Retired Hastings social worker pens his memoirs
Retired social worker Simon Scott from Hastings has spent his lockdown hours compiling a book recounting some of his experiences in his long career working with children and families.
Simon began his career in South Africa, and the early chapters focus on work during the Apartheid era and the social and racial issues that arose in that context.
He continues the career, spanning more than 40 years, in England in various locations and teams, on occasion undertaking work in the mental health field and work with sex offenders.
Simon illustrates aspects of his work through examples of cases he has dealt with, appropriately anonymised, ending with his years spent as an independent social worker.
The book, entitled Making A Difference: Reflections Of A Children’s Social Worker (£10) is available for order through Amazon or bookshops or direct from the publishers at www.mereobooks.com.
“I spent more than 40 years of my life working in social work, almost exclusively in the field of children and families. I qualified in South Africa, but after five years of work there I came to the UK with my family, and my work led me to Hastings where I have remained ever since.
“The later stages of my work involved a fair amount of travel, much of which was on a motorbike, which offered lots of time for thinking!
“So, thinking about my career, I felt I had had a wide experience.
“The first years were working within the era of apartheid in South Africa. My career in the UK has involved attempts to avoid burn-out by seeking ways to vary my experience. All this has afforded me scope to explore a number of themes as I reflect in my book on the racial and social issues that have been an essential part of my work in the various settings in which I have practised.
“These reflections have ended in thoughts of writing this book. Retirement has afforded the opportunity to do so. Although I have kept myself busy enough through another sphere in which I have engaged myself – being a treasurer for some charities – I have had spare time to write. Covid lockdown added to the time available!
“A further motivation has been the decision to donate proceeds from the sale of the book to one of those charities – and the most relevant – ie the Social Workers’ Benevolent Trust. The trust aims to help social workers, working or retired, who find themselves in financial difficulties for various reasons. It feels appropriate that all sales of the book will in a small way benefit social workers somewhere.
“So determination finally to put thoughts to paper came during the lockdown.
“It is not in any way an academic work – there are many of those in social work. Rather, it aims to be of general interest to anyone wanting an account of one person’s experiences of working in a profession that is frequently emotionally demanding. Work with children and families involves interfering in people’s lives and often encountering suspicion and hostility.
“The aim always is to make a positive difference for children, and I hope I have done so. Hence the book title!
“I hesitated for some time about writing it, wondering if I could anonymise the cases I outline sufficiently. I believe I have done this. Of course, I have not named any of the people I have written about or disclosed the regions in which they were resident.”
Simon is a first-time author: “But extensive experience in writing reports in social work, primarily to assist courts to make the right decision, has given me a good starting point for writing a book.”