Lyn Jewell, aged 68, who became a council foster carer after she saw an advert in a local doctor’s surgery, was presented with an award from Councillor Helen Godwin, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, in acknowledgement of her many years of service.
Over the years, Lyn has provided a safe and nurturing home to more than 45 vulnerable children, including some who needed round-the-clock care.
Lyn said: “Being a foster carer has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life although it has had its challenges too. I always wanted to work with children and fostering offered me the flexibility to look after my own family, whilst providing a loving environment to others.”
One of the first people to join a new scheme in 1981, Lyn provided disabled children with regular, short breaks. As her fostering career developed she then provided permanent homes to children in care, with some joining her family for the best part of their lives.
A mother of two, Lyn said her own children fully supported her decision to foster and shared every aspect of their lives including toys, bedrooms and their time.
One of the proudest moments in Lyn’s career was watching one of her foster children get married and have a family of his own. He is still a big part of Lyn’s life and played an important role at her wedding as an usher.
Councillor Godwin said: “I’d like to thank Lyn and her family for their exceptional efforts over the last 38 years. Lyn is an incredible woman and her commitment to supporting young people and their families has made a real difference to so many lives. Foster carers play an important role in the city and ensure young people get the care and love they need to help them towards a brighter future.
“We know there is a national shortage of foster carers which means we are struggling to find enough carers in Bristol who reflect all of our children’s backgrounds.
“We urgently need people from all walks of life to come forward. You don’t need to be married, own a house or have any specific qualifications to foster. It’s what you can offer a child that counts – love, stability and a nurturing home.”
Lyn, who retired from fostering late last year, added: “The impact you can make on a young person’s life completely outweighs the challenges you might face along the way.”
She still remains in contact with a number of people she cared for, including a young man who lived as part of her family for over 19 years.
Becoming a foster carer can take as little as six months. To find out more about fostering call 0117 353 4200 or visit the Bristol City Council website.