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Awards Success for Council’s Family Teams

On Friday the 12th December, Cheshire Today reported on the results of the Children and Young People Now Awards. Held in London, with more than 400 people in attendance, Cheshire was well represented thanks to efforts of local organisations in improving the lives of young people within its boundaries.

First of all, we learn of the council’s success: “Cheshire East Council won the children in care award for its fostering capacity scheme, which awards grants to extend or adapt homes, or buy new cars to meet the needs of fostering households”.

As a team, here at Perpetual Fostering we are thrilled to hear of a council gaining recognition for helping the process of fostering so well. The article goes on to describe how the council “funded an extension, which has enabled one foster family to look after sibling groups, who can be hard to place.” As if that wasn’t enough, “when current projects are complete, the scheme will have helped improve the lives of about 20 children”.

Secondly, but no less importantly, the partnership working award went to Cheshire Without Abuse (CWA), a charity commissioned by the very same council. Their focus is on supporting children affected by domestic violence and abuse, by assessing all cases and partnering with a wide range of organisations to ensure youngsters aged 7 to 19 get appropriate help.

Part of the focus of CWA could involve any or all of the following:
• one-to-one support
• programmes to build resilience
• programmes to aide recovery from trauma

Cheshire East Council was also shortlisted in the youth justice award for its program to combat harmful sexual behaviour among young people. Director of Children’s Services, Tony Crane, celebrated their success: “Huge congratulations to my teams who were successful at the awards. I am so proud of their achievements and I thank them for their hard work to deliver these projects on top of their daily responsibilities”.

It’s so heartening to see organisations from our region of the country gain such commendations at countrywide awards! If you’re interested in fostering, but aren’t sure if it’s for you, we’ve got some answers – contact us today, we’d love to hear from you.

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.