Three New Social WorkersPaul Bridgewater, Jane Jones and Suzie Nixon arrived on Island on 28 August 2014 to take on three new senior Social Services roles on St Helena.

Social Services on St Helena are delivered by a dedicated team of local staff who care for the disabled, look after the needs of older persons and those with learning disabilities, and safeguard St Helena’s children.  The new staff arrive at a time of modernisation in the way that social services are delivered on the Island, and current key objectives include a sustained improvement in safeguarding and child protection, and improving the quality of life of identified individuals through personalised care and treatment.  Paul, Jane and Suzie will spend three months on St Helena, specialising in three main areas.

Paul will specialise in the assessment of adults in supported SHG residential settings, establishing what residents need and how best to deliver their needs.

Paul said:

“It is about empowering a person to access what is available in the community to support them.  For example, SHAPE is a fantastic initiative that supports just this.”

Suzie will work mainly with family groups.  She will identify situations where family group conferences are best suited to resolve difficulties, involving all members of the family, including family friends and colleagues where appropriate – to create and manage a plan for a family member in need.

Jane will focus on child protection and child wellbeing, including private fostering and child minding arrangements, to ensure that St Helena policies are up to date.

Social Services is currently developing a new residential care facility for people in need, involving a major refurbishment of the old Half Tree Hollow School building, as a replacement for the current accommodation.  This will improve respite care, in a far more visually engaging location, with improved living conditions and additional space for all clients.

All new arrivals agreed:

“There are good systems in place on St Helena.  It is our job to enhance these systems and share our knowledge and experience.  On St Helena, we have to be realistic about what can be delivered, but we will identify gaps and try to find practical solutions.”

Paul has experience in adult safeguarding and specialist autism teams, and has also worked in similar settings in hospitals.

Suzie has been a social worker in New Zealand and has recently completed two years on Pitcairn Island.

Jane’s background is in child protection in the UK and the Channel Islands, working closely with children and families.  She has also been an expert witness in the courts.Social workers on site

Jane added:

“Social Services are based on the same issues everywhere.  I don’t think there is anywhere in the world where there aren’t some needs for some people.  The idea of social services is to clearly identify what those needs are and to support families to find ways to resolve them.” 

Two pictures accompany this release.

SHG

2 September 2014

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