew up.
Along my journey, I ended up working in the security industry; one thing lead to another and via that period of employment, through the nature of that sector, I had the pleasure of engaging with members of society that most would label as ‘deviant’ or ‘problematic.’
But, for me, these individuals were in need of guidance, support and empathy. I found myself regularly having deep conversations with individuals, exploring their situation whilst waiting for the police to arrive, getting to know about the local area and the support that is or isn’t available. I’d hear fascinating stories about substance misuse provision, homeless charities and other voluntary sector projects.
That was it - I had found my calling; I wanted to support people, not chastise them.
Despite being a parent and being far removed from education, I took a gamble and embarked on going to college. College naturally lead to university and the rest, as they say, is history.
I value my life experience and can wholeheartedly say that the individuals I have had the pleasure in engaging with over the years, have all had an impact on the person that I am today and the outcomes that I will achieve tomorrow.
Social work is a full of ups and downs; as practitioners we go through a plethora of emotion but at heart, we are all in this for the same reason, the quest to promote social justice, to support those who are vulnerable and marginalised and to make a positive difference to those who need us most.
A blog by Steve Langford, Adult Social Care – Duty Team on World Social Work Day 2017.