To mark 2013 World Social Work Day (March 19th), an event was held at The Northern Ireland Social Care Council focusing on the interface between social work and homelessness and “Giving homelessness an explicit welcome and home in social work education, training and resultant practice in Northern Ireland” (Gerry Skelton, Event Coordinator).
The event was a celebration of key thinkers, practitioners, and service users who have championed the inclusion of homelessness in social work education, training and practice. The audience was addressed by an impressive range of Panelists from core political, educational, social work, H&SC Board, homelessness, and service user backgrounds. They shared their good news stories, and showcased best practice examples, creative and innovative approaches and consistently demonstrated that homelessness is a legitimate social work concern in ensuring the ‘promotion of social and economic activity’ (World SW Day theme).
Commenting on the event, the Project Coordinator, Gerry Skelton, praised his Project Team (Declan Morris (SCNI Homelessness Prevention Coordinator) and Man Choi (NISCC Participation Group member, SCNI Community Volunteer Ambassador and former homeless Service User), speakers, audience and the NISCC for what was a tremendously well received and successful event.
“This event is an important milestone in championing the inclusion of homelessness as a fundamental human rights issue, and explicit theme in social work education, training and practice in Northern Ireland. Through the prism of homelessness, we can see the need for and role of quality social work intervention, and the benefit to those we serve in ensuring homelessness as an explicit theme and priority in social work. This World Social Work Day provided an excellent platform to capture what we have achieved, and encouraged our hope of making more inroads to embedding quality practice and addressing the presenting challenges and apparent taboo surrounding this important theme” (Gerry Skelton, March, 2013).
The presentations from this inaugural event are available upon email request to firstname.lastname@example.org