The only way is fostering

The fantastic work of Camden’s longest-serving foster carers was celebrated at a special awards ceremony in Camden on Friday 13 May, attended by former and current cast members of both EastEnders and The Only Way Is Essex.

Actress Anita Dobson, most famous as Angie in EastEnders, Ellen Thomas, currently playing Claudette in EastEnders, and TOWIE’s Lydia Bright with her mum Debbie Douglas, who has been a foster carer for over two decades, were among the celebrity guests.

Actor Joe Swash, best-known as Mickey Miller in EastEnders and whose mum is also a foster carer, was also there and spoke about his experience of growing up in a fostering household. A total of 13 awards were presented, recognising and rewarding foster carers for their dedicated long service of between five and 20 years.

Music on the night was provided by Raff, who has performed alongside the likes of Lily Allen and Ed Sheeran. Local businesses donated free restaurant meals, cinema tickets and a tour of the Arsenal stadium to the foster carers.

The annual event, part of national Foster Care Fortnight, is a chance for the Council to celebrate our foster carers’ dedication, as well as to highlight the urgent need for more foster carers to come forward.

Anita Dobson said: “I am touched by the hard work and commitment of Camden foster carers. Looking after a child takes real energy and a very warm heart. Foster carers really do go above and beyond to give children and young people a safe and secure home, making a big difference to their lives. Foster carers bring a sense of family and inclusion to vulnerable children and their dedication shouldn’t go unnoticed.”

Lydia Bright’s mum Debbie Douglas, a foster carer 24 years, said: “I truly look back and feel enriched by sharing so many children's journeys. I know I have made a difference and there is nothing quite as uplifting as that.”

Joe Swash said: “Growing up in a fostering household has been a real privilege. I have a lot of admiration for the work foster carers do and I’m very happy to be supporting an event that honours Camden’s long-serving foster carers."

Councillor Angela Mason CBE, Cabinet Member for Children at Camden Council, said: “Our annual Camden Foster Carers Awards recognise the vital role that these often unsung heroes of our community play in helping local children to live in a secure and caring environment, allowing them to flourish and achieve their goals as young adults."

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