X is for Expertise

This is Lori Downing. Lori is a social worker in the Social Work Resettlement Support Team. Lori's role is to help New Scots and people displaced from their home countries due to war or persecution to build meaningful lives here in Dumfries and Galloway.

X is for Expertise

Showing a huge wellspring of compassion for the people she supports, Lori has worked her way from being a student on placement, through to a social work assistant, and then finally a fully qualified social worker once she received her academic transcripts in June last year.

Lori has demonstrated exceptional ability as a young social worker and took home the 'Bright Spark' award at last year's Scottish Social Services Awards.

The Social Work Resettlement Support Team was established in 2022 to support people arriving in the region after fleeing the war in Ukraine and has since grown to offer support to a wide range of people resettling in the region.

From those who supported British forces in Afghanistan who are fleeing persecution since the country came under the rule of the Taliban, through to vulnerable people seeking asylum in the UK, the Social Work Resettlement Support Team helps to ensure people have what they need to recuperate from trauma and to work towards a healthy and happy life in Scotland.

Best part of the job? "The best thing is the work isn't proscriptive. No two days are the same, and things can change in the click of a finger" says Lori, who has been praised for learning the political and legal context of the Ukrainian conflict at lightning speed. "If something changes in the conflict, it might have an impact on someone's family member still in the home country or it might cause someone a lot of anxiety. It's important that we keep up with the latest developments in the news, so we know how best to support people."

Lori took her experience and skill in researching and learning the political context of resettlement even further and is helping to develop a policy framework for the team. Having been there right at the start while still on placement, Lori has seen the Social Work Resettlement Support Team grow and develop hugely in her time.

Fact: the Resettlement Team is made up of partners from the council's Social Work, Community Planning and Lifelong Learning departments, the NHS, Crichton Trust, Dumfries and Galloway Multicultural Association (DGMA) and Massive Outpouring of Love (MOOL) to name just a handful. That's a lot of people providing a lot of support...right where it's needed.

Lori recalls starting out working on flip-chart paper with very little background knowledge of the Ukraine conflict. She soon contributed to the development of strong systems and processes for the team to work from. All of this while learning the ins-and-outs of the Ukrainian conflict and the many other global crises and the complexities of hundreds of different UK visas - an extremely daunting task.

Lori says the most fulfilling part of the role is being able to help people in desperate need and getting to build relationships with people from a range of different cultures. Lori recalls working hard to support an unaccompanied young person to travel from Ukraine to live with family friends in Dumfries and Galloway, spending weeks making calls to Ukraine and running the necessary background checks.

Once the young person safely arrived in our region and Lori made her first welfare visit to the young person she was supporting, she was met with a heartfelt hug - a moment she says she will cherish forever.

Lori, you are amazing and what you do makes a tremendous difference to so many. Thanks to you, people who have found themselves building a new life in Dumfries and Galloway can rest a little bit easier, safe in the knowledge that there's a helping hand and a listening ear just a phone call away.

Page last updated: 29/05/2024
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