FosterTalk Awards 2016
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Thank you to everyone who nominated a foster carer or a young person for a 2016 FosterTalk Foster Carer Award. Tuesday 25 October was a fantastic day of celebration at the FosterTalk Foster Carer Awards ceremony.
Edward Timpson Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families, opened the ceremony by congratulating all of the winning foster carers present and praised the work of foster carers all over the country. The Minister then went on to share some of his own experiences and amusing memories of growing up with foster siblings.
The winners received their awards from silver Olympic medallist and World Champion, Jamie Baulch; who was in care himself until he was adopted at six months old, and from TV’s TOWIE star Debbie Douglas. As well as being a foster carer for over two decades, Debbie is also a government ambassador for fostering. Jamie shared his moving experience of searching for his birth mother and Debbie delivered a heartfelt speech about being a foster carer for 23 years.
The ten award winners were:
★ Long service award – Anne Shaw
Anne has cared for over 60 children and young people during her 47 years of fostering with Sheffield City Council. Anne decided to delay her plans to retire to provide a placement for a teenage girl. Anne has successfully maintained a number of placements that have enabled young people to remain in her care and successfully move on to living independently.
★ Young person’s foster carer award – Alex Warren
Eighteen year old Alex Warren from Poole was nominated by his mum Helen Warren who has fostered for FCA for 15 years. From the age of three, Alex has helped his mum care for more than 30 children and young people. Alex has a real affinity for connecting with children and young people, particularly those who may have experienced trauma or have difficulty with communicating.
★ The permanency carer award – Carol and Derek Moody
Carol and Derek have fostered with Kent County Council for 14 years and currently foster three children, including Nathan who has been in their care for nine years. Nathan nominated them because in his words: “they are kind, helpful and loving – they put up with me on my bad days and they have big hearts. They always fight for me when they need to and make me feel wanted and safe.”
★ Outstanding contribution to fostering award – Karen Haddad
Karen is a foster carer for Compass Fostering and was nominated by Maariyah who has been in Karen’s care for seven years. Maariyah said, “Karen treated us like we were her children and she so deserves this award. Karen has the kindest nature I have ever seen in any person, she is always there when you need her and motivates you to do the best you can.”
★ Outstanding commitment to foster children with disabilities award – Martin Williams
Martin had fostered with his wife for 10 years with Pathway Care until she died suddenly in 2015, but he made the brave decision to become the primary carer for the two young children they had in their care at the time. In the most desperately sad circumstances, Martin has absolutely flourished as a carer and shown unwavering commitment to the children in his care.
★ Foster carer’s of distinction award – Norma and Chris Collin
Norma and Chris from Cheshire have been fostering with the National Fostering Agency for eight years and have looked after more than 30 children and young people during that time. Over the years, they have cared for a number of children who have been successfully adopted and formed strong attachments with their new families.
★ Respite/short break foster carer award – Jenny and Beverley Britton
Jenny and Beverley have consistently cared for a young girl with emotional needs and provided support to the child’s regular foster carers. The couple have been fostering with Plymouth City Council for three years and have taken steps to ensure that the consistency of care for the little girl is not disrupted
★ Kinship carer award – Jacky Kirwin
Jacky is a kinship carer with St Helens Council and has cared for her two grandchildren after her daughter sadly passed away. She has selflessly put her own grief aside to care for her grandchildren, ensuring their needs were always at the forefront of every decision, despite this being such a devastating time for her.
★ New foster carer award – Paul Williams
Paul from Wigan has only been fostering with By the Bridge with Cambian for 18 months and was nominated for the award by fellow foster carer, Jan Murphy who said, “I’ve been fostering for 20 years and I knew as soon as I met Paul that he had natural ability to look after children. How he works with the young people is simply amazing and has been an inspiration to me.”
★ Teenage foster carer award – Kath and Michael Whalley
Kath and Michael have been fostering with Bradford Council for 17 years and were nominated for the award by their former foster child Joanne. In her nomination, Joanne said that she couldn’t read when she came into their care at aged nine, but left high school with 14 GCSE’s graded A-C. She said that. “The difference they have made to my life is immeasurable.”
We would like to thank all those involved in making the day go so smoothly and to ARAG, Fosterinsure, Legal Assistance Direct and Lighthouse Financial Advice for sponsoring the awards.
We had hundreds of entries which made it very hard for our judges to select just ten winners. Our awards ceremony celebrated the winning foster carers but also acknowledged all of the foster carers in the UK who do an amazing job. All foster carers who were nominated for an award have received a certificate of recognition; thank you to everyone who took the time to make a nomination.