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An interview with Ellie Reed - Change Grow Live's National Social Work Lead

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An interview with Ellie Reed - Change Grow Live's National Social Work Lead

4 May 2018

What’s your job role at Change Grow Live and what do you like about it?

I’m the National Social Work Lead – Principal Social Worker at Change Grow Live. This is a really exciting new development at Change Grow Live and in the voluntary sector. We’re focusing on the value of the social work role in the voluntary sector, and enhancing professional identity of the workforce to further build professional confidence and competence. When I became National Social Work Lead in 2016, I was able to start implementing the development ideas that I’d had for some time as a Senior Social Worker, Practice Educator and Manager. Having worked at Change Grow Live for 15 years, I was familiar with the organisation and its structures, services and aspirations. I can now make my ideas a reality. I feel privileged to be leading the exciting social work developments in Change Grow Live and in the voluntary sector, and to have this opportunity to be effecting real change through the valuable input of our dedicated and passionate social workers. 

What is the role of social work at Change Grow Live?

Passion, innovation, creativity, proactivity. These are all important ingredients for social work in the voluntary sector. Social workers play a key role in the delivery of services at Change Grow Live. They provide specialist interventions and support to service users, their families and careers, and work in partnership with a range of external partners to meet the complex and multiple needs of our service users. Dynamic social work happens in voluntary sector services, where we have regular face to face contact and one-to-one interventions with service users, where we have the space to work creatively and to shape ever changing services. Social workers are leaders, empowering staff teams to practice reflectively, learn from experiences and increase confidence in working with complexity.

What have you been working on over the last 18 months and what progress have you made so far?

I’ve been working on a number of different projects to enhance the professional identity of social workers at Change Grow Live to improve confidence and to define the role clearly so that skills are used to the full. I’ve been developing CPD and providing professional support for our amazing and committed social work workforce to assist them to deliver even better services to our service users. We really value the social work discipline at Change Grow Live so it’s important to support development and professional wellbeing. I’ve also been working alongside colleagues in the HR and Learning and Development departments to develop new governance structures to support our social workers, as well as teams to deliver professional and ethical services and use learning for continuous improvement. Alongside this, there are two new national developments that are now well underway:

  • The Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE)

We’ve developed a national ASYE programme at Change Grow Live, which is a professional development programme for our newly qualified social workers. 11 social workers across England, from 9 different projects in both adults and children/young person’s services, are mid-way through the first programme.

Newly qualified social worker, Knowsley

"ASYE has changed my practice. I’m more mindful of my practice, I’ve grown in confidence and I’m more reflective of my interventions.’ I feel more confident when working with social care and there’s more respect for my role [from children’s services]"

  • Student social worker placements

We’ve been providing practice placements to social workers for nearly 20 years and have strong partnerships with universities across England. We are the largest provider of student social worker placements across the UK and have already supported over 70 students on placements so far this year. Feedback from students and universities is that Change Grow Live provides rich and diverse learning opportunities that compliments the statutory placement learning. We now have a national student social worker policy and toolkit that supports staff to coordinate placements and support students. It also provides practical tools for students to enhance their placement experience. Being part of social workers’ practice education is a privilege and an important responsibility. We’re supporting social workers through the practice educator qualification and always building new partnerships with universities.

What is your future vision for social work at Change Grow Live?

This is a really exciting time for social work at Change Grow Live. We’re working on a number of new developments, including a collaboration with Barnardo’s to train up leads in child sexual abuse,  we’re developing a research proposal to look at the impact the social work role has on the lives of our service users and their families, and we’ll be developing an organisational social work strategy to bring the vision together.

I’m looking forward to working with people, inside and outside the organisation to drive the vision forward, whilst creating more new links and networks with interesting people, who will be part of more exciting learning, so that we can continue to improve what we do with passion and focus. 

For further details on social work at Change Grow Live contact Ellie Reed, National Social Work Lead – Principal Social Worker (, T: 07554333863)