Gloucestershire teenager wins national award for contribution to fostering
Henry Wells, 19, one of Gloucestershire County Council’s ambassadors for vulnerable children and young people, has won the award for ‘outstanding contribution by sons and daughters’ at The Fostering Network’s ‘Fostering Excellence Awards’.
The Fostering Excellence Awards took place on Wednesday 23 October and are the UK’s most prestigious foster care awards. They celebrate outstanding achievement in fostering and recognise those who make exceptional contributions to foster care every day.
The ‘Outstanding Contribution by Sons and Daughters’ award is for those who have gone the extra mile to support their parents or the young people in foster care with their family. Henry’s parents have been foster carers for 12 years and he plays a very important role in the fostering household.
His family usually fosters teenagers who need more intensive support and Henry happily helps them settle into their new environment and supports them through challenging times. Henry considers fostering a great source of development and emphasises how much he has grown as an individual by being part of a fostering home.
Henry is an ambassador for vulnerable children and young people at Gloucestershire County Council and works alongside young people in care and care leavers (16 to 25 year olds). The ambassadors are the voice of young people in children’s services and help with training and recruitment of social workers. Henry is also involved in training foster carers and co-delivering ‘The Skills to Foster’ training for birth children.
Henry commented: “I am very grateful to receive this award. There are many birth children who are part of fostering families who all do a really great job and winning an award like this shows that what I am doing, along with many others, makes a difference. Being in a fostering family over the past 12 years has helped me realise what sort of path I want to take and this award has made me think about the future and helped me understand my potential.
“Through this, I have decided that university would be a great path for me, and studying mental health and psychology will help me to further develop my skills to carry on doing what I enjoy but to a higher level.”
Lyn Green, Henry’s line manager at Gloucestershire County Council and nominator for his award, said: “Henry’s experiences are invaluable for our fostering service and we have learnt a lot from him. Henry is very caring, committed to fostering and has a great sense of humour. At work, Henry often shares his fostering experiences with his colleagues and provides the team – social workers, foster carers and young people – with a different perspective on foster care.”
There are currently more than 700 children in care in Gloucestershire. Gloucestershire County Council has 270 fostering homes and needs many more. Find out more about fostering by visiting www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/fostering