Foster Carer Receives Award for Youth Work

Archived: Posted March 11, 2014

Nick ThumbA former Royal Engineer who has gone on to devote his life to helping young people has been presented with a prestigious award from the Welsh government.

Foster carer Nick, from Denbigh, was presented with the Your Choice award at the Welsh Government Youth Work Excellence Awards held in Llandudno.

Nick fosters with his wife, Carol, and works for Denbighshire Youth Services as a Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme instructor, as well as a learning coach at Plas-Cefendy School in Rhyl. “The fact that the young people I work with felt I was good enough to be nominated for such an award was enough,” says Nick, “but to win is very special indeed.

“After the Welsh Minister had given out the other awards I was left until the very end when they introduced Professor Howard Williamson CBE, one of the most honoured trustees of the Duke of Edinburgh Award, to give me my prize. It was all very humbling, particularly seeing the other people winning their awards and hearing about the fantastic work they do.”

Nick spent 15 years in the armed forces before finding his passion for youth work and making a real difference to the lives of young people in north Wales.

After fostering for five years, Nick explains what made him take the leap and how one of the children he cares for has already benefitted from his influence. “I encouraged one of our placements to join the youth service and now they are doing their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award,” he says. “In fact, I am currently organising a trip for them and up to 20 people to do their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award on the River Moselle in Germany.

“Fostering was something that my wife and I had both discussed and when our three daughters had all grown up and left it felt like the right time to do it. The catalyst was when we went to visit my wife’s sister who fosters. We met a young man she was looking after who was absolutely fantastic and such an inspiration, considering what he had been through. It made us want to help other vulnerable youngsters like him.”

Sandra Jones, registered manager for FCA Cymru North, says: “I’m delighted that Nick has been given this award and the fact it has been voted for by young people shows just how much his work is appreciated by them.

“He and his wife are also terrifically dedicated and committed foster carers and have a determination to make a difference to the lives of vulnerable youngsters, which must be applauded.”

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