High-Achieving Cumbria Foster Carer Honoured
The Cumbria Women of the Year committee recently held its 25th annual presentation of the eponymous award. Earning her “countrywide recognition for [her] achievements” Doreen Beattie, a long-time resident of Kirkoswald, was celebrated for having dedicated the better part of her life “to caring for those most vulnerable, both children and the elderly”.
The Cumberland & Westmoreland Herald details her remarkable story:
“Having been abandoned by her mother, and subsequently growing up in an orphanage in Glasgow, Doreen became used to looking after others from the age of 12, when she was expected to rise at 5:30am to look after 17 under-nines, washing and dressing them. She trained as a nurse, making her well equipped to take on the demanding role of fostering. As well as bringing up her own two children, Doreen gave youngsters in her care the chance of a normal home life.”
The chairperson of the committee, Tess Hart, also details how Doreen had “given great strength to the families” she had helped. On top of caring in her domestic context, we also learn that she “played a big part in the community life of Kirkoswald”, providing plenty of “support, comfort and reassurance” to fellow residents of her village.
Later on in the article, her effectiveness as a carer is outlined by the success of one of the many children who had been in her care. A young adult, whom she initially helped as a “young boy with Asperger syndrome”, recounted how her support had been crucial in facilitating his journey, including gaining a BA:
“Without her, people would have given up on me, and I might be in an institution or worse. Doreen Beattie wanted to prove I wasn’t like the rest, I wasn’t going to be written off as unteachable, unable to get work or a career. I now have a respectable job, I got through my education, and I always remembered the advice she gave me. I owe my life to her.”
After retiring from her career as a foster carer, she has since gone on to become a carer for the elderly in her community – an apt transferral of her “special skills and dedication” to an equally commendable calling.
We hope this article demonstrates the immense value foster carers can and do create in their communities each and every day across the UK. Find out some of our own foster carer stories, or get in touch with us if you want to make a similar kind of difference in your own community.