Royal recognition for Oxfordshire education and social care workers

Education and social care workers have been recognised for their professionalism and dedication to children and young people in Oxfordshire during a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace.   

Seven Oxfordshire County Council employees attended the prestigious Buckingham Palace garden party, hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

James Collins, Cultural Participation Officer for the Children in Care Council, and Autumn Walsh, apprentice for Children in Care Council in the Virtual School team are renowned for their determination to ensure children are ‘given a voice’.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Autumn and James were praised for their empathy in understanding the challenges of isolation and loneliness that many young people in care were experiencing.

Maria Godfrey, Head of Early Help, and Angela Turton, Strategic Partnership Manager, were both recognised for their coordination of the Afghan refugees response in Oxfordshire.

Magdalena Coates, Flexible Response Worker, and Jane Rivers, Team Manager Disabled Children Care Team, were commended for adapting their working practice during COVID-19. Their flexible response, in extremely difficult circumstances, ensured children and young people in care continued to have access to professional support, despite social distancing requirements in place.

Hannah Farncombe, Deputy Director of Children Services, who is retiring in the summer, was nominated for her services to children and young people in the county. She joined Oxfordshire County Council in 1995 and has been in her current role since 2016.

Councillor Liz Brighouse, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Youth Services, said: “The dedication of these seven colleagues, and their teams, is incredible. We pride ourselves on putting the needs and development of young people at the heart of everything we do. The extra mile they go on a daily basis deserves to be applauded and it is fitting recognition that they were nominated to attend this most prestigious of occasions. I can’t thank them enough.”

Pictured from left to right: Oxfordshire County Council’s education and social care workers attending the Buckingham Palace garden party were James Collins, Autumn Walsh, Maria Godfrey, Hannah Farncombe, Jane Rivers, Magdalena Coates, and Angela Turton.


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