A husband and wife from Selby have been commended after retiring from fostering after 35 years.
Gwen and John Robertson were celebrated by the county council for their efforts, which began in 1986 with Fostering North Yorkshire. The couple said fostering had been “an experience” and given them “many memories” and thanked their own children for being so accommodating.
Gwen said: “When we started fostering in 1986, we didn’t envisage still doing it 35 years later. We’ve cared for many children over that time, some staying for several years, others for a few nights, with many coming back several times for respite care from other carers or families who were needing a break. “One boy came once a month from five-years-old, staying until he was 17 and able to cope at home. During that time, we became very involved in supporting him. “Fostering involves the whole family. We couldn’t have done it without the support of our family and friends, especially our two boys, who were very involved in the early days as the children we cared for were around their ages. “It has certainly been an experience, with good times and many memories, as well as times when things have been difficult.” The Robertsons are the last of three sets of carers who over the past twenty years had their own unique support network, where they came together collectively to care for looked-after children. When a carer needed support, they would be there to step in and provide respite, and vice versa. Even now, some of the children and young people visit all three carers - some of them with their own children. “We‘ve been supported by many fostering workers and other carers especially our small ‘bubble’ of carers where we helped and supported each other,” Gwen added. “We will miss fostering and the people we have met over the years, many of whom we now regard as friends.”
The Fostering North Yorkshire team presented John and Gwen with flowers and a birdbath for their garden for their incredible support over the years. North Yorkshire County Councillor Janet Sanderson, Executive Member for Children's Services, said: “Gwen and John have shown huge commitment to supporting young people in the area and their contribution will be sorely missed by many. They have certainly earned themselves a rest and we wish them a relaxing retirement and offer our thanks for all their work.” If you would like to find out more about joining the Fostering North Yorkshire team, and how to make a difference to young lives, please visit www.northyorkshire.gov.uk/fostering.
(L-R) John Robertson; Debbie Elks, Supervising Social Worker; Gwen Robertson; Dawn Leister, Fostering Support Worker; and Sally Graham, Practice Supervisor. (12-08-200 SU)