Wednesday 2 October 2016

Anne Shaw from Sheffield has won the Long Service Award at the annual FosterTalk Foster Carer Awards in recognition of the 47 years she has spent looking after more than 60 children and young people.

Edward Timpson, Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families, opened the ceremony by praising and congratulating all of the winning foster carers present. Anne received her award 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.

Anne, who fosters with Sheffield City Council, currently has one young person in her care and was nominated for the award by her supervising social worker, Carol Miler. Commenting on why she feels Anne is so deserving of this award, Carol said:

“Throughout her fostering career Anne has been a trailblazer for good fostering practice and children have thrived in her care. Anne’s actions have always reflected core fostering values; this includes an ability to work in partnership with parents. Her ability to build effective working relationships with parents has always been one of her strengths and on numerous occasions, parents have thanked Anne for caring for their children.

“This award is a fitting tribute that recognises forty-seven years of Anne’s dedication and contribution to fostering and improving the lives of children and young people she has cared for. We’re so grateful to the commitment and dedication of people like Anne and of all of our foster carers who work so hard every day – they really deserve this type of recognition.”

Now in its third year, the FosterTalk awards highlight how foster carers are fundamental in turning young people’s lives around and Anne has dedicated her life to doing just that.

“Soon after I got married, I made friends with a couple who fostered and I realised that was how I could try to make a difference. I started fostering after I had my first son and twin girls – they were four and three, so I had my hands full! Life has been busy ever since and I only took a short break when I had my fourth birth child.” Anne explained.

Anne continued: “I feel very proud to be recognised for something that I consider to be fairly ordinary. From a very young age I knew I wanted to help children who didn’t grow up in loving supportive families. I wanted to be able to help them if they had no-one else to turn to – things are much different now to the time when I was growing up. Then, children weren’t listened to and it is so sad to think of a child who cannot turn to someone in their own family. Even now it’s sad, but true that there will always be children who cannot be looked after by their biological parents, which is why I’ve encouraged others to consider it over the years.”

Councillor Jackie Drayton, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families said: “Congratulations to Anne – what an amazing achievement recognising Anne’s forty seven years of dedication to improving the lives of children and young people. We’re so grateful to the commitment and dedication of Anne, and all of our foster carers who do a wonderful job.”

Edward Timpson, Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families, said: “As someone who grew up with over 80 foster siblings, I have seen first-hand that a stable and nurturing home environment is essential to helping children achieve their potential. Foster carers make a huge impact on children’s lives, and the awards highlight the incredible commitment and love that families like these bring to fostering some of our most vulnerable children across the country.”

Melody Douglas, managing director of FosterTalk, comments: “Working with foster carers every day, we see the enormous commitment and positive difference they make to the children and young people in their care. We’re delighted to be presenting these awards for the third consecutive year to shine a light on some of the inspiring achievements of foster carers across the UK and celebrate the work that all carers do to give the children in their care a safe, stable home and access to life-changing opportunities.

“We had hundreds of entries which made it very hard for our judges, but this award for Anne is well deserved. Not only has she made a difference to the children in her care, but she actively encourages others to think about fostering and we hope that our awards inspire other people to consider becoming foster carers too.”

FosterTalk helps more than 30,000 foster carers nationwide, working alongside over 190 fostering services in the support of their foster carers. FosterTalk’s membership package offers a range of support to foster carers including tax and benefits advice, legal advice as well as counselling.

Distributed by FosterTalk