Spotlight – The Care of Older People Practice Manual

A key text for challenging ageism and promoting dignified practice. Dr Sue Thompson presents invaluable guidance on how to take care of older people in positive empowering ways that avoid common ageist assumptions and practices. This is an essential guide to good practice in eldercare.

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Effective Teamwork: The importance of working together

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Neil Thompson’s Lessons for Living – Be open to learning from mistakes

The idea of the value of learning from our mistakes is well established, but unfortunately many people don’t manage to get the benefit of this. That is because they adopt a defensive approach to mistakes; they see them as things to cover up or deflect attention from. Nobody is perfect and so mistakes are inevitable, so there is little point in trying to give the impression that we never make mistakes. Some mistakes can be embarrassing, but most are not unless we are trying to come across as ‘mistake proof’. Some mistakes are quite serious, but the more serious they are, the greater the scope for learning. However, that’s not to say that even small mistakes cannot produce significant learning. But, of course, no mistake will produce learning unless we are prepared to be open to learning by admitting that we are not perfect.

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How creativity has been key for social workers in safeguarding adults during Covid

Covid-19, and the response to the pandemic, has presented extraordinary challenges to the care sector. New research funded by the Health Foundation and led by researchers at Keele University, however, sheds light on how creativity has played the biggest role in continuing adult safeguarding practice within the constraints of the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Evidence shows that referrals for adult safeguarding referrals dropped early on during the pandemic, followed by a jump exceeding ordinary levels and an overall increase in referrals from previous years. Moreover, there have also been particular concerns about the extent to which ‘hidden’ forms of harms such as financial abuse, domestic violence and self-neglect were being exacerbated by lockdowns and, consequently, how visible they were for adult safeguarding teams.

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Not a textbook, a hands-on manual of practice guidance. An essential resource!

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‘Revolutionary in a quiet way’: The rise of community gardens in the UK

The first melon of the season always tastes amazing,” says Lucy Mitchell. “I don’t think anyone has ever taken one home – every year, we just cut them into as many slices as there are people in the garden and make sure everyone gets a melon moment.”

After almost a decade of being involved with the Golden Hill community garden in Horfield, Bristol, she never gets complacent about the significance of these simple things. “We remember ‘Big Jim’, the biggest sunflower who ever grew here, or the miracle sunflowers that grew in the gravel and we wait for the frogs to return to the pond. These things all layer into our story and we look forward to them.”

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How to Do Social Work: A basic guide from one of social work’s leading authors

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Spotlight – The Social Worker’s Practice Manual

The ideal practice guide for every social worker and social work student. Based on Neil Thompson’s extensive experience of bringing theory to life in a practice context, this invaluable manual is an essential guide for all practitioners, from student on placement through newly qualified worker to old hand.

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The Professional Social Worker: An essential text for all social workers

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Neil Thompson’s Lessons for Living – Why helps with how

In any project or task we undertake, it can be very easy to get engrossed and lose focus on why we are doing it. If, however, we can make sure we don’t lose sight of the why (the purpose), we will be in a stronger position to decide on the how (the method) and put it into practice. Sadly, though, it is not uncommon for people to become so busy doing something that they forget why they are doing it. They then lose sight of how best to move forward. Clarity about why we are doing something will make us more motivated to achieve our goals and give us a more helpful picture of the possible ways of achieving them. If other people involved in the situation are clear about why we are doing something, then they will be in a stronger position to play their part in making the project a success.

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Connect with Neil Thompson online! For Neil's blog and more resources

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WeThe 15 – ‘Game-changer’ plan for 1.2bn disabled people

A global campaign described as a “game-changer” has been launched to improve the lives of more than one billion disabled people by 2030. WeThe15 wants to improve inclusion, raise awareness and end discrimination of disabled people around the world. It brings together a coalition of organisations from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to Unesco.

Using the event as a springboard, the IPC and International Disability Alliance has joined forces with arts, business and human rights organisations including UN Human Rights and The Valuable 500 to “raise awareness, change attitudes and create more opportunities” for disabled people. The campaign has been set-up to represent the 15% of the world’s population that is disabled – about 1.2bn people, according to the World Health Organization.

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Seth Godin’s blog – Defending change (or the status quo)

The easy argument to make is that the thing we have now is better than the new thing that’s on offer.
All one has to do is take the thing we have now as a given (ignoring its real costs) and then challenge the defects and question the benefits of the new thing, while also maximizing the potential risk.

“A hand-written letter is more thoughtful, more likely to be a keepsake, and a more permanent record than a simple email.”

On the other hand, the technophile defending change simply has to list all the new features and ignore the benefits we’re used to.

“An email is far faster, cheaper and easier to track than a letter. It is more likely to be saved, and it can be sorted and searched. Not to mention copied and forwarded with no problem.”

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Ensuring every older person is treated with dignity as a unique individual

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Basingstoke MP Maria Miller calls to stop companies silencing victims of abuse in the workplace

A Hampshire MP has called for a change in the law that will stop employers from silencing victims of abuse. Ministers have been warned that non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) allow companies to ‘cover up’ sexual abuse of staff and other ‘wrongdoing’ they have faced.

