Bexley’s annual fostering awards

Some of the borough’s Foster Carers and Supported Lodging Providers were presented with awards this week (15 July) at a special event held by the Council.

The dedicated carers came along to the Civic Offices to pick up awards for ‘Long Service’ - between five and 35 years - and  for ‘Completion of Training, Support and Development’ standards for foster carers. Bexley’s Fostering team organised the event to thank them for the care and support they give Bexley’s children and young people. 

Cabinet Member for Children’s Services Cllr Philip Read presented the Long Service Awards along with former Chairman of Bexley’s Corporate Parenting Committee, Cllr Sybil Camsey. Cllr Read said: “Without our army of dedicated Foster Carers and Supported Lodgings providers, our services for children and young people who are cared for by the borough, would not cope. It is their drive and passion for the role that makes such a difference to the children and young people they care for. I know the role is a challenging one and they have our utmost admiration. This event is a chance to say ‘thanks’.”

Foster Carer Chris King with Cllr Read and Cllr Camsey

The recipient of the award for 35 years of long service Margaret Hercock was unable to attend the event. When she was told about her long service award she said; “All children are special and need love and care. When children came into my home they became part of my family and that is how they should be treated. Different children would sometimes push and push but they would usually come around when you stand by them. I always support children to keep in contact with their birth family if they can. Then when the children leave care they have two sets of family there to support them.”

Chris King received an award for 20 years service as a Foster Carer for Bexley. She said; “Being a Foster Carer is extremely rewarding – but it is very hard work. You have to be ready to offer the support they need. Sometimes the children are sad and sometimes they run. You need to understand why and help them through it.

“We make sure that we welcome the young people into our home and want them to be part of our family – as soon as they are with us we have a framed photo of them alongside our own children. Some of the children we have cared for still keep in touch with us – and that’s lovely.”

Jonny Hoyle, former care leaver from Scarborough, social worker and Chairman of the board of Trustees for the charity A National Voice, was the guest speaker at the event. Jonny has received a number of awards for making a difference to the lives of children and young people and also as a social worker. In 2016 he was a finalist in the Social Worker of the Year awards. Jonny works to raise the profile of looked after children and care leavers and has been involved with parliamentary groups and the Social Work Reform Board, as well as helping other charities like the Fostering Network.

More carers in Bexley are needed in particular for older children, young people with babies of their own and children with additional needs. Bexley’s fostering service provides carers with ongoing support. Competitive rates of pay are offered plus full training. To find out more about fostering in Bexley call 020 3045 4400 or email fostering@bexley.gov.uk