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Laura Blackett | University of Sunderland

Social Work BA (Hons)

  • Name: Laura Blackett
  • Age: 22
  • Studying: Social Work BA (Hons)
  • Hometown: Hartlepool, UK
  • Ambitions: Become a fully qualified social worker, learn another language, have my own house by the time I'm 25, complete my bucket list by the time I leave University and also go travelling!

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September 3rd, 2015

Sambucas in Sunderland

Hey everyone,

I am fully embracing being a lady of leisure and making the most of my summer off. It feels surreal to think that this will be the last summer I ever have off as a full time student before I graduate next year and hopefully become a fully qualified social worker. Where did the time go?!

I visited the library this week to grab some books as I have started the planning for my dissertation in the view that this year I am going to be super organised. On the way back me and a friend decided to pay a visit to Sambuca’s for dinner. It is literally over the river from St Peter’s campus and we bagged a window seat so had full view of the campus. I will never take the view for granted – ever!


I can’t believe how cheap it is either. We had the lunchtime special which was three courses for £3.95, so with a drink it cost less than £6! The food is amazing I had potato skins, pasta carbonara and a coffee dessert. Worth keeping in mind especially for those of you based on St Peter’s campus for a treat.


PS: It’s September already? How scary! This means only one thing, stationary shopping and student loan. I can’t wait!

Lau x

August 25th, 2015

The Forbidden Corner

Hi everyone,

Recently I took a drive out and visited The Forbidden Corner to celebrate my little sister’s 9th birthday! It is such an unusual place I can’t even do it justice. It’s mainly outdoors and you will find yourself lost most of the day and can never take exactly the same route twice. I would recommend it to absolutely anyone old or young, with friends or family.

Lau x

August 10th, 2015

5 things I have learnt from my first year Social Work placement

Hello everyone,

My summer holidays have officially commenced because I have now completed 70 days on placement and had my portfolio verified which means I have passed, YAY! These are the gorgeous gifts my colleagues from placement gave to me on my last day..


I was really excited to move into second year and be given a placement opportunity. I always knew it would be a valuable learning experience but I never expected it to challenge and change me so much as an individual! I kept a reflective journal on a daily basis as part of placement and reading through that has highlighted the progress I have made with my learning. So here are 5 of the most stand out things I have learnt throughout my first placement:

1. Theory into practice: I’m the first to admit I don’t feel I am the most academically able student there ever was! The idea of being based in a classroom full time was one of the things that put me off applying for university in the first place. There are some modules I have completed which I have picked up easily however there have been others I have had to spend long hours studying independently just to feel like I was at the same level with all of my other classmates. For me placement has been key in helping me to understand pieces of legislation and theory and how they impact social work practice. I was able to observe how my placement organisation is shaped by relevant legislation, changes in government and social work theory and this has been something I have appreciated to help me to develop as a professional!

2. Self-Esteem & Confidence: Everyone is always gobsmacked when I confide in them about how little confidence I do actually have in myself, I think I am well practiced at putting on a good act! Placement has challenged me to use my own initiative, take full accountability for a caseload and believe in my own judgement as a person and a professional. I think it has done wonders for my confidence and by the end of placement I felt like I had made a positive impact on individual’s lives and that has boosted my self-esteem massively. It’s something I will definitely take forward into my final placement and one less barrier I feel like I am going to have to overcome.

3. No question is a silly question: Being a mature student I worked for over 5 years prior to deciding to come to university. I have always been in a job where, after the awkward initial few weeks, I have felt like I was in control and knew what I was doing and what was expected of me. Being a student on placement kind of throws all of that out of the window and you are often in a room with professionals with long intimidating job titles and more years experience than you have been alive! At the beginning of placement this was something I battled with because I felt embarrassed about asking questions which might sound like I was unsure and I worried about what others would think of me. I met so many helpful professionals on placement that this was something I soon learnt to overcome. A lot of the time the questions I asked challenged others to think differently or to reflect about why they were actually doing something. I always found people to be more than helpful when I had a question and from the feedback I got I think this showed I was taking in the full placement opportunity and willing to be inquisitive!

