A foster carer who has dedicated 30 years to providing respite breaks for disabled children has been honoured with an invitation to a Royal garden party.
Northamptonshire County Council’s Family Link carers provide respite breaks for a few hours at a time or a few days a month to disabled children and young people.
Family Link carer Anne Jones joined hundreds of local heroes from across the country at Buckingham Palace on May 15 in recognition of the support she has given to nine children and young people with complex needs over the past 30 years.
Mrs Jones, from Rushden, said: “I took my daughter with me and we had such a lovely day.
“It was a beautiful sunny day, and there were bands playing in different parts of the gardens and the Queen passed very close to us.
“There were lots of other people there who had been nominated for something they’ve contributed to their local community.
“It was a once in a lifetime experience and quite an honour.”
The Queen hosts three garden parties a year at Buckingham Palace to recognise and reward people for exceptional public service or community work.
County council cabinet member for children’s services Cllr Victoria Perry said: “I’m delighted that we were able to arrange for Anne to attend one of the Queen’s Royal garden parties in recognition of her commitment to Family Link fostering.
“Anne is a wonderful example of the many fantastic foster carers who support our vulnerable children and young people through respite breaks or short or long-term fostering placements, and I’m pleased we were able to show our gratitude with this special honour.”
Family Link carers are expected to give about one weekend a month, and carers receive full support, advice and training, plus a dedicated social worker to support them and a financial allowance.
It takes about six months to become a Family Link carer and the application process includes a home visit, checks and assessments before a final decision is made by the fostering panel.
To find out more about the Family Link service, visit www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/familylink, call 01604 362813 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.