Plymouth foster carers win national award

Beverley and Jenny Britton from Plymouth have won the Respite / Short Break Award at the annual FosterTalk Foster Carer Awards in recognition of the commitment and dedication they show to the children and young people in their care.

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

Beverley and Jenny, who have been fostering with Plymouth City Council for three years, regularly care for a young person with emotional needs.

They were nominated for the award by their supervising social worker Cosmas, as well as the supervising social worker for the child’s permanent foster carers and the fostering team manager, Karen Blake.

Commenting on why they all feel that the couple are so deserving of this award, Karen said: “I’m delighted to see Beverley and Jenny recognised with this award. They are committed carers who are hugely supportive and always provide a nurturing environment. They are so dedicated to the young person whom they regularly care for – Beverley has decided to take leave from her job so that the consistency of care is not disrupted.

“They are innovative in their approach to fostering and think creatively, using activities such as cooking as a way to teach about sharing or using a friend’s dog to support the development of empathy and nurture.

“Beverley and Jenny are also hugely supportive to the foster carers they are providing respite for and build really strong relationships to ensure the placement works well.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Now in its third year, the FosterTalk awards highlight how foster carers are fundamental in turning young people’s lives around and Beverley and Jenny are doing just that.

Commenting on their award, Jenny said: My sister is a foster carer and we were encouraged so much by her experience to do the same – we really wanted to make a difference to a child’s life. We both work full time, but were pleased to find that we can still foster alongside our jobs as long as you have a good plan in place. For us, our sexuality wasn’t an issue and it certainly wasn’t for our social worker – I’d encourage everyone to consider fostering.

“When we heard about the award, we were so shocked - we can’t believe we’ve been recognised in this way, but it’s so lovely!”

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 Beverley and Jenny is well deserved. Not only have they made a difference to the child in their care, but they actively encourage 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.

If you are interested in finding out more about fostering in Plymouth please visit the website www.fosterforplymouth.co.uk