4. Communication is key: Social Workers are notoriously slated within the media for their failures to communicate clearly with everyone involved and in the past this has led to the deaths of children. All of the individuals and families I worked with on placement spoke positively about the communication skills I had. It was important to me to take on board all of the comments service users had made to me in the past within seminars about social workers. I worked hard to make sure people had a positive experience of me and the service. This included being punctual to all arranged appointments, actioning any points I had said I would, avoiding the use of professional jargon and abbreviations, and being open and honest with the service user. I worked with children, young people, families, adults with mental health problems, teenage parents and adults with physical disabilities whilst on placement and can safely say that all of the above helped me to build a strong professional relationship with each person and showed my respect for them, which I then received in return!

5. Organisation skills are crucial: Whilst on placement my colleagues would dash in and out of the office all day long going to appointments with service users, attending multi-professional meetings, completing training courses and running service user led groups and activities. I was amazed at how they managed to have such busy diaries and seemed to take it in their stride, not to mention keeping up with their case recording and paperwork. I quickly learnt how they done this because I was part of four different projects on placement and had a caseload belonging to a number of the projects which meant I had to keep on top of my diary and paperwork on a daily basis. If I hadn’t of done this it could have meant I missed home visits, was unprepared to share information at a multi-agency meeting or that I hadn’t recorded crucial information which would be referred to in a child protection case.

My advice to all of you about to take on your first year placement? Invest in a diary, be honest and clear with everyone you work with, believe in yourself, don’t be afraid to ask questions and enjoy it!

Lau x


August 10th, 2015

Homemade Pizza Recipe

Hey everyone,

I have just noticed that the recipe to accompany my video showing how to make homemade pizzas has vanished, so I am posting again for all you budding pizza chefs!

I have always laughed when people said make your own pizza. Why when I could literally go to Aldi and pick one up to throw in the oven for £2? However I fully get it now because homemade pizzas taste sooooo much better. The recipe below will give you enough dough to make two good size 10 inch pizzas:


600g Strong Bread Flour (Base)
2 tsp Instant Yeast (Base)
2 tsp Salt (Base)
400ml Warm Water (Base)
200ml Passata (Sauce)
Topping of your choice
Cheese, as much or as little as you like.


1. Preheat your oven to 220 degrees (fan) or gas 8

2. Put the flour into a large mixing bowl and stir in the yeast and salt. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the warm water, bring together until you have a soft dough.

3. Lightly flour the kitchen surface and knead the dough for around 5-10 minutes until it is smooth. You can cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for 30 minutes if you like, but if your impatient like me it works just as well without the time to rise!

4. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin or any other imaginative device you can find if your in student halls and have no rolling pin! I ended up using a tin of beans wrapped in a sandwich bag, it worked a treat. The dough needs to be very very thin, remember it will rise in the oven!

5. Once you have the dough at your desired thickness and shape place baking paper onto your baking tray and lay the rolled out dough on top. Spread the passata sauce on top of the base, leaving a gap around the edges to create your crust.

6. Add your chosen toppings and bake your pizza in the oven for 10 minutes or until crisp.

7. Enjoy and prepare for an influx of orders from your flat mates 🙂

July 27th, 2015


Hi everyone!

Hope you are enjoying your summer whether your off adventuring abroad or sunning it up in the UK!

At the weekend I went along to Sunderland Airshow which was at Seaburn beach. I haven’t been since I was a little girl so I went to relive my childhood and because im a bit geeky for things like that! I couldn’t believe how busy it was, I have never seen so many people gathered in one spot in Sunderland before but it was worth it.

Top tips:

1. Take a picnic blanket and camping chairs and find a nice spot on the grass banks to watch the Airshow!

2. Park at St Peter’s campus and walk along, its a 5/10 minute walk from the Airshow and if you are a permit holder it’s free to park on a weekend!

3. Take spare change there are so many food and drink stalls and fairground rides to take advantage of!

I will definitely be going next year, and if you are coming to study at Sunderland in September you should too!

Lau x

July 8th, 2015

How to view your results for the year!


Hope this is helpful for first, second, third or fourth years 🙂



July 2nd, 2015

Summer Pavlova

This was my first ever attempt at making Summer Pavlova, and although it seems a lot of effort its worth it!

Ingredients & Equipment:

4 large egg whites
200g caster sugar
300ml double cream
choice of fruit to top
electric whisk
baking paper
oven tray
mixing bowl


1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 1/140 degrees or 120 degrees for fan ovens. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

2. In a bowl whisk the egg whites until thickened and gradually add the sugar. Whisk well – you should be able to tip the bown over your head and for nothing to come out! That is when its whisked well enough..

