On Wednesday 22 March, The Fostering Network bid a fond farewell to our president, Jim Bond. After celebrating more than a decade in the role he is now passing the baton on to Libby Thornhill who was recently appointed as his replacement.
Jim has been an integral part of The Fostering Network since the early 2000s, first joining us as a trustee before becoming chair in 2004. As president he has supported the charity enormously, chairing conferences, making speeches, hosting events (most notably two of which were attended by the Duchess of Cambridge), meeting with policy and decision makers including ministers, and giving countless media interviews. In October 2010 he also raised more than £5,000 for the charity trekking 80km along the Great Wall of China.
Jim was the first single man to become a foster carer in Essex when he was approved over 20 years ago, challenging stereotypes that were prevalent at that time and proving that men wanted to and were capable of fostering children alone. It took a year to be approved, but since then he has cared for almost 100 children, mainly teenage boys. In 2011 he received a much-deserved MBE for services to children.
Reflecting on his time with the charity, Jim Bond said: ‘This is an association I’ve found passionately important in my life. I hear of stories of foster care in the media and it reminds me of what has been done. Change takes time but we’ve achieved so much already.
‘The Fostering Network is an extended family and that really is what fostering is all about. I love this team and their professionalism. They work their socks off to ensure that this organisation can support the people that matter and I thank you all for your warmth and endeavour.’
Chief executive of The Fostering Network, Kevin Williams, said: ‘I’ll always remember Jim for his words, which were always so carefully chosen. He understood what a complex issue fostering is and put young children at the heart of everything he did. He is a true ambassador for fostering and The Fostering Network.’
The charity’s newly appointed president Libby Thornhill has already begun her duties alongside the new vice president Darren Harman-Page. You can read more about them in this announcement.