Two West Sussex foster carers have received national awards by the UK’s leading fostering charity.
Tracy Doyle received the Outstanding Contribution by a Foster Carer award, while Deborah Waygood received the Fostering Community Supporter award at The Fostering Network’s Fostering Excellence Awards.
Tracy, who fosters for West Sussex, has provided respite care for children with disabilities since 2008.
One child she cared for had such a poor immune system he was rarely able to go outside, except to visit hospital or Tracy’s house. Tracy went to extreme lengths to meet his complex health needs and was vigilant of exposure to infections.
She constantly kept her home and car clinically clean - not just for the 16 hours a week he was in her care. Tracy was able to open up his world and give his parents their first respite in years before he passed away 18 months later.
Tracy’s supervising social worker Janet Butterworth said: “I cannot put into words the awe that I feel for what she has achieved, and I know that his parents cannot thank her enough for what she has done.”
Deborah became a foster carer two years ago as a result of seeing a poster on the back of a bus and has since turned her passion for horse riding into a fundraising activity on behalf of The Fostering Network.
Deborah runs a livery yard for horses and for the past five years she has organised a sponsored horse ride on Ashdown Forest.
For the last two years, the chosen charity has been The Fostering Network as it is a cause close to her and her partner Mark Jackson’s hearts.
This year 160 riders took part in the event raising almost £3,000.
Deborah said: “To be able to offer a secure, loving home to a child or young person who has had a difficult start in life is hugely rewarding.
“We immediately set out to see how we could raise money doing something we love – horse riding – to support The Fostering Network. I’m aiming to make the ride even bigger year on year and raise even more money for The Fostering Network.”
Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network, said: “It takes enormous heart and a gentle spirit to devote your life to caring for children with life limiting conditions. Tracy personifies kindness and we’re delighted to be presenting her with this award.
“Deborah engages so many in her activities, not only by providing something amazing and fun for them to do, but also by spreading awareness of foster care and how it can change the lives of children and young people. Our work can only continue if we have the backing of the fostering, and wider, community. We’re proud to have supporters like Deborah and her fiancé Mark.”
There are currently around 650 children in West Sussex in foster care.
Stephen Hillier, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for children - start of life, said: “It is thanks to foster carers like Deborah and Tracy that children are given new opportunities and it can be life-changing.
“We are always looking for new foster carers to offer children a loving home and, with our support, provide someone with a much happier childhood and a better chance of a better adulthood.”
For more information visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/fostering or call 0330 222 7775.
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