Katie Walker

Katie Walker

We had a fantastic time at Calgary and Mount Royal Universities, where we were provided crash courses on Indigenous Knowledge, and throughout the tour we were invited to attend traditional ceremonies. We were introduced to the real Canadian history of savagery, assimilation and oppression, which began at the hands of the British empire, and other European counterparts. A history I am ashamed to say I had very little knowledge of. Intergenerational trauma is the number one cause of the drug and alcohol problems that reside in the indigenous people’s culture. Although not identical to British issues it is relatable and brought me to a closer understanding of the social injustice that continues to prevail in Britain today.

Clinical therapy is a role that is alien to social work in Britain but it was apparent Canadians were happy to blur the lines of responsibility, an innovative concept. I was also excited to hear about Community Social Work a practice developed in Canada.

Collaborative practice became a key characteristic of our trip, a notion sound in theory yet in Britain we struggle putting in to practice. The Village Square community hub where the local Community Social Worker is based boasted a range of professional services and social resources under one roof, that target the neighbourhood’s key needs. An innovative practice, that I believe Britain should and could be addressing. With times of extreme poverty in Britain, centres such as these seek to improve people’s mental health and wellbeing.  Another example of successful collaborative practice is within CommunityWise. Working with social work values at the heart, this grass roots level resource centre, houses many organisations that seek a feeling of safety and social inclusion for the residents of the neighbourhood. This is achieved through sharing limited resources and infrastructure, a concept that when recognised in the community is in my opinion, a fantastic way to encourage people in the community to share their resources.

Nearly a month home, and I continue to process the experiences made in just 2 weeks. Experiences that I will cherish, and consider invaluable to my learning as a student social worker. As the next generation of social workers are educated, I believe these kinds of experiences are key in the fight for promoting social change.