‘Guardian an­gel’ stunned by award

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - OFF THE RECORD - by Nick Lil­li­tos

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

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