A Croydon Council manager who supports young adults with learning disabilities has reached the finals of the Social Worker of the Year awards for her training and mentoring of new recruits.
Lorraine Falconer, who manages Croydon’s disabled young people transition team that supports young adults aged 16-25 with learning disabilities to become more confident and independent, is up against three other finalists in the category of Practice Educator of the Year.
The Thornton Heath resident was nominated because of the way she has inspired and supported nine undergraduate and postgraduate social work students, four newly-qualified social workers and two apprentices, both of whom have since completed their degrees to join the profession.
Lorraine also coaches both trainee and newly-qualified Croydon social workers in frontline best practice and policy, as well as helping teach employment modules to final-year social work degree students at Kingston University.
One of 93 finalists across 16 categories at next month’s ceremony in London, Lorraine began at Croydon Council as a support worker over 20 years ago, reaching her current role after being encouraged by her managers to study for a social work degree.
One of the testimonials for Lorraine’s nomination came from colleague Temitope Oloyede, who said: “Having known Lorraine from my days as a student social worker and then as a qualified practitioner over the last four years, receiving this award would highlight not only the great work she does with service users with disability but it would also be a great encouragement for the recognition we give to those who contribute to the profession – she is an unsung heroine.”
Lorraine, 43, said: “I was really surprised and delighted that I’ve been recognised by those people I’ve supported over the years, and it makes me feel I’m doing something right. I’m committed to developing the social workers of the future, and I feel proud of Croydon and proud of representing the local authority.”
“This major nomination is a fantastic achievement for Lorraine, who clearly always rolls her sleeves up to support and care for Croydon residents, whether that’s young people with learning disabilities or new social work recruits.
“Lorraine is already a winner in Croydon, and having national recognition would be a great external endorsement of her work.”
Councillor Jane Avis, cabinet member for families, health and social care