The Fostering in Bradford long service awards took place this week at Bradford Bulls’ Odsal Stadium. The event celebrated Bradford Council carers who have fostered from between 5 and 40 years.
In total the awards celebrated over 1100 years’ worth of care to local looked after children and young people.
Cllr Sue Duffy, the portfolio holder for Children and Families, said: “The annual foster carer awards celebrate the stability, love and kindness of Bradford’s foster families. Our foster carers are at the heart of the care we provide for our district’s most vulnerable children and it’s a great occasion to be able to celebrate their long service to the children and young people of our district. We are very proud of their continuing commitment to providing a safe and secure environment for foster children in their care in the Bradford district.
“I would like to send my warmest congratulations to the 87 families who were presented with their awards and say thank you to them for their unwavering dedication to caring for vulnerable children from our district.”
The Lord Mayor presented awards and care experienced guest speaker Nick Barwick (Director of Insight wellbeing services) spoke at length about his personal experiences in foster care and how his foster carer changed the course of his life for the better.
“Fostering had such a significantly positive impact upon me. It gave me the opportunities and experiences I needed to prepare me to live my best possible life. For that, I’ll always be grateful.”
Michelle and David Eeles received their award for 25 years:
“We have two grown up boys & David has two boys that he had before we met. We started fostering when our boys were three and five years old. We started off with one child then after three years, we had two, then in 2007, we moved up to three & have had three ever since! We like to take the children to stay at my friends caravan in Morecambe a few times every year.
“We chose to foster for a few reasons. We knew someone who fostered and we felt we could do that and give a vulnerable child a loving home. We decided to go to a Bradford Fostering information meeting and never looked back. I always loved looking after children so we were helping others doing something we enjoyed. Also I was able to stay home with my boys and be there for them too as they were still young.
“There’s so many rewarding things in fostering but I think the main one is to see how the children settle in and come on leaps and bounds in our care. Another rewarding thing is to see them happy and settled in their new home when they move on to their forever families.
“My advice to anyone thinking about fostering is first to truly think about it, as fostering isn’t for everybody. As much as it’s rewarding, it can be very hard at times too. We’ve loved doing it and a few of my friends started to foster after us so it’s great as we have a great support network between us all.”
Fostering in Bradford aim to double of the number of foster carers they currently approve, recruiting the next generation of carers able to offer loving and stable short term and long term homes to children and young people in care.
If you have a spare bedroom, have a passion for caring for and working with children and the time to spare, they would love to hear from you. They provide professional support, fees and allowances.
To find out more about fostering in the Bradford district:
Text: ‘Bradford’ to 88802