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Wigan woman gets top foster care award

Jeanette Fisher

Jeanette Fisher from Wigan has been named Foster Carer of Distinction in the FosterTalk Foster Carer Awards.

Ten awards to recognise the dedication of foster carers in the UK were handed out by Edward Timpson MP, Minister for Children and Families, and TV chef Lorraine Pascale, at a special ceremony in London.

Hundreds of foster carers were nominated for the awards, established to mark the 10th anniversary of FosterTalk, a service set up to provide nationwide specialist independent support to foster carers in areas such as legal and financial advice and counselling.

(L to R): Lorraine Pascale, Jeannette Fisher, Edward Timpson MP, Melody Douglas (MD of FosterTalk)

Jeanette, a foster carer with Foster Care Associates, was nominated by her daughter Aimee Carr for her unwavering commitment to make a real difference to the children in her care and ensure they feel part of the family.

Aimee explains: “I nominated my mum for the love she puts into her work. Despite the heartbreak when children leave her care, she loves each and every child and will do anything to see them succeed in life.”

Jeanette said: “I am overwhelmed to receive this award. For me, it is a privilege to be able to care for the children as they bring so much fun and laughter into my life.”

Debbie Smith, Operations Manager of FCA in the North West, said: “Jeanette Fisher is a fantastic example of fostering at its finest and we are so proud to see her receive this prestigious award. She has been a foster carer alongside her husband Peter for five years and they have welcomed into their home and family a number of children and young people, including siblings and children with disabilities. “Children and young people deserve the best opportunity to fulfil their true potential it is thanks to people like Jeanette, stepping forward to give their all to fostering, that this is possible.”

Melody Douglas, managing director of FosterTalk, comments: “We work with foster carers on a daily basis and are proud to be able to recognise the positive impact they make on the lives of others through these awards. We had hundreds of entries which made it very hard for our judges, but this award for Jeanette is well deserved and we hope it inspires other people to consider becoming foster carers.”

Minister for Children and Families, Edward Timpson, who grew up with around 90 foster brothers and sisters, said: “As someone from a foster family, I know how vital it is for foster carers to have access to support as and when they need it – from the moment they welcome a new child into their home to the moment they leave. FosterTalk has provided invaluable help and advice to foster carers over the past 10 years, making sure they have everything they need to provide a stable, loving home. I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to both FosterTalk and the foster carers they support for everything they do to make a difference to the lives of foster children.”

Having been fostered at the age of eight, Lorraine Pascale understands what it takes to be a great foster carer. Commenting on her involvement in the awards, she said:

"I am proud to be a part of this celebration which shines a light on the important role that foster carers play in our communities. I know, from personal experience, the transformational difference they can make to the children in their care and the availability of the type of support offered by FosterTalk is crucial to successful placements."

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Cumbria Council to cut 1800 jobs

Cumbria County council announce 1800 job losses

Cumbria County Council is planning to cut 1,800 jobs to achieve savings of £83 million over the next three years.

By 2018 the authority, run by a Labour/Liberal Democrat coalition, will employ 5,200 staff, almost half as many as five years ago.

A consultation on the planned cuts will run until the new year, but the authority warned that millions of pounds of savings were needed to balance its books.

Cumbria County Council deputy leader Patricia Bell said:

These are dark times for the public sector. These are the biggest cuts the council has ever seen. Losing another 1,800 staff will impact on lives, families and our local economy.

"It will be very painful but there is no alternative. We have a legal duty to balance our books and we must live within our means and face up to the reality that if the Government cuts our grants and reduces our budget by a quarter, then we have to make cuts too.

"It has taken a massive effort to identify the £130 million of savings a year that we've already found, but the next three years of cutting a further #83 million is going to be incredibly tough.

– Cumbria County Council deputy leader Patricia Bell

Injured soldier from Merseyside leads annual Poppy Appeal vigil

Pete Dunning from Wallasey lost both his legs when he was struck by a bomb in Afghanistan Credit: PA

A former Royal Marine Commando from Merseyside was among the first to take part in a vigil marking the start of the Royal British Legion's annual fundraising campaign.

Pete Dunning from Wallasey, who lost both his legs when he was struck by a bomb in Afghanistan, was joined in his vigil, at the Cenotaph in central London, by pop star Joss Stone.

The watch was inspired by images of the repatriation of the Unknown Soldier in 1920, when guards kept a vigil at the coffin as a mark of respect.

I'm honoured to be a part of this historic event. The RBL is the nation's custodian of remembrance and this is a great way for anyone, whether they have served or not, to remember a loved one and celebrate our armed forces.

The support that the Legion has offered me since my accident has been great. They are helping me to live my life as best I can by making my day-to-day living easier.

– Pete Dunning, former Royal Marine Commando.
Joss Stone and Jeff Beck have recorded the official poppy appeal single for this year. Credit: Royal British Legion
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