Celebrating 135 Years Of Fostering
Awards recognise commitment of carers in the borough
The borough’s foster carers have been recognised for the care and commitment they show to Hounslow’s children in care, with long service awards presented to three couples and five individuals who, between them, have been foster carers for an incredible 135 years.
The Annual Foster Carers Awards ceremony, which took place on Friday 23 November, had three categories for long service: ten years, 15 years and 20 years. The awards were presented by the Mayor of Hounslow, Cllr Pritam Grewal, and Cllr Lily Bath, cabinet member for children’s services.
Cllr Lily Bath said: “The commitment that our foster carers show to the children in our care is tremendous, providing a safe, secure and stable home and perhaps more importantly, care and affection, however long the young people are with them.
"It’s wonderful – and inspirational – to see that they have continued to foster children for such a long time, and I congratulate them for their achievement.”
Maureen Simpson, (pictured above) who received an award for 20 years’ long service as a foster carer, shared her story on what made her become a foster carer and what it has meant to her: “I was divorced and my children had moved on, and I started doing voluntary work for Hounslow including counselling and working with young adults. I loved having my children around and felt lonely when they left home, so when someone suggested fostering, I made the call to Hounslow’s fostering team.
“It took several months as there were a lot of checks to be done, but I thought I’d give it a go and the fostering team were great. I started fostering teenagers, and have never looked back – in fact, I can’t believe it’s been 20 years already!
“Fostering really does change your life. It’s a challenge but an incredibly rewarding one when you see a child or young person who would have encountered a difficult young life regain confidence, self-esteem and develop relationships. Seeing them flourish and do well is what makes me want to keep doing it. They are my extended family, and still keep in touch or come back to visit, many with families of their own now. They always know that I’m on the other end of the phone if they want to have a chat.
“I’ve had lots of support from the fostering team all the way through, and they’ve also been generous in sending me for training, paying for me to do an NVQ and a counselling course.
“I would definitely recommend fostering to anyone who wants to make a difference, has a spare room in their house and can offer a loving, safe and secure environment for a child. Yes, it does change your life but you are also putting something back into the community.
“I’ve made so many friends over the years, and as a single carer, I’m never lonely. It’s really enriched my life and while I won’t deny that there have been challenges, it’s been an absolute joy for me to foster.”
Hounslow currently has a total of 112 foster carers. Carers receive 24 hours support, regular training and an allowance of up to £816 per fortnight per child. Hounslow’s fostering team is holding an information session on Tuesday 29 January at 10am in Room 1, Lampton Park Conference Centre, Civic Centre, Hounslow, for anyone interested in becoming a foster carer.
For more information, visit www.hounslow.gov.uk/fostering or call a member of the friendly team on 0800731 8558.
December 10, 2012