News: Social Worker of the Year Award nomination for Churchill Fellow

Published: 18 Oct 2019

News: Social Worker of the Year Award nomination for Churchill Fellow

Veterans campaigner Tony Wright (2011) has been nominated in the Lifetime Achievement category at the Social Worker of the Year Awards 2019.

Tony is founder and CEO of Forward Assist, a Northumberland charity which advises and supports UK military veterans in their transition from soldier to citizen. He has been a qualified social worker since 1996 and the award nomination recognises his hard work and positive impact on the lives of vulnerable children, families and adults.

Tony said: "After my career in the Royal Marines was cut short due to a serious shoulder injury in 1981, I like many others, had to reinvent myself after leaving the services.

Retraining and qualifying as a Social Worker in the early 1990’s was probably the most significant event of my life, as I have been able to provide the veterans referred to our service with bespoke, ‘needs led’ and ‘person centred’ interventions that put the individual and care coordination at the centre of everything we do. This has enabled many veterans to live great lives filled with passion, purpose, service, connection and growth.”

Tony joined the Royal Marines in 1978. He was medically discharged in 1981 after seriously injuring his shoulder during training. This experience gave him first-hand knowledge of how difficult it is for former servicemen and women to re-establish themselves as civilians. 

After leaving the Armed Forces, he was homeless and unemployed before returning to the education system to gain qualifications in social work.

 Tony was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2011. He travelled to the USA to research interventions for armed forces veterans who have multiple and complex needs.

The awards ceremony takes place in London in November. 

Read Tony’s report

Learn more about Forward Assist