Foster carer goes ‘above and beyond’

A FOSTER carer who has gone “above and beyond” her duty to provide a loving and stable environment for a deaf child has been nominated in this year’s Comet Community Awards.

Sally Churms, of Manor View in Stevenage, has been nominated in the Nurse/Care Worker of the Year category of the awards by a colleague at Hitchin-based fostering agency SWAN Fostering Ltd.

The awards recognise people in the area who work hard to help others, including volunteers, carers and parents.

The categories include Great and Green Award, Good Neighbour Award, Parent in a Million Award, Valiant Volunteer of the Year and Role Model of the Year.

There is also the opportunity to nominate teachers you consider to be exceptional and young achievers you admire.

Those shortlisted for each category will be invited to a special ceremony at Hitchin Town Hall on May 31.

Louise Mahrra, of SWAN Fostering Ltd, explained why she has nominated Sally for an award. “As a newly approved foster carer, with no previous fostering experience, Sally took on a deaf child,” she said.

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“Sally has shown exceptional resilience with this first placement in caring for a challenging child who is deaf, and has overcome the difficulties faced from everyday general communication to more emotional and developmental needs.

“She learnt sign language and has provided a stable and nurturing environment, so the child can enjoy a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle.

“The feedback received from the child in placement has demonstrated that Sally has truly gone above and beyond to help this child settle into her home and feel happy there.”

Sally, 48, has also recommended a training plan to the fostering agency to run a workshop for other carers and social workers to learn sign language and enable more placements to be made for children with hearing impairments.

This year’s Comet Community Awards are in association with Garden Square Shopping Centre in Letchworth GC, and are sponsored by North Hertfordshire College, North Hertfordshire Homes, Specsavers, VW of Letchworth, Pinehill Hospital, The Altro Group, Stevenage Community Trust, PayPoint and Morrison Utility Services.

Pat Carolan, contract director at Morrison Utility Services, said: “Morrison Utility Services has been part of the community in North Herts for over 40 years.

“We are delighted to be supporting the Community Awards this year and to be lending our support to such an important event which recognises the contributions of so many unsung heroes across Comet Country.”

For more information about the awards, including a full list of categories, and to make a nomination, visit