My name is Rowena McIntosh and I’m a social worker with the Spring Service at Midlothian Council. We support women who are seen to be at risk of offending due to mental health difficulties, substance misuse and experience of trauma.
Until 2011, I worked in policy research. Although I enjoyed aspects of this work, over time I realised that I wanted to work more directly with vulnerable people and help affect practical changes in their daily living. So I explored my options and this led to me qualifying as a social worker in 2013 with a Masters in Social Work (MSW).
After two and half years working in community care, I moved into my role with the Spring Service. Here I undertake all assessments and risk assessments for women new to the service, provide one to one support to women and facilitate some of our group work programmes. I feel incredibly lucky to do this work, particularly as it allows me to combine my social work skills with my passion for gender equality and feminist values.
I believe strongly that women require holistic, multi-disciplinary and trauma focused responses in order to tackle the root causes of risk taking or offending behaviours; and this is exactly what we aim to provide at Spring. It is a constant privilege to be able to play a part in the journeys women take to stabilising their lives and taking positive steps forward.
The Spring Service is only a few years old and it has been constantly growing and developing. It has been fantastic to be part of this. It is rare to get the opportunity to help develop the direction and structures of a service from the start and the skills and training I have gained from this are invaluable.
As well as attending a lot of training on how to work with individuals impacted by trauma, I have been fortunate enough to be sponsored through the first stage of Mentalisation Based Therapy training which has been incredibly beneficial to my practice.
To anyone considering a career in social work - be prepared for hard work and some very challenging emotions. Also be prepared for work that will never get dull and a genuine feeling of human connection. It is a tough gig but the moments of success will be more than enough to keep you going.
I believe strongly that women require holistic, multi-disciplinary and trauma focused responses in order to tackle the root causes of risk taking or offending behaviours; and this is exactly what we aim to provide at Spring.Rowena McIntosh Spring Service at Midlothian Council