A foster carer from Morecambe has been honoured with a national award.
Nigel Walker has been recognised for his outstanding contribution to foster care.
He has received an Outstanding Contribution by a Foster Carer award at The Fostering Network’s annual Fostering Excellence Awards for his dedication to fostering, even in the face of adversity.
Nigel and his wife Penny have been foster carers for 11 years and fostering with Fostering Solutions for the last two.
Nigel was injured last year by a young person with learning difficulties and has been left blind and with severe headaches as a result. However, despite the incident and its life-changing consequences, Nigel refused to give up.
He returned to fostering only two months after he sustained his injury and opened their home to a teenager with learning disabilities once again.
Nigel proves every day that his disability doesn’t hold him back and demonstrates an incredible passion for fostering and a dedication to help children who need a safe and stable home, whatever the cost.
He is a fantastic role model and an excellent example of how to live a happy and successful life and how to support others to achieve the same. As Nigel is not able to read stories to the children in his care, he encourages them to learn and read to him instead.
Nigel said: “I feel very honoured to receive the award and I was, and still am, completely shocked and surprised.
“Penny and I work as a team together, and it is important to us to share our lives with children and young people who themselves are overcoming some sort of adversity. Life wouldn’t be the same without fostering and we have been lucky to have a very strong, close knit support group of carers and work colleagues, who have provided invaluable help and support during this difficult period in our lives.
“We are very thankful for all the help and support we have been given, including winning this award.”
Penny, who nominated him for the award, said: “Nigel teaches the children in our care empathy for people with disabilities and how to overcome adversity. I am so proud of my husband’s dedication to supporting young people to thrive, despite having to overcome a life-changing trauma himself.”
Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network, said: “Nigel’s story shows his immense dedication to fostering and illustrates the exceptional lengths to which foster carers throughout the UK can go to provide a loving, stable home to children and young people who need it.
“All our winners and the wider fostering community, should be incredibly proud of their achievements and contributions in making foster care in the UK the very best it can be.”
The Fostering Excellence Awards are the UK’s most prestigious foster care awards which celebrate outstanding achievement in fostering and recognise those who make exceptional contributions to foster care every day.
Find out more about the awards and the work of The Fostering Network at www.thefosteringnetwork. org.uk.
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