Celebrating 14 years as foster carers
Mike and Lindsay West from Winchcombe have recently been highlighted by Gloucestershire County Council as excellent foster carers and role models for the children in their care.
Lindsay and Mike West were approved as foster carers in 2002 and have now been fostering for 14 years. They previously worked at the local youth club as youth workers for many years. What started at an information evening has seen the couple become specialist foster carers, mainly caring for those over the age of 10, teens with behaviour difficulties, emotional or physical needs.
Lindsay said: "We love it. It's hard work but very rewarding. We do all sorts of things with the young people that we foster. At one time we had three 18 year olds. One has gone back to his family, one has gone to college and the other has secured a full time job. It's great to see them grow and develop. We've fostered a fourteen year old mum and her baby. We take children for a week at a time when their parents or carers need a break. We get great support from our fostering social workers. They are at the end of the phone if we need them and they are the reason we have remained as foster carers".
Mike agreed: "The monthly support meetings are invaluable to us. I also enjoy the wide variety of things we do with the children and young people. There is never a dull moment."
Fostering social worker, Dan Williams said: 'Mike and Lindsay are a great couple who work well as a part of team together and with the county council. They treat young people with respect and dignity. They have a great capacity to tune in in to the individual personality, needs and plans of the young person. These foster carers can see beyond the sometimes challenging behaviour to the young person underneath and to enable them to make positive changes. They are good role models for the children and young people that they foster."
Cllr Paul McLain, cabinet member for children and young people, said: "Foster carers like Mike and Lindsay are invaluable. They offer a great home to young people and have helped set many teenagers back on the road to a better life. I am really grateful that 'The Corner Cupboard' at Winchcombe is donating lunch to give them a really special day".
The couple will also be presented with some flowers by their fostering social worker, Dan Williams.
Jason Hobbs, the owner of the Corner Cupboard at Winchcombe said: "We are very happy to support these local Winchcombe carers in the county as they carry out such an important role. I know Mike and Lindsay will enjoy their well deserved lunch".
For further information on fostering, please call 01242 532654 or go to www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/fostering