3. Spread the meringue in an even circular layer on the baking paper and put in the oven for 2 1/2 hours. If possible leave the oven door open slightly for the best meringue 🙂

4. Remove the meringue, leave it to cool completely before whipping the double cream using the electric whisk and spreading onto the meringue.

5. Top with your choice of fruit and enjoy!

(You can make the meringue at least a week before you plan to top it with cream and fruit as long as it is stored in an airtight container or wrapped in baking paper)

Your welcome, yum!

June 23rd, 2015

Does your carer take sugar?

Hello everyone!

I am more than halfway through my second year placement and it’s going really well. I feel like I can really see all of the theory I’ve learnt over the last two years come to life within practice. It has also helped me to develop as a professional and a person!

My advice for anyone yet to go on placement would be to approach it with an open mind, and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone. This is exactly what I done today attending a conference called ‘Does your carer take sugar?’ It was an all day event and featured numerous guest speakers talking about the impact of the Care Act 2014, and how this will shape care and support services going forward. Part of the day involved a round table discussion whereby you were separated into smaller groups to discuss pre set questions. This was very daunting as a social work student in a room with 100 knowledgeable professionals, however I feel I made valuable contributions and came away with lots of food for thought!

Key points I took away from the conference regarding the Care Act 2014 specifically were:

– Section 79 of the act enables local authorities to delegate duties within the act. (This could mean a shift from local authority assessments to these being completed by a voluntary sector provider working directly with carers).

– Section 20 of the act states that a carer is entitled to an assessment in their own right, even if the adult they care for was deemed ineligible within their own assessment. (This could mean if a carer was eligible following an assessment they could have services put in place to support the person they look after in order for them to access work opportunities, for example).

– Fair Access to Care Services has been repealed and incorporated within the act. The banding within assessments will no longer consist of ‘Substantial’ ‘Critical’ ‘Low’ etc., this will simply be eligible or ineligible.

– Direct payments will continue however there will be a duty for local authorities to respond to an individual’s need based on the outcome of assessment. This means that if a person requires a tailored package not usually offered by the local authority then the local authority has a duty to commission this service rather than insist a person needs to take up direct payments for this to be possible. The message is everyone is entitled to direct payments who is eligible, but everyone also has the right to refuse the responsibility of having direct payments!

It was a really interesting conference, I have come away with so many notes I could go on and on. If anyone has any further questions please feel free to message me!

Lau x

May 28th, 2015

Student Finance

Hi everyone!

If you are due to start university in September hopefully you are more than aware that the deadline for submitting your applications to student finance is 31st May! I can not emphasise enough how important it is to meet this deadline, after all no one wants to be a poor student right?

Honestly though, if you did happen to miss the deadline still apply but the likelihood of receiving your money when everyone else does at the beginning of term is very slim, no fresher’s week for you!

I remember when I began completing the online form around this time two years ago I found it soooo confusing knowing what the difference was between a grant, loan and course fees! Last year I took part in a finance video which aims to explain all of this alien student finance lingo in simple terms. Basically the video goes through student finance step by step in a way that anyone can understand without needing a Masters in Accounting and Finance!

I also remember the feeling of seeing 4 figures in my bank account very well, and it was like all my Christmases had come at once. However tempting it may be to go to the Bridges and have the ultimate shopping trip, raid the Debenhams make up counter or treat your flatmates to Domino’s, please refrain! Living off noodles, beans and donated food items from flat mates for 3 months afterwards isn’t fun, or easy on the figure. When you watch this video it gives you tips on how to manage your new found riches so that you don’t have to go running to the Bank of Mum or Dad 🙂

Good luck with your applications and if you have any questions, I can try to help!

May 11th, 2015

First Placement


Apologies for my quietness of late, I have been sunning it up in Mexico with limited WIFI! Back to reality and the cold British Summer now 🙁

I am currently on placement five days a week and thought I would put together a video for those considering the social work course, or first year students who are about to go into second year in September.

I am enjoying placement so far and it has really shown me I made the right decision in pursuing a social work career. It has helped me so much with understanding the theory and law I have learnt to date seeing everything in practice.

As ever, any questions you have are more than welcome, no question is too silly..

Thank you to Chelsie McNeal for featuring in the video too!

Lau x