A couple who have dedicated a decade of their lives to caring for dozens of foster children have been recognised with a special award.
Mike and Melanie Cox were presented with the award by former England football captain Mark Wright at a conference held by fostering agency Foster Care Associates (FCA).
After receiving the award, Mike, 41, spoke about the ‘ups and downs’ of their decade in fostering.
“We first decided to get into fostering as my sister was a foster carer and we saw what a good job she did and the difference she was making,” he said.
“It has been challenging. Our own two children were aged seven and 10 when we started so they have grown up sharing their house. They have coped well though as they are quite laid back children but it was key that we made time for them separately as well.
“We have really enjoyed it despite the challenges. It does have its rewards, although these often come after the children have left when they ring you up A few years down the line and thank you for what you did.”
As well as being a carer, Mike also serves as a national carer representative for the Yorks and Lincs region at FCA and is keen to promote fostering and is happy to recommend it as a career.
He said: “I would definitely recommend fostering and have recommended it to friends who have now gone into it themselves. I think that patience and understanding are key skills to have as a foster carer. Also a willingness to adapt is important as things change all the time.
Mark Wright, an FCA ambassador and foster carer himself, said he was delighted to present the award to Mike and Melanie and spoke about his determination to find carers of a similar ilk.
He said: “It was great to meet Mike and Melanie as they are an inspiration to us all and have shown their commitment and passion for fostering over a long period.
“I am sure there are plenty more people out there with the same sorts of qualities that can be transferred into fostering and can help tackle the shortfall in foster carers I’m keen to see reduced as soon as possible.”
FCA welcomes applications from single parents, married and co-habiting couples as well as same sex couples.
For more details visit www.thefca.co.uk.