Wham! star helps honour our dedicated foster carers

Former pop star and songwriter Andrew Ridegley – best-known as one half of ‘80s pop duo Wham! - helped to celebrate the fantastic work of Camden’s longest-serving foster carers at an awards evening on Friday (6 September).

Other special guests at this year's Camden Foster Carers Awards included comedian and actor Arabella Weir, formerly of the 1990s BBC TV sketch programme The Fast Show, and the Mayor of Camden, Councillor Maryam Eslamdoust, who thanked foster carers for the valuable work they do.

Presenting awards to dedicated Camden foster carers, Andrew Ridegley said: “It’s a privilege to be with people who give their lives and love so children can have another chance.”

The awards recognised and rewarded foster carers for their dedicated long service of between five and 34 years – with two awards presented for five years of service, one for 10 years, two for 15 years, including Lydia Obeng (pictured above), two for 20 years and one for 25 years. There was also a lifetime achievement award for exceptional long service.

Carole Petch, 61, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award for 34 years’ service at this year’s event, said she has fostered about 200 children during this time, ranging from emergency overnight and short-term placements to children who have stayed with her well into adulthood.

Other guests included Cllr Angela Mason CBE, Cabinet Member for Best Start for Children and Families, and Martin Pratt, the Council’s Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Director, Supporting People.

Councillor Angela Mason CBE, Cabinet Member for Best Start for Children and Families
These awards give the Council a chance to say thank you to our longest-serving foster carers, as well as highlighting the need for more to come forward to provide a secure and loving home for children. All of the foster carers honoured at this event deserve our praise and admiration for their hard work, ethusiasm and commitment and I was proud to be there to celebrate their fantastic contribution to children’s lives. Looking after a child takes real energy and a warm heart. Camden foster carers go above and beyond to give children and young people a safe and secure home, making a big difference to their lives.
Councillor Angela Mason CBE, Cabinet Member for Best Start for Children and Families

Musical entertainment on the night was provided by singer Manavi, while local businesses generously donated free restaurant meals, cinema tickets and gift vouchers to other Camden foster carers who attended.

Background information:

  • Foster carers do not need to own their home
  • Foster carers can be single, married or in a civil partnership, with or without children of their own
  • If you live in Camden and foster for Camden Council, you will be exempt from paying council tax
  • Camden foster carers receive ongoing training in key areas, such as child protection, safe caring, managing behaviour and first aid
  • We pay our foster carers a weekly allowance for each child or young person in placement, plus a generous weekly fee for the foster carer
  • All Camden foster carers have a supervising social worker who visits them frequently. We also have an out-of-hours emergency telephone line, so we are just a call away at any time of the day or night.