Trust Social Workers Delighted to Win Dragons Den Award

24th January 2022

The South Eastern Trust is delighted to be this year’s winners of the ‘Staying Connected Dragon’s Den’ event, which is a regional competition for social workers with great improvement ideas.

The Peripatetic Social Work team pitched the winning project of ‘Sea Swimming’ to the Dragons. The scheme was born from the very positive sea swimming experience young people, from selected children’s homes, enjoyed  during the pandemic.

The Director of Children’s Services in the Trust Barbara Campbell, who welcomed the win, explained, “Sea swimming provided the young people and staff with an escape from the difficulties of the pandemic, improved their physical strength, flexibility, reduced stress levels and created opportunities to connect with others through their shared experience.”

The young people involved loved the experience telling staff,  “I slept like a baby last night”, “That was the best craic” and “I feel safe here”, which speaks very clearly of its success. With the increase in young people attending the peripatetic support service, the team decided to make a pitch to the Dragons to gain access to additional funding for training and equipment.

Social workers from all across Northern Ireland apply to take part in the event, where they  ‘pitch’ for funding from the Department of Health social work strategy to support their improvement initiatives. This year there were 8 finalists from all across the region representing  different areas of social work practice, this included pitches from children’s services, hospital social work, older people’s services and multi-disciplinary team social work. The dragons are independent of all the Trusts and include people with a lived experience of service provision.

Peripatetic Social Worker, Jennifer Hamilton said, “The staff and young people are absolutely delighted at winning this award! We cannot thank the Dragons enough for picking our pitch idea. We are excited and looking forward to rolling this programme out to our 6 children’s homes, giving more staff and young people the opportunity to enjoy this unique experience. It will be fantastic to get more young people involved and support them to achieve their sea swimming qualifications, which will hopefully help them to secure employment in the future.”