Linda Ballantyne, senior practitioner, access and assessment service, Westminster

Photo: pixelheadphoto/ Fotolia

Photo: pixelheadphoto/ Fotolia

Working for a busy central London local authority, I have met children and families from all over the world. Each individual and family has their own histories, cultural identities, religion and cultural practices.

It is essential when I am meeting with parents/carers and children for the first time, often with little information regarding their cultural background and language, that I prepare and make efforts to gain a basic understanding of the geographical area they have travelled from and develop an insight into the wider socio-economic environment they have experienced.

On duty, I often need to deal with crisis situations that require a swift response – this is where Community Care Inform has really helped. For example, if know where a child or family had lived, I can use the map to quickly access and gather concise and validated information. I am aware, of course, that individuals from the same local area or country may not have the same cultural experiences, however it helps me to understand the environment context and potential impacts, particularly if they have arrived as refugees from areas of conflict.

I also use Community Care Inform short guides to support me in my role as a mentor, particularly to new staff and students. It is a great way of managing time and resources. I am able to signpost colleagues to articles. For example, a social worker recently informed me that she had time management issues. I had just finished reading a useful new article on the site and was able to recommend this.

Overall, I always feel confident that if I am stuck, Community Care Inform will have some of the answers, and if not there are lots of signposting references on the site to check out. It is one of the essential tools in my ‘toolbox’ and I could not imagine being without it.

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