‘Guardian angel’ stunned by award
A SOCIAL worker from Willesborough has been crowned the best children’s worker in Kent after winning an award for a project which helps families deal with problems.
Staff at the Causeway in Folkestone are cocka-hoop that their team manager Karen Darwell has won Kent County Council’s Winner of Winners Quality Service Award for children’s social services.
The project is based at the Brockman Family Centre in Folkestone High Street and helps children and parents in Folkestone and Hawkinge tackle problems before they spiral out of control.
Karen won after receiving a staggering 17 nominations from mums Causeway has helped and colleagues in social services, education and health.
One mum wrote in her nomination: “Karen is like a guardian angel as she makes so many wishes come true.”
Strong endorsement also came from the head teachers of some of the 12 schools Causeway works with, saying how early intervention by the team had enabled children who would otherwise have been excluded to stay in school.
Mother-of-five Kelley Oakley, 32, said: “I can’t praise them enough.
“It’s a place where parents can go if they have big issues, small issues or just need a break.
“I grew up in care and so when I became a parent, I didn’t have any role model to follow.
“I have done their positive parenting course twice and it altered the way I look upon my children.
“You think to yourself: is it normal to get this stressed and tired? And to have someone saying: ‘Yes, it is normal and here are some things that will help’ is such a relief.”
Dr Tony Robinson, KCC cabinet member for children and families, and then-KCC chairman Cllr Fred Wood-Brignall came to the centre to congratulate Karen.
The 53-year-old, who lives in Church Road, told them: “I’m gobsmacked.
“Winning is the pinnacle of my career – but I see it as an award for all the team.
“I was proud to accept the award on behalf of my profession and as a reflection of all the unsung good work social workers do.”
Dr Robinson told the Causeway team: “We appreciate all the effort and dedication you put in.
“We are very proud of you.”
Karen Darwell and Dr Tony Robinson (front) with Cllr Fred Wood-Brignall and members of the Causeway team