Debbie Douglas, well-known to many from The Only Way is Essex and hit podcast The Brights, has today (Monday 9 September) been awarded The Fostering Network’s President’s Award for her exceptional contribution to fostering.
Debbie, along with her partner Dave Bright and her wider family, has cared for many dozens of children over the course of 25 years. Alongside the love, care and commitment she shows to every child she has fostered, Debbie has helped raise the profile of fostering across the UK in her role as a fostering ambassador for the Government. She is a passionate advocate for the difference that fostering can make in the lives of children and young people, and has appeared on countless TV and radio programmes and attended many events with the aim of highlighting the importance of foster care and the need for more foster carers. With The Fostering Network estimating that 8,600 new foster families are needed across the UK this year alone, this recruitment message is particularly vital.
Darren Harman-Page, vice-president of The Fostering Network and himself a foster carer, presented Debbie with her award, saying: ‘Making children feel loved and settled and helping them to flourish is one of the most important things anyone can do. As a foster carer, Debbie has done this for over 250 children which is, in itself, an amazing thing to have done. However, Debbie is also a fantastic ambassador for fostering, using the fact she is a well-known personality to shine a spotlight on how fostering can change futures.
‘Debbie speaks so eloquently and with heartfelt emotion about her own positive experience as a foster carer and, without a doubt, there will be many foster carers today and in the future who can trace their interest in fostering back to her passion. This is so important given the ongoing need for more people to come forward to foster.
‘We are extremely grateful to Debbie for the nurturing home she and her family offer to fostered children and young people, but also for her consistent support for the work of The Fostering Network and her determination to see the transformational power of fostering more recognised in society. That is why I am delighted to be presenting her with a President’s Award.’
Lydia Bright, former TOWIE star and Debbie’s daughter, said: ‘I couldn’t think of a better foster carer than my mum. She has all the right ingredients and goes above and beyond for the children in her care and those who have moved on. She is full of energy, love and has such a positive outlook in life. She is a very special person and this award highlights this. I am a very proud daughter.’
Sarah Wright, Director of Children and Families Service from Hackney Council who Debbie fosters with, said: ‘We are delighted to hear that our long term foster carer Debbie Douglas will be given the President's Award. Debbie’s positive energy and passion caring for children is hugely valued by the service as well as her fellow foster carers.’
Find out more about fostering at thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/allaboutfostering
[Photo L-R: Darren Harman-Page, Debbie Douglas, Lydia Bright]