Aerial view of Plymouth Sound
Social workers and allied professions have a long history of working in coastal communities and with seafarers. 
Social work in these contexts can include responding to specific needs, such as supporting communities in the aftermath of catastrophic flooding, a role which is likely to increase with the ongoing impact of climate change. Coastal communities also sometimes face particular social problems with ageing populations, homelessness, sexual exploitation and trafficking that may be experienced differently to inland communities.
However, unlike other fields of social work, the link between social work, the sea, and coastal communities has been under-explored in the literature and in practice. 
This symposium brought together academics, researchers, policymakers, students, practitioners and service users for a two day event in Britain's ocean city to network, present new findings, and learn about the challenges and strengths of social work and social care in coastal settings.
The symposium was aimed at anyone with an interest in social work or social care.

Conference streams

Stream 1: Social work and the sea
  • Challenges and opportunities of social work in coastal communities
  • Coastal poverty and homelessness
  • Mapping coastal populations
  • Caring for ageing populations in coastal areas
  • Social work and welfare organisations at sea
  • Disaster relief and social work
  • Social welfare work with sailors and their families
  • Social work at ports of entry: trafficking, people smuggling and asylum claims
  • Social work and the Navy
Stream 2: Presentations on any area of social work
  • Social care
  • Social welfare
  • Child protection and safeguarding
  • Adult care
  • Mental health
  • Migration
  • Older adults
  • Multi-agency working
  • Workforce health
  • Social work education
  • Social work and technology

Plymouth – Britain's Ocean City

The Hoe
About Plymouth
Plymouth is a port city in Devon in the South West of England, with a long maritime history. 
Known as Britain’s Ocean City, Plymouth is home to the largest naval base in Western Europe; the historic Barbican district, where the Pilgrim Fathers set off in the Mayflower to the New World; and where Sir Francis Drake returned from circumnavigating the globe.
About the University of Plymouth
The University was founded in 1862 as the Plymouth School of Navigation, and retains a strong research interest in maritime issues, including the Centre for Coastal Communities
Social work at the University
The Social Work team within the School of Health Professions offer pre-qualifying training for social workers at an undergraduate and postgraduate level, and a PhD in social work for early career researchers in social work and social care.