A mother-of-two from Olney has been been given a special award to mark 15 years of being a foster carer.
Vanessa Corley, 41, who became a foster mother at 25 with no children of her own, was presented with the award for her dedication to fostering by the UK’s leading independent fostering agency Foster Care Associates (FCA).
Vanessa, who plays for Olney Netball Club, was working in childcare for the local authority before pursuing a career in fostering. She said: “I did not have the experience of bringing up my own children but I had the energy and enthusiasm to do it.
“I think I show that anyone can do it from any background and lifestyle - everyone has different skills to offer.
“I now have two children of my own, aged five and nine, and they don’t know any different.
“I think they will benefit immensely from being part of a fostering family and they have seen first-hand that fostering is a very valuable thing to do.”
Vanessa, who had experienced ups and downs as a foster carer, said: “I had been involved with FCA through work so I knew a bit about them and what they did so I got in contact and the rest is history.
“It is a challenging career but really rewarding as well. There is never a dull moment.”
There is a shortfall of 8,600 carers across the UK.
Karen Bolton, who is the FCA registered manager for the Thames Valley region, presented Vanessa with her award.
She said: “We are always on the lookout for carers who have the same drive and determination to change the lives of vulnerable young people as Vanessa has displayed and I would encourage people to get in touch to find out why fostering could be the career for them.”