LONG-SERVING Borders foster carers have been honoured at a special reception in Newtown St Boswells.

Last week carers, with between five and 30 years’ service with Scottish Borders Council were welcomed to the ceremony at Tweed Horizons.

The carers were thanked for their commitment over the years and presented with a certificate in recognition of their hard work and dedication.

After the service, Councillor Tom Weatherston (Cons), executive member for children and families social work, said: “I have nothing but admiration for the way in which our dedicated team of foster carers make such a difference to the lives of our most vulnerable children and young people.

“And believe it is hugely important that we take the time to acknowledge them for the significant contribution they make.

“Every day across the Borders, they open their homes and their hearts at a time when these youngsters need it most, providing them with a family environment that provides the stability, security and love that for whatever reason is missing from their lives.

“They often establish connections that last a lifetime, such is the level of commitment that they have to their role, and they are to be commended for everything they do.”

The ceremony took place as part of a conference to give professionals and foster carers the chance to come together to discuss their views and experiences.

Drew Messer, who has been a carer for the past four years with his wife, said: “Being a foster carer is not just a job, and we came to the role because we are committed to making a difference to the lives of children who have perhaps not had the same opportunities that my wife and I have had.

“Each child comes with their individual experiences and personalities, and it does not matter how long you care for a foster child, it is a privilege to see how they develop and grow during the time they are with you.”

Fellow carer Nicola Beck added: “My husband Graeme and I have fostered for nearly 11 years, but it’s not just us who foster.

“We are fully supported by our two birth children without whom we could not be foster carers. 

“In a family unit it’s like a team, it involves a commitment from each one of us – even our dog plays a huge role in these children’s lives.

“Foster caring is not just a job, it’s a very rewarding lifestyle. 
“We hope in our hearts that each and every child takes at least some of what we show them away with them in their memories for the future.”

SBC is also encouraging people interested in becoming fosters carer to come forward. 

Councillor Weatherston added: “There is a particular need for people who are willing to care for adolescents, along with anyone who could provide short breaks for children with complex needs and disabilities.

“This involves weekend breaks and short term periods of respite care for children who live at home with their parents and can be a good option for people who are not able to commit to fostering on a full-time basis.”

To find out more, contact the Family Placement Team on 01896 662799 or visit: http://www.scotborders.gov.uk/fostering