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The 2017 Gary Seaman Award Winner

30 Jan 2018


Caroline Shaw receiving her award from Dragon’s Den presenter Deborah Meaden.

Congratulations to Caroline Shaw, from NECA in South Tyneside, who has won the 2017 Gary Seaman Award. This award, in honour of Gary Seaman, is a chance for an outstanding practitioner to be recognised, celebrated and awarded for making life better for families affected by drugs and alcohol through the professional support they have provided.

Caroline was presented with the award at Adfam’s Carol Concert at the start of December. As the only Family Worker in her team, Caroline carries a high caseload and a big responsibility. She copes with the demanding role with professionalism, organisational skills, and most of all with her caring and understanding attitude. In the last three years, Caroline has achieved so much; there is now a recognised and robust support service for family members in South Tyneside – she has set up a structured family one-to-one programme called Building Bridges, and now a weekly peer support group facilitated by a group of carers that she has encouraged and supported to get involved. She has also mentored NECA’s family volunteer and supported her to run groups and deliver one-to-one peer support.

The impact that Caroline’s work has had is clearly seen in a letter which NECA received from a mother affected by her son’s mental health and drug problems:

“We would not be a family today if it were not for the continuous help and support we have received when needed from NECA and their invaluable employees; I myself would possibly be another statistic as I could not have held down my job. My son would not be alive today and my marriage with my husband may not have survived the trials and tribulations without the services which NECA have made available to us and their signposting to other agencies and services that also gave us valuable input and help. Our problem is ongoing and without NECA and the network of services they offer, I can honestly say we would not have survived the ordeal thus far. I take my hat off to each and every one of you for the hard work, determination, commitment and time you give to others which is crucial to our survival not only as a family but as individuals… Thank you NECA, thank you Caroline.”

Caroline – from all of us at Adfam – congratulations! Your hard work, passion and commitment makes all the difference.