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Celebrating fabulous foster carers

The efforts of fantastic foster carers in Waltham Forest have been celebrated at an annual award ceremony recognising their hard work and dedication.



The Council-organised Waltham Forest Recognition Awards paid tribute to selfless residents who have transformed the lives of children by providing them with a loving and caring home.



Awards included Young Person’s Carer of the Year, Male Foster Carer of the Year, Foster Couple of the Year, Female Foster Carer of the Year, Young Person’s Carer of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award.



Parvin Moosun was given a well-deserved pat on the back for her efforts caring for vulnerable young people when she was named Young Person’s Carer of the Year.



She was nominated by her 15-year-old foster child Azah*, who said: "Parvin should be named the star carer for 2016 because she made me realise how important my life means, not just to my beloved family, but also to her.



"She is very welcoming – she is like my second mother and has a great bond with my family. I know she cares for me because when I messed up in my mock GCSE exams she was there for me, and when I feel too lazy to do anything she doesn’t give up on me."



Winner of Male Carer of the Year was Martin Massett, who was nominated in recognition of his child-focussed approach, understanding of children with disabilities, nurturing skills, leadership and commitment to his role and responsibilities. 



Martin said: "Having a good team of professionals around you makes all the difference. We are not rescuers but gardeners – we help children and young people grow."



Marilyn Martin, winner of Foster Carer of the Year, also acknowledged the support she received from the Council as having been a huge help over the years.



She said: "This would not have been possible without my dedicated supervising social worker. Her support is invaluable – she is a good sounding ear and mentor and helps me to reflect."



Marilyn, who became a foster carer in 2001, was nominated as she has coped well with the demands of more complex and challenging children and has shown her skills and experience in caring for them whilst ensuring that her focus remains on their needs.



One of the young people she has looked after, Jenna*, is very positive about the care and support received from Marilyn and her family. She said: "They are very kind and they show a lot of respect."



Cllr Mark Rusling, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "Our foster carers are an absolute credit to the borough, and all of the winners richly deserved to be publicly thanked for making an immeasurable difference to the lives of children in need.



"I hope their efforts inspire others to find out about fostering. Here in Waltham Forest, we’re trying to find 33 new foster carers this year alone to help accommodate the number of young people who could benefit from a happy home.



"As reward for helping transform the life of a vulnerable young person, foster carers in Waltham Forest are given a package of rewards, including up to 60 per cent off their council tax bill, discounted access to the borough’s six leisure centres and 24/7 support."



Foster carers also receive a fee and allowance for the child of up to £445 per week and access to a lifestyle hub which provides a variety of discounts off major brands and retailers, money off cinema tickets and concessions at major attractions, venues and places of interest.



As well as being given 24/7 dedicated social worker support so they always have someone to turn to should they ever need professional help, they also receive a range of training opportunities.



To find out more about becoming a Waltham Forest foster carer visit www.fosteringwalthamforest.co.uk.



*Names of young people have been changed to protect their identities.

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