A South Holland couple who have been given a long-service award for foster caring over more than 20 years have urged others who can to get involved.
Donna and Lee (who have asked us not to use their surname) have helped look after around 70 young people.
They were among those recently presented awards by Lincolnshire County Council for their commitment to helping often vulnerable young people alongside their own four children.
“We have our own family and I always wanted a large family,” Donna said. “We decided to start fostering when we had two children and we’ve had two more since then.
“I just love everything that comes with having a big family, all the school and nursery runs.
“They come to us at all ages. Some are straight from the hospital while others are school-age children.
“Some we are god-parents to and we’re still in contact with many of them, it’s lovely to see how many of them are doing through Facebook.
“It’s a very rewarding thing to do.
“A lot of the children have experienced previous traumas, and you have to be mindful of that, but it’s so nice to see them develop and grow from the stability you’ve helped provide.
“It’s a lovely honour to be involved with their lives.”
The pair offer short term help, so will look after a child for up to three years.
It’s meant the couple’s children, the oldest of which is now 27 and the youngest two, have had plenty of company growing up.
“They’ve all embraced it and been so supportive,” said Donna. “They’ve all always welcomed all the children into the family.
“They’ve been happy to share everything with them, including their mum and dad.
“I’m so proud of them.”
More foster carers are needed in Lincolnshire and Donna doesn’t hesitate to urge others to get involved if they can.
“If you can offer a loving, family environment and have a spare room, I’d urge anyone to make enquiries about how you can get involved,” she said. “I don’t think anyone would regret it. It’s just such a rewarding thing to do.
“These children come to you so scared and sad and when they realise it’s going to be OK here and they know they’re going to be treated as one of the family, it’s just lovely.
“They all just want to be loved and benefit from getting stability in their lives.”
If you are interested in fostering, visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/fostering.
You can also get in touch with the fostering team by calling 01522 554114.