The chair of Croydon Foster Carers Association has said he was ‘shocked’ and ‘humbled’ to receive an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list 2018.
For the last 16 years Martin Williams and his partner have looked after several children and young people on long-term foster placements.
Shortly after joining Croydon Foster Carers Association in 2008, he took on the role of chair and for the last 10 years has played a crucial role in supporting foster carers borough-wide and engaging with children’s services.
Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) is awarded for ‘an outstanding achievement or service to the community’ which ‘will have had a long-term, significant impact and stand out as an example to others.’
Martin said: “I didn’t believe it when I got the letter, I just felt so shocked. After the initial surprise I mainly felt humbled – I am one of around 200 foster carers in Croydon – and of course very pleased.”
Martin explains what appealed to them about long-term foster placements: “We didn’t know much about fostering when we started. We wanted to do long-term placements because we wanted something consistent for our lives and their lives. We both worked at that time, so we liked the idea of looking after a teenager and taking them right through to adulthood.
“I first became involved with the association when I gave up work 10 years ago, because we were about to start a younger placement. I wanted to have a greater role in fostering and to become more involved. It’s very interesting because you get to see the other side of things, provide help and support to foster carers and signpost them to where they can get advice. Also, there is the engagement with children’s services senior management, so the role is very fulfilling.
“Having taken on fostering as an ‘extra’ we have found it takes over your life – in a good way! We have so enjoyed it over the last 16 years. It’s had its highs and lows but it’s been great and it’s a way to give something back to the community.”
“I am so pleased that Martin is getting this very well-deserved recognition for all his hard work for children, foster carers and children’s services in Croydon.
“He has made a huge contribution to the lives of children and young people across the borough, both as a foster carer himself and as chair of the association, by providing help and support for other carers.
“He has played an invaluable role in helping to shape local services, and we are extremely grateful for all his help and support over the years.”
Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning
For more information on fostering visit the fostering pages on the council website.