A SOCIAL work student from Thurrock has been honoured for her contribution to the profession after being named student social worker of the year.

Mary Carter is currently in her final year of a BA Social Work degree at Anglia Ruskin University.

Alongside her studies, Mary has set up the first ‘Social Work Society’ as well as being a mentor for first-year students.

As a care leaver herself, Mary has worked with the university to transform their care leavers strategy and is also working with Thurrock Council to improve practices for children in care.

The judges described Mary as a ‘high flyer’, commending her for using her own personal experiences to advocate for and support other care leavers.

Bev Maybury, strategic director, department of health and wellbeing at award sponsor Bradford Council, said: “I was thrilled to announce Mary as the gold winner of the Student Social Worker of the Year award.

“She is clearly a very committed, passionate person who gives her time willingly to both support and develop social work within the university as well as in the local community.”

Joanne Worley, who works for Essex County Council, was named children’s social worker of the year.

The awards are organised by The Social Work Awards charity, which aims to improve public awareness and understanding of social work by showing the positive impact of social workers in the wide range of roles they undertake.

The awards were presented by TV chef and emotional wellness advocate, Lorraine Pascale, in front of an audience of over 450 social workers and representatives of the profession.

This year the awards received a record-breaking number of nominations and 94 social workers and social work teams in both children’s and adult services were selected as finalists across 16 different categories.