Tommy from Carfin, is a support worker at Support for Ordinary Living in Albert Street. He won in the Untold Story category for his unique ability to bring out the best in young people and encouraging them to reach their full potential.
Tommy was one of just 12 individuals, teams or organisations announced as this year’s winners, all of which triumphed over more than 100 nationwide entries from across the third sector, independent organisations, local authorities and the NHS.
Introduced just last year, the Scottish Social Services Awards aim to cut across boundaries, celebrate excellence and bring one of the country’s largest sectors together.
They celebrate the work of the social services sector in Scotland including organisations, teams or individuals working in the third sector, local authorities, NHS and independent organisations.
The awards were launched by the Social Work Services Strategic Forum, a partnership forum of key stakeholders from across the social services sector.
The forum was established in 2013 to develop and implement a new shared vision and strategy for social services 2015-2020.
It represents a strong commitment to working in partnership across organisations and with government to deliver its vision for high quality and effective social services
There are ten categories in the awardss, with funding being provided by the Scottish Government as part of its work to support the implementation of the strategy.
The Untold Story award recognises individuals who go the extra mile to make a positive difference for others in their day-to-day job.
Tommy has a unique ability to bring out the best in young people and encourages them to reach their full potential.
He has a natural gift of building up trust and developing positive relationships. His impact on individuals has been strongly praised particularly by the families of the people he supports.
Tommy said: “It’s amazing to be recognised in such a way for the work that I do.
“For me it’s always all about the people I work for. If I can help a person try new things and it makes a difference to their life then I know I’ve achieved something.
“I feel this is an award for all the extraordinary work all the carers do throughout Scotland and Britain, and it’s an award for all people with autism.
“I feel excellent, but the winners are the people with autism, who can live an ordinary life because of this work.”
The SSSA judges commended Tommy for his heart-warming and powerful story, showing the impact one worker can have on someone.
As 2018 is Scotland’s Year of Young People, a special policy focus award was introduced to recognise those who play a crucial role in Children’s Services.
This was judged entirely by a panel of young people who use, or have accessed, these important services.
Minister for Childcare and Early Years, Maree Todd, who presented the 2018 Scottish Social Services awards, said: “The calibre of entries from across Scotland this year was outstanding and it’s been wonderful to see the vital and life changing work being carried out by so many impressive people and initiatives.
“The 12 winners have been awarded for their continual compassion and commitment to improving the lives of others.
“It was particularly fantastic to see so many young people recognised this year and to hear their stories – they are truly an asset to Scotland’s Social Services.
“I have been hugely impressed and I would like to applaud everyone involved once again for the incredibly admirable work that they do.”
The awards were held at Mansfield Traquair in Edinburgh and were jointly compered by Chelsea Cameron, winner of 2017 Sunday Mail Young Scot of the Year Award.
Chelsea said: “Over the past year and a half, I have felt incredibly privileged to speak up on behalf of young people across Scotland, so it was a real honour to be part of this special awards ceremony and celebrate the invaluable work being carried out by young people across the social services sector.
“I congratulate everyone who has taken part and thank them for sharing their amazing stories.”
A short film about Tommy, produced by film and media students can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/sssawards.