Birmingham City University’s Department of Social work hosted a ‘Mend the Gap’ pilot project on behalf of the Regional West Midlands Social Work Teaching Partnership. The project was designed to identify, and resolve, gaps in social work provision for carers of people with learning disabilities and/or difficulties.
- The aim of the project was to understand the challenges faced by carers of people with learning disabilities and/or difficulties and identify ways in which social work practitioners can respond.
Taking place over eight weeks, the project created an open forum for discussion between social work students, lecturers and practitioners, and carers themselves.
- Through these conversations, the group were able to work as a team to consider the gaps that exist when service users and carers interact with social work practitioners.
- As a result, practitioners were able to hear first-hand about the experiences of carers, students were able to develop valuable knowledge to enable them to become better social workers, and carers themselves were given a voice.
- Students and practitioners were then able to apply their knowledge in a real-world context to develop enhanced relationships with carers and service users and work in a positive and inclusive way.
Yvonne, Social Work student: “For me, I’m not only a student, I’m also a carer for my son who has autism, so, by being around other carers, I’ve actually managed to network with them and I’ve seen myself some of the gaps that exist within society. So, it’s taught me, as a student, to consider how I’m going to become a good social worker and how I’m going to make a difference for service users and their carers.”