Basingstoke MP, Maria Miller, said NDAs were “driving the wrong culture in the British workplace”, silencing staff who faced abuse at work and allowing bosses to “buy their silence”. Presenting her Non-Disclosure Agreements Bill in the Commons, the Conservative MP called for a change in the law which would allow people to leave workplaces where they faced abuse and get compensation – without having to agree that they will not speak about the abuse they faced.

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It’s all about people: visit Neil Thompson’s humansolutions website

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Spotlight – The Learning from Practice Manual

An essential resource for practice educators and study supervisors. Helping others to learn is a skilled job. This practical guide offers extensive advice and guidance on how to get the best results, whether in student supervision or any other process of helping colleagues to learn.

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The Avenue Learning Centre Learning resources from Neil Thompson and colleagues

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Neil Thompson’s Lessons for Living – Use touch appropriately

Physical contact is a very powerful form of communication. It can be powerfully negative – for example, touch used in a threatening or aggressive way or as an invasion of privacy – or powerfully positive as a means of conveying support, concern, affirmation and validation. Provided that we have the sensitivity to know where the boundary is between supportive and intrusive touch, we can use touch to express empathy and concern, build trust and make an important contribution to helping people who are facing considerable challenges or who would benefit from human connection at a time of difficulty. Do you know of anyone who uses touch very sensitively and effectively? Watch them closely when you can and see what you can learn from how they use it.

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The Authentic Leader A new approach to leadership in Neil’s important book.

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Why climate change is an inequality issue

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published the results of its Sixth Assessment Report on Climate Change. The report, which was authored by hundreds of climate scientists and takes into account the results of thousands of peer reviewed articles on the physical basis of climate change, could hardly be more stark in its warning for humanity.

In short, human activity is ‘unequivocally’ driving unprecedented changes in the planet’s climate (no small statement from the usually conservative IPCC). Anything but the most severe of emissions cuts will see the planet heat beyond 1.5C above pre industrial levels, possibly as soon as the 2030s, with the world likely to soar past 2C of warming by the end of the century. As a result, many weather events that had up to now been considered rare or unprecedented; wildfires, marine heatwaves, droughts and extended monsoon seasons, will become ever more common and ferocious in their intensity. Even under the IPCC’s most optimistic scenario, summertime sea ice atop the Arctic Ocean will vanish entirely at least once by 2050.

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LinkedIn: Connect online & join Neil Thompson’s HUMANSOLUTIONS discussion group

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When bosses are respectful, young people are more resilient at work and enjoy their jobs more

From ball pits to free beers, fun job perks have received plenty of press attention over the last few years. For millennials, such benefits should surely be appealing — they are, after all, the generation these perks were ostensibly designed for. But according to a new study, young people themselves have a different priority in the workplace — respect. Writing in the International Journal of Business Communication, a team led by Danielle LaGree from Kansas State University finds that being valued and respected by managers was the key factor in employees’ ability to positively adapt to the workplace. And, in turn, this impacted how loyal workers were to their employers, how much they engaged in their work, and how happy they felt overall.

Participants were 1,036 adults aged 21 to 34, all of whom were in full time employment. First, participants answered questions about “respectful engagement” at their workplaces — the extent to which colleagues express appreciation and respect for each other’s work, emphasise each other’s good qualities, and speak to each other in a respectful way.

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A fresh look at social work theory and methods

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My working week: ‘I wonder who buys sex from the vulnerable women I try to help’

I’m looking at the list of names on the office wall of all the women I support, who are all involved in selling sex on the streets. It’s our weekly team meeting and I brief my colleagues on how the Friday night outreach team met Marcia, a homeless woman in a violent relationship. She is sleeping with her abusive boyfriend because it’s safer than sleeping rough on her own. He forces her to share needles, and to sell sex.

We talk about ways to support her, but without a phone or address it’s difficult. It’s hard to find places I can meet with women like Marcia – many cafes, where we build trust and rapport, are closed. I add her name to the list, and fire off emails to the police and street homeless teams.

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A practical guide to supervision of students & other forms of workplace learning

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Spotlight – Anti-racism for Beginners

The destructive and dehumanizing effects of racism are quite rightly receiving increased attention. In this short, introductory text, Neil Thompson welcomes this new emphasis but warns against the dangers of oversimplifying complex issues. This is an ideal book for anyone wanting to understand the importance of anti-racism and guidance in taking the necessary steps.

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Effective Teamwork: The importance of working together

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Compartmentalize home and work

How to manage a range of pressures is a challenge that we all face. A very worrying (but sadly not uncommon) scenario is when we allow home and work pressures to combine to overwhelm our coping resources. An alternative strategy is that of ‘compartmentalization’. This means training ourselves to focus on our home pressures when we are at home and our work pressures when we are at work and having a clear boundary between the two. Many people achieve this by having some sort of ritual that symbolizes the end of the working day and the return to home life – for example, by getting changed. Different rituals work for different people, but they can all play an important role in keeping our two domains separate so that we do not find ourselves in the situation where home and work pressures combine to leave us feeling stressed and ill-equipped to cope with the challenges we face.

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