Barnardo’s NI foster carers Alex Miekle and Sharon Duffy from Lisburn were recently awarded Foster Carers with Distinction at the Fostering Network NI Foster Carer of the Year Awards 2017.
It coincided with their tenth year of fostering and over the past decade they have fostered three boys in long term placements, as well as a number of short stay and emergency placements through Barnardo’s Professional Fostering Service.
They are currently fostering a 12 year old boy and a four year old with complex medical needs.
Sharon said: “It is a fantastic anniversary present. We started fostering in May 2007 and since then our lives have been transformed. It has made us a family.
“The team at Barnardo’s is so supportive we feel part of a bigger family. We would tell anyone thinking of fostering to go for it.
“Our house is alive with children, toys and their friends. If you‘ve got the space, the room and the time these children are special, yes they come with challenges but the rewards outweigh all that.”
Helen Browne, Barnardo’s NI Fostering Manager said: “We are thrilled for Sharon and Alex being recognised as Foster Carers of Distinction at the Fostering Network Awards.”
“They were the first gay couple to foster through Barnardo’s NI and it has been an extremely successful partnership. The social worker who carried out their assessment 10 years ago is the same who nominated them for their award.
“It is a fantastic recognition for Alex and Sharon and we are so delighted that their commitment to children has been recognised.”
If you are interested in fostering with Barnardo’s please visit: www.barnardos.org.uk/fostering or phone 028 9065 2288.