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Foster carers’ long service celebrated at special event

10 January 2024

Foster carers have been recognised for their dedication and commitment to caring for children at a ceremony held by Cheshire East Council.

Seven fostering families, with nearly 160 years’ service in total were presented with their awards at a special event at Sandhole Oak Barn in Congleton last month. In total, these families have cared for more than 200 children and young people during that time.

The number of cared for children in Cheshire East fluctuates daily, however at the end of September 2023, Cheshire East had 533. Foster carers play a crucial role by offering these children a secure, nurturing, and loving homes when they cannot stay within their family network.

Kerry and Graham Christopher from Nantwich have been fostering for more than 25 years.

Regarding their experience, they said: “It was 27 years ago when our daughters were aged four and two that we applied and were approved as foster carers for children between the ages of 0-18.

“We have seen about ten young people through to independence and most of them we are still in regular contact with, alongside their partners. They are still very much a part of our family as our own daughters are.

“The best thing about fostering is seeing the children we’ve cared for grow up and start to get on with their lives, making plans, being successful in their relationships, learning to be great parents and more – and we get to celebrate it all with them!

“Fostering has enriched and enhanced our lives not just as a couple, but as a whole family. We really enjoy spending time with the young people we have cared for in the past and those who we continue to care for.”

Councillor Carol Bulman, lead member for children and families at Cheshire East Council, said: “It was a real privilege to attend our end of year celebration, meeting so many of our wonderful foster carers and presenting the well-deserved long service awards.

“I’d like to thank each and every foster carer from the bottom of my heart for all the care, love and support they give to children and young people who are most in need. 

“They really are unsung heroes with their selflessness, resilience, and unwavering commitment, shining as beacons of hope in the lives of those they welcome into their homes.

“I also want to thank the kindness and generosity of the team at Sandhole Oak Barn in Congleton for providing the beautiful venue free of charge for this special event.”

Samantha Derbyshire, head of service for children’s provision at Cheshire East Council, said: “It’s so important that we recognise the work of foster carers in Cheshire East, as they are the backbone of our community.

“They provide nurturing, loving homes - giving children a childhood, something that, to them, might be missing.

“They deserve all the recognition and praise for all that they do. Their dedication to providing safe and nurturing homes for children in need, is truly commendable.

“Cheshire East is privileged to have so many wonderful foster carers, but we always need more. Due to a national shortage across the country, some children live outside their local areas, away from their families and communities.

“We would love to hear from anyone thinking of becoming a foster carer who, like Kerry and Graham, can offer a nurturing home to a child.”

To find out more visit email: or call 0300 123 3223.