The annual awards ceremony is held by the council to recognise and reward its foster carers for their hard work and commitment in making a positive change for vulnerable children in the council’s care. Carers were nominated by young people and social workers with the winner chosen by a panel which includes Val and Jeff Thornborough, who the foster carer of the year award is named after in recognition of the exceptional care and service they provided to young people in their care.
This year’s event was held the Double Tree Hilton Hotel in Ealing and was hosted by cabinet member for children and young people, Councillor Binda Rai. The event was opened by the immediate past Mayor of Ealing, Councillor Dr.Patricia Walker and attended by more than 150 foster carers.
All foster carers received a certificate and those who have achieved five, 10, and 20 years of service were also presented with specially engraved glassware.
Shakuntla Gittins has been a foster carer for Ealing for over nine years. During that time she has looked after children of various ages, including children with complex health problems, behavioural difficulties and other needs.
She was nominated for the work she has done and the care provided to a specific child who has greatly benefited from the calm, warm and inviting home she has provided. This has resulted in the child, two and a half years later, being very much a part of Shakuntla’s family.
Shakuntla was also nominated for her commitment and understanding of Brighter Futures, the new way Ealing is working on all aspects of fostering. She has embraced new ways of working, taken on board new ideas and regularly attends support groups to share her wealth of experience and knowledge with other carers.
Shakuntla said: “I am over the moon and so pleased that people nominated me. It has been good to work with the fostering service and I appreciate the support given to me throughout the years.
“I’m very thankful that Ealing puts on this event every year to celebrate and recognise the work foster carers do.”
Councillor Binda Rai, cabinet member for children and young people said: “This annual event is one of the highlights of my calendar. It is wonderful to meet, thank and congratulate carers who provide a lifeline to normality for the most vulnerable of our children.
“Our foster carer of the year, Shakuntla, provides a home that offers security and a haven from the bad experiences children have had to endure. On top of that she selflessly gives her time, knowledge and experience to help others. I warmly congratulate her and all our foster carers for their dedication and hope that their example helps us to recruit future carers, who will receive so much from giving loving homes to our children.”
Currently Ealing has approximately 100 fostering families, but with around 340 looked after children, more carers from all backgrounds, ethnicity and age are welcome.
To find out more, come to one of our regular open Information sessions. The next is being held on Monday, 4 December 2017, 7.30pm- 9.30pm at Ealing Town Hall, New Broadway, Uxbridge Road, London, W5 2BY.
For further information contact Ealing Fostering and Adoption Connections on Freephone 0800 731 6550, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ealingfosteradopt.co.uk